Nike LeBron 13 Launch Event Recap

LeBron James unveiled the 13th installment of his signature Nike shoe in the same hometown that inspired much of its design.

At an event attended by over 2,000 people, James officially launched the Nike LEBRON 13 in Akron, Ohio on Sunday. Many who filled the auditorium at the University of Akron were local children involved in the LeBron James Family Foundation, which James and Nike announced would design a future version of the 13 to be released next summer.

The LEBRON 13 “Written in the Stars” colorway on display at the event will be available starting on October 1 in Greater China, and globally on October 10. The shoe features an inscription on the sole that reads: “LeBron James Akronite 12-84.” The date represents James’ birthday, and the shoe also promises to release an “Akronite” colorway—a theme that The King noted “really means a lot to me.”

The shoe, built for explosiveness, will also be released in an “Away” colorway on October 27 when the Cleveland Cavaliers open the 2015-16 season on the road against the Chicago Bulls. The additional colorways announced at the Akron launch include the “Space Race”—inspired by Ohio’s history of space travel—along with a “Halloween” inspired design. Unique elements to each colorway can be seen in five locations on each shoe: the tongue top, tongue embellishment, heel tab, Swoosh graphic and inside heel.

During a private media session led by NBATV’s Kristen Ledlow—prior to James taking the stage to cap off the night’s festivities—he discussed the performance-based features that went into the design of the LEBRON 13.

“We have the greatest physicians, technicians and scientists in our (Nike) lab,” James said. “They are able to not only make shoes lighter but also keep them durable. For a guy like myself, carrying the weight that I carry at the speed that I go, they are able to still give me that lockdown suspension that I need when I’m playing the game. But at the same time, they help me be able to be as fast and as quick as some of the smaller guys in our League as well.”

The LEBRON 13 is designed to combine that lockdown fit and dynamic cushioning to match LeBron’s power and speed on the basketball court. The top three performance features of the shoe include the breathable, sock-like fit for flexibility and lockdown, a hyperposite material for zoned impact protection, and Nike Zoom air cushioning units to maximize explosiveness. The breathable mesh upper hugs the foot, while the Flywire technology cables provide an adaptive, natural fit.

During the on-stage portion of the evening, James announced to the crowd that, “everything we’ve all wanted for the city of Akron has gone into this shoe.” That statement was met with loud applause from the couple thousand fans in attendance, who were also pleasantly surprised by a Kyrie Irving appearance shortly after. LeBron’s Cavaliers teammate and fellow Nike athlete spent time on stage with James before their second season together officially begins later this week.

The LEBRON 13 will retail for $200 and are available for NIKEiD customization on September 30. For more detailed photos of the sneaker itself, go here.