Note: The NikeLeBron.net crew puts a lot of effort into running this website. That is the reason why we cooperate with other writers to compile a reliable source of information. It keeps us honest. The author of this review is KAPSI1911 enhanced by Kaczala and it’s published here due to the author’s courtesy. The photos come from Shoesholic.com and Kenlu.net. All the photos and information are the property of their respective owners.
“We always talk about how people buy shoes for off-court first. I think the Is were off-court friendly, and we finally got back to it with the VI.” – LeBron James
Ok Ok Ok, the consumers have spoken and all mostly what has been said about the previous shoes in the Zoom Lebron line is “Nice performance shoe, nice styling, BUT they are too heavy”. With the exception of the first two shoes in his line, most of the King’s signature shoes have been on the meaty side of things. You’ve heard time and time again the justification for them being that way, but you say to yourself “I’m not a 260 lb Point Forward that with incredible speed and cat-like quickness. I’m just an average to above average athlete that appreciates a well performing shoe”. Well Mr. Weekend Warrior, the Nike Zoom Lebron VI has you covered. And for once you can actually throw these one with a nice pair of jeans and not look like you just came from playing pick-up basketball earlier.
|Figure 1. Classic Black-White-Red colorway in all its glory. If it wasn’t for the L23 logo it could have been mistaken for a non-signature sneaker, but simplicity is divine… even for The King.|
Over the course of the development process, the Zoom LeBron Six underwent a few changes as usual. However, this time the whole design to actual product evolution took a slight detour and kept us wondering which shoe will sport the honorable LeBron VI. At first, what nowadays is called Zoom Power, caused a great confusion among fans, dividing them into two groups – it’s clearly become a love me or hate me kind of shoe. Everyone got settled for what’s to come, especially when featuring the Posite technology and the VI logo, Zoom Power seemed to be an obvious heir for the throne. But it all turned out to be a wishful thinking and a good way to deceive the whole fake sneakers industry. Somewhere along the way, Nike unwrapped the real VI-to-be. Follow photos below to witness Six’s time line including the prototype model – Zoom Power – and several Zoom LeBron VI samples leading up to the production version.
|Figure 2a. Zoom LeBron VI Prototype – Zoom Power. Featuring the Posite technology seemed to be an obvious successor of the two previous posite LeBrons – IV (Foamposite) and V (Phyposite).|
|Figure 2b. First Stage Sample – Sketch. Notice the different color blocking from the actual version. White upper and Black toebox, which seems like a negative version of the production model.|
|Figure 2c. Second Stage Sample – Actual Photo. Again different color blocking, but this time the Carbon Fiber wrap around is much longer as it reaches the toe box area. A little too much Carbon for my taste.|
|Figure 2d. Third Stage Sample – Still features the single-row stitching Midsole. Good thing the L23 logo has been changed from a tonal Black on Black (sample) to a contrasting White, highlighted with Red stitching along its side borders.|
I guess this is the part where I delve deep into the various innovative Nike performance technologies that we have come to know and love (some not so much), but actually the contrary is true. For the record I’ll throw out a couple of recognizable features; double stacked Zoom Air in the heel, and a dynamic fit inner bootie. Pretty much it, as far as active technology is concerned. Pretty boring huh? Maybe for the technophile sneaker fan, but remember the aim is to create functional, and comfortable performance footwear. Though in an unspectacular way, mission accomplished.
“Technology is expected from Nike, so we don’t have to scream it as much,” says Link. “In the past, we wanted to scream about that. Now we feel we can pull back a little bit.” – Ken Link
|Figure 3a. ZoomX2 – Double Stacked Zoom Air unit in the heel.|
|Figure 3b. Carbon fiber in the heel. A gimmick or an useful feature?|
Nike went back to the basics with the design of this shoe. Instead of being a totally new and novel concept, they seemed to have gone back to the classic silhouette with familiar elements such as a prominent Swoosh and a traditional toebox. There are some newer elements included such as (in some models) reflective piping accents (as we call it 3M), and a double layered tongue. It is heavy on small details that befit a signature shoe for a star as bright as Mr. James, such as exposed carbon fiber on the heel, and unique symbols and messages found in and around the shoe. The simplistic yet visually appealing nature of the shoe is what makes it a quite handsome casual shoe.
|Figure 4a. Would you rock it off the court with a pair of jeans? That’s what Nike was trying to accomplish. Job well done! They may look like boots, but they definitely don’t feel that way.|
Let the words express what the photos show. The VI is easily the cleanest, least-adorned Nike LeBron shoe since the Air Zoom Generation. Of course, the Air Force 1 is instantly brought to mind, cause both shoes share a similar silhouette. Without a question, Ken Link and the whole designers team have succeeded in establishing a distinctive and often groundbreaking signature line, at the same time mastering the performance necessary to meet the demanding standards of King James’ game. Reference points are always important with signature shoes. From the hints of Humvee inspiration on the Air Zoom Generation aka the “I” to the “Milkcrate” technology featured on the V and more proudly on the Soldier II. With the VI, though, those lifestyle influences have been dialed back a bit. They seem less specific and are subordinate to the general look and feel.
