Breaking Down New Nike LeBron X 'Carbon' Shoes

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

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While LeBron James is busy taking care of the basketball side of his worldwide empire with the Miami Heat, Nike continues to rake in cash on the business end by rolling out special editions of the LeBron X shoe.

Widely lauded in the "sneakerhead" community, the LeBron X has been a rousing success both in sales and in design sense. With the momentum at an all-time high, Nike will look to keep the ball rolling when they release the "Carbon" design to major retailers on Nov. 10. 

Already riding high with the release of previous designs like the "Yellow Diamonds" and "Pressure" editions, the expectations are huge for these kicks. 

How do they grade out? Here is a look at a complete breakdown of the LeBron X "Carbon" shoes.


"Wow" Factor: 8/10

Adorned mostly with a black-on-black feel, these kicks don't especially stand out in the crowd the way a lime-green pair would, but they definitely do the job within the "Carbon" theme.

What really keeps these shoes away from a massive yawn fest is the use of a metallic black over a simpler colorway. The metallic black stands out in and of itself upon first glance and actually helps draw attention to the silver accents like the Nike swoosh and LeBron logo.

All that being said, they're still just a cool pair of black shoes. The aforementioned color details allow the Carbons to stick out more than what you would normally see, but probably not enough to justify the price hike.

These are certainly an eye-catching pair of kicks, but I can't help feeling that something is missing here.


Design: 7.5/10

By no means are the LeBron X "Carbon" shoes poorly designed. They borrow from all of the things we previously loved about the LeBron X design, but don't do it in a way that's as aesthetically pleasing as previous iterations. 

Again, this speaks to what I was saying in the previous section, but there was certainly more that the designers could do here. Perhaps working in the metallic silver better in the lining of the shoe or even integrating it in the design could have worked without compromising the overall theme. 

Understandably, a theme is something that can be easily negated with one design flaw. However, holding to the theme is not a good enough reason to just throw a "blackout" pair of shoes together without pushing the boundaries at least a little bit. 

We're giving out a harder grade here than expected mostly due to failed expectations. Nike has in the past and will again in the future show us far more effort in their designs.


Overall: 7.75/10

If we were grading these in a complete vacuum, then the grade would almost certainly be higher.

However, there are a few glaring mitigating factors going against these kicks. First and foremost, at $180.00, I simply need something more from my kicks than a "very nice" black-on-black colorway. Sure, it falls in line with the theme and that's commendable, but I can find an almost equally nice pair of black shoes for casual and basketball wear at half the price.

The other thing working against these is that, simply put, we've seen far better work from the designers of the LeBron X line. Beginning with the initial release and continuing through the "Pressure" line on Nov. 2, we've come to expect Jordan brand levels of greatness here.

Obviously, if you're a collector or have so much cash in your wallet it hurts to sit down, you make these a purchase. But for the casual buyer or someone who is more fiscally conservative, these are likely a pass.

Considering the great things the designers have coming down the pike, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed by waiting a few weeks.