Court-Critic is dedicated to bringing you detailed reviews, information, and pictures of basketball sneakers of the past and prestent. Court-Critic will also update readers on sales and deals on the latest and greatest basketball footwear and apparel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nike Zoom Lebron IV Review

Lebron James’s fifth signature shoe is arguably one of the best Nike basketball shoes ever created. From a style standpoint, the IV delivers a sleek look with its large and smooth curves. The overall design is simple yet calls for attention. Not only does it look great, it has some great technology incorporated into it. These sneakers have some great moments in Lebron’s career tied to it. Lebron had on the Zoom Lebron IV in his famous dunk on Tim Duncan at the start of the 06-07 NBA season. If you haven’t seen this dunk (or have a poster of it hanging up on your wall), be sure to youtube Lebron’s all time top 10 dunks and you’re guaranteed to see it. Lebron also wore this shoe during an unforgettable season, which led to a playoff berth and ended with the Cavs seeing their first ever NBA Finals appearance.

Let me start by saying that if you are planning to purchase a pair of these shoes, try them on first. I have heard several complaints from owners about how big they run. Others have felt like it fits true to size. I made the mistake of walking into my local Foot Locker store and purchasing my regular size 9.5 without even trying it on. “The lazy work twice as hard” – I ended up making a second trip to the mall to exchange the shoe for a size 9. For me (and many others), the shoe definitely runs a half size or maybe even a whole size bigger than past shoes in the Lebron line. Once you get your correct size, you are ready to go. No breaking in required! This shoe feels absolutely great from the get go. It really feels like you are walking with two pillows tied to the bottom of your feet. The shoe is equipped with a thick full length Zoom insole which sits atop a full length glass fiber plate. The cushioning system on the Lebron IV is like no other that I have ever felt before.

Nike’s Foamposite technology provides excellent support and stability on the court. Most will tell you that Foamposite technology’s only flaw is that it does not breathe very well. The mesh lined vents cut into the medial and lateral sides of the shoe and mesh tongue do a great job of eliminating this problem. The ankle strap of Zoom Lebron IV provides additional ankle support making the shoe one of the most stable shoes I have ever played in. There is one con that may not affect all players; the metal "LBJ 23" emblem on the front of the strap could start to bother the front part of you ankle after wearing the shoe for a long period of time. This just depends on the movement and style of play of the person wearing them. I was not able to test the shoe on an outdoor court, but the traction was great indoors. The shoe delivers great traction on the cuts to the basketball and in quick start/stop situations. The lacing system is great. The straps on top of the laces are more of a style element rather than a functional part of the shoe. Also, the straps do make it difficult for some to lace the shoe as tightly as they would like. But it’s a small stepping stone to cross to get a great fit!

The number one complaint everyone has with the Zoom Lebron IV, including the man himself, is that it is too heavy. I do agree with this to an extent. The shoe weighs in at 20.7 ounces. This might not sound like a lot of weight, but keep in mind that most hoops shoes these days weigh in at the range of 15 to 18 ounces. To me, the weight did not make a difference unless I was playing for an extremely long period of time (more than 2 hours straight). I am not the “speed” player I once was, but I can definitely see how the weight of this shoe could affect a player that relies on speed and quickness to make himself effective on the court. The shoe might even be a bit on the “clunky” side for a quick point guard type of player. I honestly don’t see the weight being a problem for a bigger forward or post player. I don’t even think the weight was too much of a problem for Lebron. Let’s keep in mind that he didn’t really comment on the weight issue until it was playoff time when he debuted the Zoom Soldier. I think it was just good marketing on his behalf.

To sum things up, the Zoom Lebron IV is by far the most comfortable and offers the most support of all the shoes in the numbered Lebron line. Ken Link really created a masterpiece with this one!!! Personally, I would like to see Nike incorporate Foamposite technology into more of their future releases. It provides an extremely stable and supportive fit when compared to most other shoes on the market these days. The Zoom Lebron IV was released in 7 colorways that were available to the public. Two of these colorways, the gold All-Star and Nikebasketball.com birthday exclusive, were a little bit harder to obtain than the other 5 colorways. The Birthday edition released as a nikebasketball.com exclusive and was sold with a special bag. The gold All-Stars only released in Las Vegas and a few areas surrounding sin city. They also later became available in the Nike “Members Only” section on nikebasketball.com. In addition to these, there were a number of limited editions released such as the China colorway and NYC graffiti colorway. Also, there are a number of player exclusives including the famous All-Star graffiti colorway, Fruity Pebbles, and Hardwood classics version. Player exclusives were also made for the Ohio State Buckeyes squad and Lebron sponsored high schools such as Christ the King, Fairfax, and St. Vincent St. Mary. Those “in the know” were able to obtain a pair of all these exclusive colorways for a pretty penny. Although the Zoom Lebron IV retailed for $150, it can now be purchased at a reduced price at almost any retailer that carries the shoes. I suggest going and grabbing a pair now before they are all gone! Here’s a list of the general released colorways:

*Black/White/Red
*Black/Black/Anthracite
*White/Navy/Gold
*Neon Royal/White/Orange (B-Day)
*Metallic Gold/White/Red (All-Star)
*White/Metallic Silver
*White/Crimson Red/Navy

Colorway Tested: White/Crimson Red/Navy
Tested on: Hardwood

Final Analysis:
Comfort & Cushioning: A+
Support: A+
Traction: A
Breathability: A-
Overall: A

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