We all know Lebron didn’t wear the XI very much at all but I wonder if he has an aversion to drop in insoles like I do? Makes some sense since the only drop in insole shoe in the Lebron line are the IV and XI. Just a thought…
   I really thought I’d love the XI since the ride was lowered from the X and the shoe as a whole looked sleeker. I found the King’s Pride colorway amazing since I always loved the first gold Flightposite.  But then I wore them and they’ve been sent to the abyss known as my closet.

Pros: Support and stability, cushioning, fit

Cons: mediocre traction, containment, drop in insole pinching

Best for: bigger guards and bigs. Non cutting players 

Weight 

  

Pretty light for how big the shoe looks. Weighs the same as the Clutchfit Drive 2

Traction 

Just not good on anything other than perfect courts. 

  My YMCA is pretty dusty but many of my shoes stick just fine. I was constantly wiping and still sliding around moments later. 

  
I can’t really think of many shoes worse then the XI. I feel it’s a little worse than the Run the One which I consider a very average shoe in the traction department. And yes I played in the non translucent King’s Pride as well. Same problems. 

Cushioning

One of bright spot of the XI

   

 A drop in Lunarlon insole with full length Zoom. I thought this sounded way too squishy and soft on paper but it turned pretty good especially after break in. The Lunarlon Zoom combo felt great underfoot although the Zoom’s responsiveness gets muted by all the Lunarlon and because the Zoom is bottom loaded  

Although the full length 360 Zoom of the X felt heavenly I prefer the playability of the XI because the height and softness of the X around the heel just didn’t work for me especially as a guy who cuts a lot. 

 

   I hate drop in insoles as you well know because I can feel my foot get pinched between the upper and the insole since there is nothing firm between my foot and the insole. 
If a 178 lbs amateur can feel this I can only imagine what a 260 lbs freak of nature thinks of it . Of course LBJ can’t say that since Nike has tons of shoes with drop ins. All speculation of course but it isn’t surprising to me that the XII went back to a standard set up. 

Fit 

I went with my normal sz 11 and these fit perfectly from heel to toe and side to side. I recommend true to size. I’ve read numerous reviews about pinky toe pain including LBJ himself but I never had any. Some people will have toe pain since there is a Hyperposite all over the shoe and on the lateral side of the toe box but I just got lucky.  Same can’t be said for Lebron 

 No wonder his pinky toe was rubbing. It’s sitting on top of his other toes.

I have never had a good experience with Posite materials but the XI looked promising since it was a mix of fuse and Hyperposite. 

  
I will say the shoe’s fit was great but still wasn’t feeling the way the Hyperposite felt on foot. Some people say it conforms to your foot but I have never gotten that feeling on any Posite shoe; it just feels like deadweight to me.

    In addition, Hyperposite isn’t some super lightweight and strong material that Nike claims it to be. If it was, then why was it replaced by TPU in the Lebron XII Elite? 

Just food for thought. 

Support and Stability 

As with all Lebrons, the support and stability is excellent. Great fit, a lower cushioning set up from the X and a nice flat outsole all help to make this shoe as supportive as my mom. I had no complaints here.

  
   

  
Forefoot outrigger is really long and probably unnecessary 

  
Plastic shank

Containment 

I guess I was contained ? Hard to tell when my foot kept getting pinched between the insole and the upper on cuts. I really can’t stand that feeling. If the upper didn’t flex and the side walls of the insole were higher I don’t think I’d have an issue but unfortunately the XI doesn’t do either. It looks like it would be great but it just isn’t  

 
The insole is right where my finger is so there is some coverage but the Hyperposite flexes too much.

Conclusion  

Decent on paper but poor on the court is how I’d sum up the XI. One of my least favorite Lebrons to play in and I’ve played in 1-12 plus the Soldiers. I’d place it in the bottom third of all Lebrons.  It does have a few redeeming qualities but the negatives don’t outweigh the positives. I never got that one to one feeling with the XI as I found it clunky to wear despite a good fit and all the technology it touted. It took me a long time to figure out why and I believe the issue is the that the soft, flexible drop in insole is fighting against the much more rigid Hyperposite/ Fuse upper. In other words they just aren’t moving together in unison. The Kobe 8 didn’t have this issue because the entire shoe was made to be flexible and move together since it is made of Engineered Mesh while the XI was made to be much more protective. In addition to the shoe fighting itself, the traction  didn’t do well at all for me whenever any dust was present so this really put the shoe in the doghouse.

If you play on clean courts and don’t cut much then maybe these will work for you but these are going back to the closet again after this review.  


26 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Lebron XI 11 Performance Review

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