If you never got to see the original LeBron 8‘s on the shelf, you missed out. I bought a pair and turned them into my game shoe simply based on how they looked, which I never do. The dilemma of course was red or blue (East or West…as they were released for his 2011 All-Star game appearance). Anyways, after a few short weeks plus a little added flywire, I switched over to the LeBron 8 V2. Here’s what happened.
Tank commander. That’s how my feet felt once they slid in. The shoe is a monster, or a tank, whichever you prefer. A lot of material went into the Lebron 8 V2’s and it shows. Your feet feel like they are on an important mission – like carrying around a very fast, very heavy, very expensive human (LeBron James). Plenty of padding surrounding the sides of the heel, and tons on the back of the heel. It is comfortable. Yet, if you’re a guy who hates the feel of a bulky shoe, then these will probably rub you all types of wrong when you first put ’em on. However, I recommend that you don’t count them out just yet…
Big marks here. Unlike it’s LeBron 8 predecessor, the LeBron 8 V2 has inside, outside, and forefront panels comprised entirely of Nike Flywire technology. It’s a light shoe. You put it on, you feel how bulky it is, how high the sides ride up on your ankles, how wide the entire base is, but then you start moving around and you smile. It feels like a shoe that, if you wore it around without knowing who it had been designed for, you might be able to guess LeBron. I’m not sure if that could be said about a whole lot of shoes throughout history. The shoe is well put together for performance. Running, cutting, jumping, all comes with a great feeling of support without being weighed down. The tongue is thick enough so you can lace ’em tight, and I never once had an issue with rolling an ankle, or feeling like I was going to.
- Lateral stability test (this is where you place the shoe on a flat surface, and use one finger to put pressure on the very tip of the heel support so that the toe of the shoe comes a few inches off the ground…then let go so the toe flops back to the floor. This will produce a slight side to side rocking motion. The less rocking motion, the better). Only average marks here, which means the shoe doesn’t optimally support your ground strikes, but it didn’t do poorly, just average.
- Rigid test (grabbing the shoe by its toe and it’s heal and attempting to fold it half). Great marks. The thick, wide base is very supportive, which is exactly what a heavy player (or heavy-footed player) needs.
Should they have stuck with the color orientation of the original LeBron 8? Yes. But regardless, this is still a good lookin’ shoe. The semi-transparent flywire gives it a spacesuit type look, and they made a good decision in not cluttering up the flywire with large logos. On the top section of the tongue is a giant flywire coated lion’s head, with the bottom section being coated in an old school open-weave mesh cloth (like the kind that comprised every pair of basketball shorts during the mid 90’s). The curve of the toe also allows the shoe to not look quite so much like the brick that it is.
Three weeks of wear and tear (practice and games) and the shoe still looks great. Nothing out of place, and even the traction of the soles is more intact than I’m used to. This is a well put together shoe. I came away more than satisfied.