Finally! After months of waiting, the Lebron 14, Lebron James’ latest signature shoe, has finally made it to our shores. Late last year, Nike teased us with images of the shoe circling the internet, with the official reveal of the ‘Out of nowhere’ colorway seen only days before the Christmas day game between the Cavs and Warriors. Last Saturday, March 18, the Lebron 14 ‘Chase Down’ was officially released locally, and to celebrate this special drop, Nike Philippines invited 65 lucky consumers and select media to be the first group to try out the Lebron 14 and be part of the #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience at Kerry Sports. Taking the lead in conducting the training session was FEU head coach Olsen Racela and select players from the Tamaraws squad.
To open the event, EKIN, Nike Product Expert, Soy Soriano introduced the Lebron 14 officially to the group and explained in more detail the technology, design, and stories behind James’ latest signature. One obvious detail about the shoe was its lighter and sleeker silhouette as compared to the previous models. The Lebron signature line has always had a big man aura and a bulky feel to it, but the Lebron 14 has changed all that starting with the upper that uses a neoprene inner lining, combined with perforated foam and thin mesh overlays to keep everything lighter and more breathable without sacrificing durability, support and stability. More importantly, they can still keep up with Lebron’s power and speed on the court. This definitely opens up the shoe to different types of players, something that both big men and guards can use on the court.
For cushioning, the Lebron 14 returns with the hexagonal pod Zoom air units that we’ve seen on the 12 and 13, and this time they’ve made it thicker, which means more impact protection and a greater ride overall. The pod zoom units are strategically placed along the balls of the foot and the arch area, while a huge slab of zoom is placed right under the heel for ultimate impact protection on hard landings.
Another returning feature is the mid foot strap that we last saw on the Lebron 5, which wraps around your ankle and heel for that added lockdown. The tongue and the heel make the shoe look like a high top, but the is curved down to just above the ankle giving it more of a low to mid top feel which gives your ankle and leg more range of motion on your moves on the court. The heel counter, inner padding, and one-piece bootie construction, along with the flywire add to the overall fit and containment for dynamic support and flexibility.
Soy also shared how Lebron was very hands-on in the design process and it shows in the Lebron 14 with all his personal touches seen all over the shoe. A tag that says ‘Just a Kid form Akron’ is sewn in to the inside on the tongue which always reminds Lebron of how far he’s come. The insoles show both his initials LJ and his number 23 printed on each shoe, and the same is seen on the pull tabs on the tongue.
Right under the mid foot strap is Lebron’s signature, while more details are seen on the external heel counter on the lateral side which shows ‘XIV’ etched on the plastic. On the toe area are the letters ‘SFG’ which means Strive for Greatness which has been James’ calling card over his 14 year career, and ’3xWC’ on the other shoe, a nod to his 3 NBA titles.
More details are seen on the medial side of the heel area which show the letters ‘BBZ’ that stand for Lebron’s kids, Bronny, Bryce and Zhuri. The other shoe shows the area code 330, clearly a reference to his hometown.
Right after the product tour and info, we went straight to training. Coach Olsen had us go through 4 stations, each specifically designed to test and bring out the features of the shoe. The first station was footwork and agility drills led by FEU player Ron Dennison. This drill targeted the cushioning aspect of the Lebron 14 as we went through different footwork movements and jumps.
Station 2 was all about dribbling. We started warming up with 2-ball drills and moved on to doing specific dribbling moves like between the legs, crossovers, behind the back and hesitation dribble, all targeted to test the shoe’s traction and support features.
Station 3 and 4 were both shooting drills. We started off with trying to duplicate Lebron’s favorite moves around the paint with different post moves, fake and drive, jump hooks and up and under moves.
The last station taught us how to do James’ favorite isolation and hesitation moves starting from the three point line and driving straight to the basket. The coaches with the help of the FEU players helped us with a variation of strong drives, spin moves and step backs to complete the hour-long training session. Both stations helped test the Lebron 14′s responsiveness and lockdown with explosive drives, change in direction, and sudden stops.
Overall, it was a privilege for everyone to be part of this exclusive experience organized by Nike Philippines and to be coached by one of the best players in PBA history. Our games may be miles away from Lebron’s, but it was good to imagine and try our best to be King James for a day.
The Lebron 14 ‘Chase Down’ is available now at Titan and select Nike doors around the metro for P8,845.
Our media training sessions will continue for the next couple of weeks and make sure you check back here for a detailed performance review of the Lebron 14.