Nike is ushering in Playoff basketball with a bang. Introducing the Nike Basketball 2012 Elite Series, which in Nike’s words, is defined by “superior lightweight performance, premium materials and meticulous construction.” Re-mixes of the LeBron 9, Kobe VII and Zoom Hyperdunk have been re-engineered, strengthened and dipped in Finals gold. Each shoe features a home and away colorway approved by NBA Playoff overlords, and you can guarantee to see some of the postseason’s biggest stars wearing the Elite sneakers.

Without getting too technical, the kicks combine aspects of every new Nike technology from Flywire to Pro Combat, and employ upgraded materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber. The result is a stronger, lighter, more fitted feel for the most important stretch of the NBA season—available at retail stores and at NikeStore.com starting Saturday, April 28. The LeBron 9 Elite PS will carry a $250 tag, while the Kobe VII and Hyperdunk run for $200.

Be on the lookout for a full Q+A sitdown with Nike designers Jason Petrie and Leo Chang coming soon, during which the pair talked about everything from inspiration to construction details. Until then, enjoy this snippet, courtesy of Petrie, who described the reasoning for adding the extra flavor to a pre-existing line of top-shelf sneakers for the postseason:

“When you go out to a nice club, you put on your nice shirt, your nice jeans, the best of the best, because you’re going to show up and there’s going to be girls there, all your boys around, drinks are expensive and it’s the place to be. The Playoffs are like that for basketball players. It’s the big stage, they’ve worked hard to get there all year.”