“The first five years were really about setting the benchmark, about excellence in the product. Now we’re starting to open up the arms and inviting more people to be a part of it.” – Ken Link
|Figure 4b. The LeBron persona influences are still there, but like in the case of this Dunkman logo, they seem to be dialed back or hidden.|
The Six’s evolution was mentioned in the second chapter. The most noticeable shift in the appearance of the Zoom LeBron VI from sample to production is the midsole. Each sample version featured a single stitching row running through it. However, the final design, sports a more sharp build and stance due to its triple stitching. Additionally, there is a trend among varying colorways of the LeBron VI. Those with fabric and leather wrapped midsoles incorporate the three stitched rows arrangement, while colorways that include 3m graphics (United We Rise, Home PE, Big Apple, Chalk), feature a single one.
|Figure 4c. 3M reflective material in action. Pictured: Ohio State Zoom LeBron VI aka Home PE (left), United We Rise Zoom LeBron VI (right).|
With a few exceptions, athletic shoes, specifically basketball shoes, there is a compromise of comfort and performance. It’s either tight, hard, quick and responsive, or soft, comfy, floaty, and slow to respond. Technology wise it’s the whole Zoom air with it’s low to the ground court feel, but sometimes unforgiving comfort level, or Max Air with it’s pillow-like ride and SUV style high off the ground feeling. The Zoom Lebron VI is everything at once…if that is even possible. When you strap on a pair of ZLVI’s the first thing you’ll notice is the comfort level is extremely high, they feel so soft underneath your foot. In contrast put on a pair of Zoom Lebron V’s or a pair of Air Jordan XX3’s. Amazing performers in their own right, but on the tight and stiff side. Not so with the latest in the Lebron line. I could literally walk miles in the shoe and would probably not experience much foot fatigue at all. So now that comfort has been discussed let me talk about the performance, especially since we’ve come to think that comfort and performance are mutually exclusive.
|Figure 5. Traction pattern consist of small crowns incorporated into the sole. A small feature that reminds it’s a royal sneaker.|
The performance is nothing short of extremely capable. Again, unlike most of the shoes in the Zoom Lebron line, these are incredibly lightweight. I’ll spare the minute details of how much they actually weigh, it’s all about how they feel and they are feather weights in comparison. They manage to achieve what I consider the most important aspect of performance basketball shoes…and that is TRANSPARENCY. They do their job so well you forget you have them on. The cushioning though soft has not given way to performance. In the auto world this has been accomplished by Magneto-Rheological shock absorbers that are found in some extreme high performance cars such at the Corvette ZR1 and the Ferrari 599 GTB, where comfort and performance are constantly adjusted depending on how the car is being driven at the time. When walking around the ZLVI’s feel like your most comfortable house shoes, while playing basketball, your most capable performers with little to no compromise. They will allow you to make sharp cuts with ease, accelerate and decelerate with no issues, and also protect your foot which is a hallmark of these line of shoes.
The Nike Zoom Lebron VI in my opinion are the best all-around shoe in the Zoom Lebron series, and also one of the BEST basketball shoes that you can own right now. For once all types of players can benefit from this shoe, whether you be the jitterbug type point guard, or the bruising power forward. You can slash with confidence, sprint, stop suddenly, change direction, and jump knowing these shoes have you covered. They also excel at being a nice looking off the court pair of shoes. The Triple Black colorway can even be mistaken for a pair of Nike ACG boots by a casual observer. Things that could be improved are the grip and a more secure lacing system, which is odd, because they were executed almost perfectly in the previous model – ZLV. If you are playing on a dusty basketball court, you may have trouble with traction. These are great on well maintained basketball courts, but it can turn into Disney on Ice if you are playing in an unkempt gymnasium. The lacing system is not as secure as it could be. You have to make sure you monitor them from time to time to prevent them from becoming loose during activity. It isn’t a major problem, but nonetheless for a shoe of this caliber it should be better. All in all these are amazing articles of perfomance footwear that melds performance, comfort, and aesthetics into an extremely cohesive package. Try a pair, I think you’ll love ’em.
|Figure 6. Side view.|
by KAPSI1911 x Kaczala.
|Comfort & Fit:||10|