Following the release and subsequent sell out of Harlem Fashion Row’s Nike LeBron 16 collaboration this morning, the women’s focused pair quickly set to tone for what will surely be among the most popular sneakers of this year and next.
James’ 16th signature Nike sneaker is one of great standards. And, by proxy, one that will historically represent change. Now a Los Angeles Laker, James is finally part of a sporting franchise with a history as rich as his own. The Nike LeBron 16 joins the two in matrimony.
The very-first colorway outside of the HFR creation — masterfully set into motion by Brandice Henderson-Daniel and her design team — is the Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls-esque “Fresh Bred” colorway. A visual representation of Black+Red, James latest shoe, designed by his long-term Nike counterpart, Jason Petrie, thrives on the strength of BattleKnit 2.0.
First introduced on the LeBron 15, this knit fabrication is fit for the rigors of battle yet with the elegance of the materials traditionally used. “The knit team at Nike are geniuses,” affirms Petrie. “I don’t use that term lightly. They are mathematical artists and have created a new knit for the 16 that is strong enough to contain LeBron and successfully reduces any layers in the overall build that could slow him down.”
Given James’ closeness to his signature collection, many of the designs highlight specifications unique to his size, build, and on-court performance. The height of the LeBron 16 is noticeably different. It’s formed with a lower collar for James to move more freely. James, looking to add more speed to his game in his 16th season, felt it necessary.
“The first thing we wanted to do was get a little lower in the cut of the shoe,” James confessed. “I wanted to get a little faster, ride a little bit closer to the court and be a little bit more dynamic.”
Cushioning in the LeBron 15 was a revelation for James. He took to the refined Air Max system. Petrie makes sure to focus on that for its successor. “LeBron liked the cushioning so much last year that we just focused on refining it,” says Petrie. “For this addition, we removed the tendril that connected the forefoot to the under-toe bag, and instead included an outrigger to create some additional support to complement the lower height.”
LeBron’s 16th NBA season will be one of the most watched in his Hall of Fame career. In part, so will the budding Nike LeBron 16. But there’s very little if anything to critique where the shoe is concerned. James and Petrie make sure.
The Nike LeBron 16 “Fresh Bred” will be available on September 20 on Nike.com.