The LeBron XXI is built for basketball’s next generation. LeBron didn’t need to look very far to find his muse for the shoe: his 8-year-old daughter, Zhuri. Inspired by the notion of protection for the modern player, the shoe’s upper is inspired by an oyster shell, protecting the pearl inside.
Using lightweight materials, the upper’s venting is striated to look like the veining of a shell, helping contain the player during explosive movements. That containment is visualized by a lightweight mono-mesh reinforced by 360 degrees of zonal cables around the midfoot, helping support and secure the player over the footbed. Perforations on the medial Swoosh provide enhanced breathability.
Underfoot, the shoe features a Zoom Turbo unit in the forefoot and a bottom-loaded, 13-millimeter Zoom unit to support propulsion. A full-length Cushlon 2.0 foam carrier for a pillowy feel and a TPU midfoot shank provides stability and extra pop for dynamic movements.
“As we took our next steps from the LeBron XX, we were inspired by the way LeBron maintains his body and his game during the offseason,” says Jason Petrie, Lead Designer for the LeBron XXI. “His trainer says it’s like taking care of an F1 car. You tweak the car between each race. You don’t need to rebuild the car completely. We wanted to retain some of the elements we know he loved, like the Zoom Turbo unit, but refine some of the finishes in the upper.”
The shoe features other qualities inspired by an oyster shell. Exposed construction on the foxing gives a shell-like appearance The perforated foam tongue is quilted, also imitating a shell’s appearance and providing a plush feel.
The LeBron XXI, available in full family sizing, releases globally beginning September 28.
Nike Newsroom contributed to this column