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“I just want my shoes to be the most comfortable shoes on the court. They should be more comfortable than anybody else’s and there’s no doubt about it.” – LeBron James

First off let’s get into who this shoe was made for…exactly, it was made for a 6’8 250 lbs freight train that just so happens to be as quick as he is strong. Yes it’s available for retail, but it was designed with him in mind. The problem is that there aren’t many people built like him and that moves like him at that size, so for the vast majority of the public these shoes were not designed for you. I’m 6’6 245 lbs and I play the shooting guard, small forward and for a big team the point guard. I am quick laterally, and strong, and when I get a head of steam I dare you to take a charge. In other words a poor mans version of Lebron James.

Figure 1. The latest installment of the Zoom LeBron signature sneaker. New Phyposite footbed, lightweight construction (really?), full length carbon fiber chasis, full length Zoom Air – is that enough?


Let me get into the structure of the Zoom Lebron V. At first glance they seem to be a vast departure from the Zoom Lebron IV’s. Of course the IV’s were a foamposite based shoe. When you look at the V’s, they seem more conventional. Well actually these are far from conventional. The technology of this shoe is just less apparent. While the IV’s have a foamposite exoskeleton structure, the V’s have a Phyposite endoskeleton structure. Much has been asked about what Phyposite material is and what it does. Phyposite is a combination of Phylon and Foamposite. It’s a new technology, it was used in the making of the upper of the LeBron V. The Phylon (EVA foam), which is mainly a midsole only material, provides the lightweight and flexible feel for LeBron and the Foamposite (liquid polyurethane) provides the durability that is needed to support LeBron’s big framed body. This combination is and will only be used for the high end footwear.

Figure 2. A 3D model presenting the concept behind the Phyposite Bucket. It does a good job of locking and wrapping around LeBron’s foot because of the huge shift in his weight when he cuts, slashes, and jumps around during play. Being 6’8″, 250 lbs. it is a lot to work with. If it’s good for the King, it is good for you too.

Actually if you run your hand in the inside of the shoe you’ll feel the Phyposite heel cup incorporated in the inner bootie, the arch, the outside of your foot, and the toebox even though it’s only visible on the top of your big toe area. What the Phyposite bucket does is lock your foot into the shoe with a vise like grip. It feels funny at first and maybe even a little tight, but give it time, it will make the shoe feel like an extension of your foot.

Figure 3. The only visible part of the Phyposite Bucket – the toebox area “half leather, half amaz…” I meant phyposite.

Figure 4. The flex grooves carved out of the Zoom LeBron V’s solid rubber outsole help the shoe deliver a surprisingly natural, low-to-the-ground feel underfoot. Every part of the shoe is inspired by part of LeBron?s life including a map of his hometown Akron underneath the lower pod and on the back of the tongue. A great addition for LBJ’s fans.

The strap helps to further keep your foot locked into place, even though it’s not really a necessity since the Phyposite bucket does an already great job of doing so. The diamond quilted inner bootie is effective, without being too thick and obtrusive. The laces are flat and have flat eyelets that allow for quick on the fly adjustments. The soles have prominent flex grooves with two pods front and rear…nothing special like outriggers or anything, but then again the shoe is so inherently stable outriggers would be redundant.

Figure 5. The removable milk-crate-inspired ankle strap. Phyposite makes sure your foot stays wrapped and locked down, the strap is there just to be double sure and double protected. The location of the strap is lower than usual, but the shoes are cut high and thanks to this construction there’s no unnecessary restriction to the ankles.


