It’s funny how the XIII Elite model costs the same as the non elite isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice if shoe companies would just give us the good goods the first time around ? That will never happen so oh well, onto the review
Pros: much lighter without sacrificing support, traction, cushioning, support and stability, containment, Posite was removed including the stupid middle piece
Cons: Hex Zoom takes time to get used to, would have preferred regular large forefoot Zoom, one piece upper leads to some bunchiness around tongue, upper is same thickness around entire shoe and needs some break in, sum of the parts not as great as indivual scores
Sizing: true to size, half size down for narrow footers
Best for: any position
Here is my XIII comparison from last year
King of the court
13 ounces for a Lebron shoe is nuts. The regular XIII was 16 oz.
Exactly the same as the non elite. Great on all surfaces including dusty floors although wiping is still needed. Don’t judge a shoe’s traction based on translucency.
Translucent outsoles can work great depending on how the pattern is set up and Nike did a great job on these.
Five hex pods in the forefoot versus three with the non elite. I can’t really feel them because they are so far forward in the toe and they are the small Zoom pods but at least they are there. They might help with push off but it is really is minimal.
You can actually feel the Zoom in the forefoot since Nike increased the volume in the medial forefoot pod and the heel Zoom feels great just like the XIII.
Regarding how Hex Zoom feels, it takes a little time getting used to it. I still prefer a normal Zoom set up because the flexibility gained from the Hex set up isn’t all that much especially considering how much midsole there is. Would you rather sleep on one plush bed or a bunch of pillows spaced evenly apart ? All the empty space between the Zoom pods and the protrusion from each pod could have been simplified with a standard forefoot Zoom set up.
I went true to size from Lebron X to XIII and these fit me perfectly just like the regular XIII. If you have narrow feet, I suggest half size down because I see it being difficult to get laces tightened properly with skinny feet.
The entire upper is now the same material and Nike dropped the Posite (thank goodness). I’ve never been a fan of Posite and the removal of it just makes the shoe feel more natural to me. No more stupid middle Posite piece either.
Kurim rubber is used on the entire upper.
What is Kurim?
It is just the name of the company that makes the rubber. (Makes it sound fancier doesn’t it? It’s like when you order fish at a restaurant and instead of catfish it says Blue Channel Mississippi Catfish).
The Kurim cage sits on top of the upper so when it gets pushed or flexes it contains the foot. Very similar to UA’s Clutchfit upper in my opinion.
Above: Nike even put this weird material I’ve never seen before.. Must be from ancient times. Real leather is what I think they called in B.S. Times (Before Synthetic )
Below: nicely padded ankle collar
I think a combo of pure mesh and Kurim have been ideal.
The regular XIII had thinned out the mesh in high flex areas but the Elite is pretty much the same thickness throughout mid and forefoot. It doesn’t affect flexibility much but I know some people might not want to put in the time to break in a shoe. If you want a flexible, minimalist shoe, the LBJ line is not for you. Material changes aside, I had no issues with fit, heel slippage, or movement side to side.
One other note. Being a one piece upper with no separate tongue, I still had weird folding along the tongue since my foot doesn’t fill the shoe to capacity. It isn’t a deal breaker at all but just an annoyance. I had similar issues with the regular XIII as well.
Support and stability
Always a strong point of the LBJ line, the Elite does a great job.
Nike upgraded the plastic midfoot support to Real Carbon Fiber.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen real carbon fiber used on a shoe so it is nice upgrade. As far as performance, it doesn’t change much so that’s why the past few years we’ve seen plastic but I think Nike really wanted to make the elite feel, well..elite.
No tippiness at all thanks to an outrigger and wide forefoot.
The XIII is cut really high.. As high as the Clutchfit Drive actually
And like the Clutchfit Drive the ankle collar is flexible (not as flexible as the Clutchfit) but still similar in stiffness to the regular XIII.
Another strength of the Lebron line has been its containment and these do a great job. Imagine Lebron trying to stop on a dime in a Kobe Flyknit upper. I’d imagine a 260 lb monster would rip right through it.
