Nike and LeBron James stirred things up with their newest iteration. Read our full Nike LeBron 20 performance review below!
The Nike LeBron series has been predominantly known as a “shoe line for the big boys”. This is undeniably true; throughout its 19 mainline installments and budget shoe lines, the Nike LeBron sneakers were bulky and heavy.
While it makes sense for LeBron James’ physique and abilities, countless amateur ballers could not keep up with the shoes’ features and design, leading them to switch to other shoe lines. But with King James battling toe-to-toe against Father Time, it’s a great opportunity for Nike and James to revamp the shoe line and create a new identity that will pave the way for the new generation. Hence, the birth of the Nike LeBron 20.
With that said, here is an in-depth Nike LeBron 20 performance review to help you know if the new signature pair is worth every penny.
The Nike LeBron 20 boasts a three-layered upper material
The Nike LeBron 20 is infused with a three-layered upper material which consists of the Nike Sphere and a double-layered macro-level woven thread.
The double-layered woven thread is made thin to offer an adequate amount of airflow. The woven thread is firm, durable, and comfortable enough to provide abundant support and longevity. However, the Nike LeBron 20’s ventilation is not as good as other pairs.
On the other hand, the Nike Sphere functions like Nike’s DriFit polyester material infused with a little amount of foam. This material is infused to keep the inner material dry and to take sweat and moisture away when in use.
One word to describe the pair’s traction performance: top-tier
The 20th installment of the Nike LeBron series boasts a multi-directional outsole pattern. The digitally-generated pattern is engineered to pick up traction from any direction and foot movement. The Nike LeBron 20’s outsole is made of either solid rubber or a translucent compound depending on the silhouette.
The traction is very aggressive and grippy that it literally stops on a dime regardless of the direction and speed. Also, an additional offering that ballers would certainly love is that the outsole picks up a little amount of dust, which is a surprise given the small spaces between the patterns.
However, it is clearly evident that the pair is more advisable to be laced up on the hardwood rather than on a blacktop. It’s not because the pair performs less on the latter, but it is more of the durability-and-price comparison.
Regardless of the type of court, the Nike LeBron 20’s traction performs incredibly well. However, it is not ideal to risk the pair’s lifespan just to be used on a rough court given its US$200 price tag.
Even so, it’s still up to the users if they would lace it up in a court that could jeopardize the overall performance and longevity of its best feature.
CUSHION and Support
Long-time Nike LeBron users may have to adjust to the Nike LeBron 20’s cushion technologies
It is no secret that James is madly in love with Nike’s Zoom Air technology, mainly because the tech is constantly implemented on the four-time NBA champ’s signature pairs.
For the longest time, Nike heavily relied on their cutting-edge cushion technology when engineering a LeBron pair. Every Nike LeBron pair, especially those in the main line, was bombarded with cushions and foams to ensure impact protection and bounciness.
But exaggerating the cushion technology might compromise two important aspects of a basketball sneaker namely, its court feel and lightweightness.
A lot of ballers stay away from Nike LeBron shoes due to these reasons, and most of them would enjoy such features in the likes of Nike Kyrie, Under Armour Curry line, and Nike PGs, to name a few.
But when the Nike LeBron 20 emerged, there was a shift in the tide. From a heavy-duty sneaker with exaggerated cushion technology, Nike and LeBron finally steered the wheel in another direction and created a pair that offers flexibility to users.
The Nike LeBron’s 20th installment now offers an excellent court feel and lightweightness. Instead of an exposed Zoom Air like most of its predecessors, the Nike LeBron 20 is implemented with a full-length Cushlon which is soft, dense, and responsive. The Cushlon may not be very bouncy as with other pairs, but it offers a good amount of responsiveness to offer a good amount of impact protection.
