*I posted this back in March of 2016 so since the retro is coming “very soon”, might as well share again.*
Poor Swaggy P … But look at that Zoom
I didn’t buy the Zoom Generation when it came out nor did I buy it when it hit outlets for $59.99. I passed on it mainly because I thought what a dumb idea it was to give an unproven kid a ninety million contract and a shoe that was inspired by a Hummer. Guess I was wrong.
I did pick some up as the years have gone by and as Lebron proved himself. Since a retro is undoubtly imminent, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a Lebron classic.
Simple clean lines compared to today eh? Those were the good ol days…
Pros: Zoom feels like Zoom, fit, stability, real leather!!
Cons: Traction is average, transition is a little clunky
Best for: any position
Sizing:true to size
16 oz. fairly chunky but not too bad. The Lebron XIII comes in at 16 oz but of course has a much higher cut.
I always start with traction because for me, it makes or breaks a shoe. What’s the point of perfect lockdown and cushioning if I’m sliding everywhere? The sole is the only part of a shoe that touches a variable, I.e. The floor, so it better work well on everything.
The traction on the AZG doesn’t work very well on anything but clean and lightly dusty floors. Wiping is needed to prevent slipping on semi dusty and very dusty floors since the rubber doesn’t flex a whole lot due to the thickness of the rubber.
The pattern itself is very similar to Brandblack’s traction blades but the rubber isn’t nearly as soft so it doesn’t really wipe away dirt very well.
One of the bright spots of the AZG is the Zoom. Back in 2003, we didn’t have to wonder how Zoom would feel because Nike was consistent in delivering the goods. Look at the Swaggy P pic and you can see a full width big fat Zoom bag in the forefoot. When these get retroed, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll get about half the thickness of this set up (see AJ XIV retros) .
That signature feel of Zoom can be felt in the forefoot although it doesn’t feel anything like the XX8.
Transition is ok not super smooth since there is a large gap between forefoot and heel
Lebrons were one of the first shoes that I had to go up half a size to my current size 11. I wore 10.5 in almost everything but when the AZG came out it fit smaller than previous Nikes and Jordans. Thankfully, they fit perfectly as an 11 for me with my ideal length at the toe.
Back in 2003, I deemed this leather as crappy because it just looked and felt cheap compared to other shoes. It wasn’t as thick and natural feeling as shoes like the AJ XIV (my gold standard) or even the XVII but then again it was priced at $110 so you got what you paid for. That being said, leather is so rare nowadays that I find it almost luxurious. Thanks a lot synthetics.
The fit on the AZG is just perfect. No movement side to side or front to back. And that leather upper just conforms perfectly to the foot.You can practically see where my toes come up or touch the toe box. This is one of my newer less worn pairs by the way. Who wants pics of my yellowed beaters?
Also helping with the fit is the Nike Sphere in the ankle collar. It doesn’t really wick moisture or increase breathability but it sure is comfy.
The AZG is easily the lowest cut Lebron ever and could almost be considered a low. Despite the cut, the support and stability are good. Nothing major support wise other than the fit and heel counter but the flat sole is very stable and hard to tip
Too lazy to take the tape off
Carbon fiber on a Lebron ? Unheard of nowadays
As with all Lebrons, these do a great job containing the foot. My foot stayed in place on hard cuts thanks to the leather at the forefoot and slightly raised (silver piece) midsole
I didn’t get warm and fuzzy talking about this shoe but it’s still a great performer despite the average traction. Back in 2003, Nike didn’t use the AZG as a platform to market its technology… No Posite, no visible Zoom, just a good looking shoe with technology under the hood. I miss the simplicity of the first few Lebrons.
Would I recommend wearing a shoe from 2003? From my experience, the AZG has held up well as have my Lebron II and III but based on Swaggy’s experience I’m not so sure. There are tons of better shoes out there to hoop in now but sometimes it is fun to play in older, historically significant shoes.