The upper and slightly raised midsole (and Flywire to a lesser extent) do a good job on hard cuts. You can clearly see the Flywire in the XIII elite upper. I don’t think these Flywire strands are Kevlar like the KD8 Elite so enjoy those lace holders known as Flywire.
Ice cream or ice cream with sprinkles for the same price. Pretty sure 99% of us would take the sprinkles. That’s what we have going on with the Elite series this year. No price changes but upgraded parts? Heck yea! I really don’t see any reason why anyone would choose the regular XIII over the Elites. Lighter without giving up support, more Zoom and better materials for the same price. Plus they look cleaner and simpler overall. I think Nike is going away from price gouging and really trying to add value by upgrading materials yet keeping the prices the same. Kind of like getting real wood panels in a car versus plastic pieces. Even with the upgrades, I’ve already seen the Elite XIII for $160 already so be prepared for more price drops.
Regarding the shoe itself, the XIII overall is a great shoe especially when looking at each performance aspect but I can’t put my finger on why I don’t love the shoe more. I think it does everything really well but nothing stands out to me to the point that I want to wear them all the time. Maybe it’s my long history with the Soldier VI but I’d still take it over the XIII. Maybe it has to do with what other shoes did really well this year? Rose 6, HR16 have exceptional cushioning, the Lillard 2 has fluid transition, fit and value, while the Curry Two has amazing traction, fit and stability. The XIII probably would have stood out more in any other year. Regardless of my opinion,I’m sure many players love the XIII and I’m sure they’ll enjoy the Elite version just as much if not more.
Great review as always. I know why I don’t wear my Lebron 13 much… too many damn shoes!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Lol I have the same problem trust me !
Nice review Schwollo. I agree that the looks, fit and weight are much are better with these. Cushioning is supposed to be better, but I just can’t really feel it. These still feel like a big man’s shoe, but a little more dynamic with the changes. Glad Nike kept the price down compared to previous elite Lebrons. I hope that downward trend in pricing continues.
Back to the cushioning, it definitely feels weird to put on and wear a segmented/pod zoom system after playing the last couple years in some very good foam cushioned shoes (e.g., Rose 5 and 6, Currry 1 and 2, Lillard 2). I like shoes with very good cushioning and transition and those foam shoes I’ve played in do both well. I find the 13s do both okay. I’d much rather have forefoot zoom like the M11 or XX8s than the Lebron hex zoom setup because the impaction cushioning and fluidity feels better. I feel like Nike and JB were close to figuring it out how best utilize zoom with the XX3s. The targeted foam pods with full length zoom had a good balance of transition and cushioning. Maybe hex zoom can still work but it will probably require bigger pods and a better foam midsole. I guess we’ll see what happens with the 14s.
The lbj line has really become a showcase more than anything which is probably why the soldiers have been getting better reviews than the actual sig lol
I think Nike will step it up the right way though.
Schwollo, do you think nike will use kurim in more shoes in the next few years? Another thought, can kurim be a better substitute to flywire? More durable etc.
Also, how do you store your shoes? Do you take note of humidity, climate controlled, etc? I have read a lot esp because of humidity in the Philippines (using zip lock, silica, etc.). Would love to hear your thoughts
I think they will
Use them together. They are using Kurim on other shoes (Nike tennis uses it on their Ultrafly for example)
I store my shoes inside my house in a closet. I’ve tried the zip lock with silica gel and it works well but Older Jordan retros (before 06) particularly AJ iii-vi and to a lesser degree vi-X are pretty much doomed bc the way midsoles are made. Air conditioning is
Your best friend . Good luck!
Oh okay. So its really true that polyurethane midsoles crumble? And the modern phylon/EVA midsoles wont?
Older outsoles will crumble and crack because there wasn’t any kind of coating to keep moisture out. Even the new retros have a coating now that helps prevent moisture from getting in. Modern ones don’t crumble but they still get affecting by moisture
Got it! Now i understand it better. Thanks Schwollo!
LikeLiked by 1 person
No problem !
One again a very informative and to the point review. Thanks Schwollo. As far the storage of the shoes is concerned the closet is the ideal solution but nature (humidity) always prevails.
