#4 – NIKE AIR MAX LEBRON VII
With the tremendous hype already surrounding LeBron James as he left high school for the NBA, in the sneaker community, sights were set just as high for his kicks as for his basketball skills once he signed his fat shoe contract with Nike. Beginning with the Zoom Generation his rookie season, each year saw the release of another signature LeBron shoe, and while many models were met with a positive reception, they were pretty hit or miss with many sneakerheads for the most part. Everyone expected the LeBron sneakers to be something special, but opinions are still pretty mixed on the first six signature models to be released.
For round 7 of the Nike LeBron line, the reigns were handed over from Ken Link, who designed the first six models, to up and coming designer Jason Petrie. Petrie’s vision for the shoe took the LeBron trajectory into an entirely new direction, in terms of both aesthetics and function. Previous installments sported a chunkier look that was a little more fitting of a big man’s shoe, but the Air Max LeBron VII stripped down the look for a much sleeker result. The Zoom Air cushioning that had been a LeBron staple since the beginning was replaced with a full 360 Air Max bag and the upper was now much lighter thanks to the use of Flywire technology.
With the fresh look and improved tech capabilities, the Air Max LeBron VII proved that cutting-edge form and function could absolutely coexist, even on the most high-profile of performance endeavors. The response to the shoe from the sneaker community was overwhelming. Not only did people love the appearance of the shoe, but it also performed like a dream, leaving sneakerheads to gush over the warmly embraced new style. In addition to its court-ready construction, the shoe was also designed with a look that translated well to the street, making it one of the first new basketball shoes in a while to maintain its fresh style whether on the hardwood or out on the town with a pair of jeans.
This notion received an exclamation point with the release of the “Red Carpet” edition, a more sophisticated version of the shoe that swapped out the Flywire for a black woven upper. Combine that with a ultra-crisp color scheme and there you have one of the most stylish basketball models to ever come out of Beaverton without a Jumpman on it. It seems unlikely that another signature sneaker line will ever capture the same kind of intrigue of Air Jordans, but the Air Max LeBron VII definitely made more headway in that department than most sneakers or endorsers ever do. In the opinion of many, the LeBron VII took things in a very promising direction and there are a lot of high hopes looking towards the future of the Nike LeBron series.