Also, a Zoom Turbo unit is implemented on the pair’s forefoot while a large Zoom Air unit is inserted on the heel along with a bottom-loaded carbon fiber shank on the medial portion. The forefoot’s Zoom Turbo is not very bouncy but it offers good impact protection and a court feel that will be very beneficial to shifty players. The Zoom Air unit, on the other hand, provides good comfort and responsiveness especially when landing.
The two technologies are caged by a fully-exposed Cushlon that contours the users’ feet and are being secured by the carbon fiber shank on the midfoot, so even if the foam molds into the feet, the shank will still get a hold, thus, improving the techs’ lifespan and usage.
Aside from the high-end technologies that the Nike LeBron 20 banners, the pair also offers good stability and lockdown. The pair’s lacing system boasts a metal stay to avoid lacing through the weaves, hence, it wards off the possibility of getting worn out easily. Moreover, the lacing system allows the pair to be tied down beneath the ankle collar to boost lockdown.
The lacing system is also infused with synthetic material for added durability and containment. The ankle collar and tongue are implemented with a good amount of padding which is very beneficial since the Nike LeBron 20 is a low-top sneaker. Also, the pair has a wide base and is infused with an internal TPU on the heel counter making the overall containment excellent.
The heel-to-toe transition is excellent, too. The pair has a good curve, so dashing from a full stop is smooth. Moreover, the omnidirectional traction pattern works well with the upper, making the pair more flexible.
The only noticeable downside of the pair’s containment is that there is minimal slippage on the heel that some users may experience. The good thing is that the issue is manageable since it could be resolved after breaking in.
size and fitting
The Nike LeBron 20 runs true to size
Just like other Nike LeBrons, it’s without any exception that the Nike LeBron 20 runs true to size. However, unlike other releases, this iteration is tapered or snug length-wise. Therefore, wide footers are advised to go up half or even a full size for some.
For size accuracy, it would be better to fit a pair first before making a purchase.
The Nike LeBron 20 is perhaps the best LeBron pair in recent memory. It was a good move made by Nike and James to stir up things a bit and create a pair that could cater to a lot of ballers. Indeed, a very user-friendly and flexible sneaker.
Despite the major changes, the Nike LeBron 20 did not have any substantial and crucial drawbacks performance-wise. Moreover, the pair possesses an oozing charisma due to the engineered upper material and eye-catching design, which definitely cements the pair in the Sneaker of the Year conversation.
The Nike LeBron 20 nets an overall rating of 9.5 out of 10.
Where to Buy
The Nike LeBron 20 is now available in various colorways at selected Nike stores and other authorized retailers for US$200. Pairs are also available at secondary markets but for a higher price.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Unlike other Nike LeBron sneakers that are very heavy on feet and have bombarded cushion, the Nike LeBron 20 is lightweight and minimal. Also, it offers a good amount of court feel. Therefore, it can can cater any player regardless of their built, position, or playing style.
Yes. Nike may have lessen the foam and cushion of the Nike LeBron 20 but it still offers an adequate amount of impact protection unlike other sneakers with superb court feel.
Hence, it is advisable for players with ball pain and arch problems, to name a few.
Yes. For overall playability, the Nike LeBron 20 definitely stands higher than Nike LeBron 19.
However, for a player who prefers bounciness and high-to-the-ground sneaker, then then the Nike LeBron 19 is a much better choice. But if one wants lightweight yet responsive sneaker that offers more fluidity, the Nike LeBron 20 is the obvious choice.
Yes. There is not much difference when it comes to performance whether it is used in outdoor or hardwood. However, lacing up a pricey pair like the Nike LeBron 20 may not be a wise move to begin with as the pair’s durability may be compromised.
Instead, one may opt to use cheaper sneakers when playing outdoors.
Definitely. With the cutting-edge technologies used, high-end materials, superb design, flamboyant silhouettes, and excellent overall performance, the Nike LeBron 20 is worth every penny.
We hope that this Nike LeBron 20 performance review will help you in choosing the right basketball shoe for your style of play!
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