I’ve actually lucked out on a few pair of 99 IV and 2001 iiI that haven’t degraded yet. But yes usually humidity wins .
How did you store them differently from the others? They have the PU midsoles right?
I didn’t store them any differently which is the funny thing .
Good review. Looks like a decent shoe. Is it just me, or does Nike only use Hex Zoom on the Lebron shoe model? Maybe they keep using it because Lebron likes it better. Idk, good review. Pretty amazing that they dropped the weight from 16-13 ounces.
Only Lebrons have it currently and the Nike Hypercross trainer . Maybe he likes it better but for a billion dollars I’m sure he doesn’t care what’s underfoot
True. Forgot about those Hypercross trainers. Yeah, it’ll just be interesting to see what Nike does with the hex zoom.
Hey Schwollo. Just wondering if you felt that these shoes could stretch out more with wear/breaking in? I have pretty wide feet and when I tried them on the other day, I felt that because they got rid of the traditional tongue and made it one piece, I couldn’t widen the shoes as much anymore to fit me comfortably. They became really snug and tight. Thanks
Did you try half size up? My feet aren’t as wide as yours so csnt say for certain but I think they will stretch since they are mesh and rubber .
Impressive review as always,compared to bron 12,how the differences (cushioning wise),between them
Also ,another comparison,between lebron 13 elite and melo m11,which on is more plusher
Better forefoot cushioning and feel in the 13 vs 12 heel is about the same. Between melo m11, melo has no heel at all and just has a tighter ride so plushness goes to Lebron
Which is better the jordan 30 or the lebron 13 elite?
I like the xxx better. Feels more one to one
How do they fit in comparision to the Clutchfit Drive 1s??
I prefer the CFD fit. It just feels like a sock like fit
Reading through reviews and like what I see. Time to update my hooping rotation and always like to keep 3 pairs. 4 options though Bron 13 elite, Durant 9, Jordan XXX, and JordanXXXI. Which 3 to keep and why, and which one is out and why? Also I am very big on impact protection and traction to a certain extent. Looking forward to reading your response, keep up the good work!!
Impact protection: Kd9, lbj 13, AJ xxx1, xxx in that order
Traction: Kd9, lbj 13, xxx, xxx1.
I’d keep KD lbj and xxx1 since you like cushioning first and foremost. Xxx is forefoot only . Hope that helps !
very good reviews ! Thank you !
I’m undecided wich is better for a 260 pounds player Jordan 12 retro, Jordan SF3 PO or Lebron 13 elite ?
i like first of all responsiveness and also impact protection and stability my current top 5 is : D Rose 7 PK, Lillard 2, Soldier 9, D Rose 6, Soldier 10 (very good for a big player with explosive game)…
I’d go with the 12 retro but none of those 3 are any better than your top 5 for what you’re looking for IMO
Thanks, but the 12 retro have the same set up full length zoom air like the original 1997’s 12 ?
I’ve read that it’s a bit thinner than the og. My 2003’retros feel as good as the og as did my 2009 so I think the newer ones are ok . Full length zoom usually feels good matter what.
I just got these on a huge sale. I prioritize impact protection and have been playing in the Crazy Explosive. How does that compare with these head-to-head? Thanks
The older Melo (M8 & M9 were the best) shoes did it for me until they removed heel cushioning.
Oh yes the old Melos were great. I have a pair of m8s that still feel great. Kind of hard to compare the Lebrons xiii vs the Crazy Explosive bc one is one piece of Boost while the Lebron is one big heel and a bunch of small hex pods. The CE is smoother since its full length but the forefoot is thin and there is a lot of heel to toe drop. Lebron is more even feeling but the forefoot still isn’t super bouncy either. Better than previous years though . Lebron x or KD ix would be better to look at imo. Crazylight Boost has a more even feeling (less heel toe drop). Hope that helps
Hi again, for cushion which one is better, hyperrev 2016 vs lebron xiii elite?
It’s pretty close but I’d give the edge to the hr16 but not by much. I like the bigger singular forefoot bag.