Nice review…Wearing shoes from 2003 I’m not sure either because I wore my ultraflight’s (zoom galore) and they held up until last week…I’ve never seen a review of these before I really thank you! Keep em coming.
Great review. I understand you do a ‘heel test’ on many of your shoes. I usually do a heel test and a forefoot test to see how “tippy” the shoes are. i.e. how fast does the shape of the outsole cause the shoe to turn if you landed on some degree of angle. I find these very tippy in the forefoot once you’re beyond a certain angle. Do you notice that and/or look for that in shoes? I started doing this after breaking my foot in the Soldier 3’s which are extremely tippy after a certain angle.
I didn’t find these tippy in the forefoot . Soldier 3 I can see how that could happen . How’s your foot now?
Ankle sounds like a cement mixer but I can play still! Ya I guess this is a very specific check I do with shoes now after that injury. I’m sure they are very stable in the forefoot during play. I find that the hard outrigger would cause the ankle to turn quickly if you were to ever land on a combination of someone’s foot + the edge of the forefoot outrigger at an odd angle. An even worse example of this would be in something like the AF1. A great example of a shoe that did the outrigger right is the Kobe V, the outrigger is flexible (because there’s some exposed midsole above it, not just full rubber outrigger) so in an awkward landing it doesn’t turn the ankle as hard. Wasn’t sure if that’s something similar to what you check in the heel? Lebron X’s are my favorite shoes and I know you’ve said the heel didn’t pass your test. I can see that the heel on those is quite high and kind of tippy/unstable but, for me at least, it’s the hard edged outsoles that are more dangerous as they would cause even more severe injuries as I experienced first hand.
Yep pretty much the same thing i feel in the heel.
i was playin in my lbj 3s and i think its time to retire them, the front is coming unglued theyre my favorite too it hurts hahah
Try shoe goo..works miracles I swear .
my 3s are falling apart, it sucks man theyre my favorite
Try shoe goo it works great
what’s the price point for these retros?i think the reseller market might go nuts like the prelude back..my favourite legions were the II’s and III’s. I wanted to get the IV’s but the Zoom BBs seduced me to the dark side. I never did try the IV’s although they will always be on my bucket list. With the lack of hype from this year’s Lebron 14, maybe Nike looking back to make some big bucks in the Lebron retro line. Sheesh…
Nike needed to do something to peak some interest in Lebrons. The AZG will go for the over retail but I don’t think they will go nuts like the prelude unless they make a very limited amount. Even the original AZG doesnt sell for crazy amounts (350 ish?). It’s funny how badly it sold back then but now that he has some rings and proven himself ppl want them. . Lebron ii was awesome still one of my favs, III look great but a little sloppy fitting, IV’s were cushioned well but that’s about all I liked about them. Zoom BB much better than the IV imo. Can’t stop the Nike retro money train. Gotta hand it to Nike they know how to pick their athletes.
Got my pair for $39.99 at marshalls 🙂
$175. Kind of sucks. I had the lows and I liked them. Was thinking of maybe getting these retros, but at that price and the possibility that the tech is either lessened or taken out its not worth it to me.
We will see what we get . 175 is 35 bucks more than what it should be with inflation but then again Lebron wasn’t Lebron yet.
Still have my First Games, looking crispy after 13 years. I expect these to be stripped of almost all the tech except for the forefoot or heel Zoom. I doubt Sphere makes a comeback for this.
Yep me too. I expect some semblance of the original but we will see
Aaaaaand they finally gave out on me. Damn sole started to separate from the upper as I was rocking them. Never knew that the heel had an Air unit. Small as hell and encased in foam.
Can you send me a pic on twitter or ig? Schwollo is UN
I’m not on either of those. Send me an email and I’ll send you the pic.
Facebook? Look up my fb page “schwollo”
I’m on FB. I’ll send it.
LikeLiked by 1 person