How do these shoes perform? Good question. Put it this way, they are instantaneously responsive. When you make a hard cut, your foot does not roll in the side of the shoes…the shoes just react WITH you. There is little to no foot movement inside the shoe because of the lockdown fit. You will be quicker with these…not because they make you quicker, but because their response time is amazing. For example, if you are a crossover type guy, these shoes will allow you to crossover and blow past your defender instantly, and while doing so they will protect your ankles and your feet and your toes by not allowing an unnatural flex (read turf toe). The torsional rigidity of these are amazing as well, more than likely an attribute of the carbon fiber shank. Lebrons have always been a highly protective shoe. Even when someone steps on your foot, you will be protected. The traction, which many doubted after seeing the first samples, didn?t disappoint. The outsole held its ground on cuts and let you play with confidence, although a quick wipe of the sole would be a good idea on some dustier or dirtier courts. The outsole seems to be durable enough for use both indoors and out, but the other outdoor destined shoes like Zoom Soldier and Zoom 20.5.5 should hold up better.

“They’re built for the fastest and strongest man in the NBA, so they should really help out everybody else.” – Ken Link
Figure 6. Is the Zoom LeBron V an ultimate ride? It’s got what it takes.

The cushioning is a zoom trademark, firm but responsive, not all squishy and floaty. These shoes are low to the ground feeling as well. This setup inspires confidence when you are performing at a high level. The main flaw of the previous two Nike LeBron signature sneakers was the weight. For instance the IV’s performed great, but they were too heavy for active guards and many others too, same with the III’s. This time the designers took it more seriously, because not everybody is build like LeBron, who with his type of body may not feel the extra weight. The improvement of cutting down almost 4 ounces is very noticeable from the beginning when you put on the shoes to the very end when you play ball for several hours and appreciate when your legs don’t get extra tired. Finally we got a LeBron basketball shoe, that can be labeled as lightweight and it’s not just a catalog description to boost the sales and there’s no need to add the quotes. This time it’s true. The Nike Zoom LeBron V have caught up with other light, high performance shoes like the Zoom Kobe line and the latest revelation Nike Zoom BB, which are only less than one ounce lighter. For comparison sake Lebrons are like Sport Touring GT’s like a Bentley Continental GT, or perhaps a Mercedes CL600…big, but very fast and comfortable, but heavy. The Kobe’s and Zoom BB’s are like the pure sport cars like the Porsche 911, or even a Lotus Exige S…fast and light with a minimalist motif. This time the V’s cut down the margin and become like BMW M5, still fast, but better equipped and much safer.

Figure 7. Accenting the sneaker is LeBron?s trademark crowned lion insignia on the tongue. Dynamic Fit innersleeve adds truly royal comfort suited for The King, while the diamond quilting adds breathability. Long live the King.


All in all these are one of the best ever performance shoes for big, mobile, active guards that place protection and durability high on their list for shoes. It really has it all: comfort, cushioning, stability, lockdown, traction, protection, improved (decreased) weight, and even the ventilation is at a good level not allowing your foot to become too hot. They remind me of the Lebron II’s, which many still look back as the best all-around performance shoe in the LeBron line, the IV’s and in some ways the Flightposite KG’s along with the Foamposite Pro’s. All bigger more robust high performance basketball shoes (well maybe not the Flightposite KG’s). After seeing the ratings below and given the website you reading this review on, I’m guessing that some people out there are going to say “Man, what a bullsh!t, I bet it’s just another ad, not a review!” To those people I would simply say try the shoes on for yourself. Simple as that. It’s really hard to find a major flaw, I guess the word flawless comes to mind, but of course it may not fit everybody’s preferences (for example those who have wide feet). If, after a couple of wearings, you don’t think that the Zoom LeBron V is the best all-around shoe on the market today, then contact me and I will return your money (just kidding). In all seriousness, if your wallet can take the $140 price-tag you will not be disappointed.

“It really does represent all of these things that we’ve learnt over the decades, and the V’s fit today’s players in a way that’s really relevant.” – Professor K.
Figure 8. Each shoe has a different keyword on the inner side, underneath the strap: Vision, Passion, Family, Winning, Fearless etc. I guess it’s all about winning this time.

by KAPSI1911 x Kaczala.

NikeLeBron.net Breakdown

Comfort & Fit: 10
Cushioning: 10
Traction: 9
Stability: 10
Ankle support: 9.5
Weight: 8
Durability: 9
Ventilation: 9
Overall: 9.5

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