When LeBron James releases the LeBron 16, it will be his first shoe as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and sneakerheads worldwide are surely holding their collective breath to see if Nike can live up to our exceed expectations.
We might have gotten an early look at their attempts to do just that, as the LeBron 16 — or at least an early model of it — appeared to leak on Twitter on Tuesday morning:
First look at an early sample of upcoming Nike LeBron 16 pic.twitter.com/ZfBT2yvk7Z— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) July 31, 2018
Now these early samples aren’t always accurate. so this look could always change. But as some have pointed out, if the look stays the same, the LeBron 16 looks like a LeBron 15 mated with a KD 10, mixing the sole of the former with the top of the latter:
The above description is not a criticism. One of the coolest and most distinct features of the LeBron 15 was it’s bubble-like soles, and it seems Nike is ditching the scaly look of the last shoe for something a bit more smooth, with some speckles of color to give it a distinct look that would seem to leave open the possibility for as many unique and flashy colorways as the LeBron 15 had.
But as much as everyone loves some heat on their feet, the most important question with any new performance sneakers is always simple: How does it perform?
We don’t know the answer yet, but Lakers guard and burgeoning sneaker journalist Josh Hart is trying to find out for us.
We’ll probably have to wait for the shoes to release for some answers to Hart’s question and more, but the one thing we do know that Nike is hoping to make the final design for LeBron’s first sneaker as a Laker distinct and built for performance, as Nike vice president of innovation Tinker Hatfield explained in a recent interview:
“I think we’re all excited about the fact that LeBron is really still interested in winning more championships. He’s coming to LA to do that. We’re all excited to participate. If we can help him do that by, first of all, designing a product that helps him play at his highest level, that’s job one. Job two, of course, is how can we leverage his personality moving to LA and kind of build a nice story around that.
“And then, of course, from that, style can be unique and interesting and it can be what I would call a groundbreaking kind of product.”
Based on this leak, it looks like Nike is well on their way to the “groundbreaking” shoe they’re seeking.
What do you think of this leak? Let us know in the comments below, or you can reach me on Twitter at @hmfaigen.