Already beloved among "sneakerheads" as one of the best shoe releases of 2012, the team at Nike has continued the rolling out of LeBron X sneakers with the latest iteration named the "Jade" shoes.
With plenty of previous releases getting widespread acclaim for both design and on-court wear, there were a ton of expectations for the Jades. And with an extremely unique colorway, the design takes risks that could either be embraced or result in a dud.
How do these kicks grade out? Here is a complete breakdown of the Nike LeBron X "Jade" shoes.
"Wow" Factor: 9/10
Of the LeBron X kicks that we've gotten a look at so far, it's undeniable that the Jades are a gigantic risk for the designers.
By itself, the jade-color base, which is essentially lime green, is going to turn off the more conservative consumer instantly. If you're a person who enjoys simplicity with your kicks, the Jades are certainly not for you.
Eye-popping in the base alone, the designers also took a risk incorporating black and red heavily into the tongue, laces and sole of the shoe. With a colorway like this, you're almost asking for critics to react the same way we did to these Denver Broncos digs.
But you know what? The Jades actually work. The black and red keep the look grounded and contrast well enough that you're able to get past the initial shock of a bright-green-color base.
They're gaudy and will be a polarizing topic of conversation anytime you decide to lace up. That's enough to get a solid "wow"-factor grade alone.
Still, the fact that these kicks somehow impress despite their gaudiness is a testament to the design team.
Just because the colorway works as a whole certainly doesn't mean it's the most beautiful thing ever, and that's definitely the case with the Jades.
Like many of you, my first thought when looking at these kicks was, "I wonder if they glow in the dark." The answer, unfortunately, is no, which means we have to judge the design based on the merit of a green pair of kicks instead of praising the awesomeness of a pair of shoes that also serve as a night light.
Nevertheless, the designers did a pretty good job. Especially considering these were initially intended to be a China-only release, the slashed-stone inspiration is particularly well done.
It won't mean much to American audiences, but for those "in the know" about the design, the "X" on the bottom of the kicks can be interpreted as a LeBron X or a slashed-stone reference.
All told, this isn't anyone's most ideal colorway or design. However, you have to praise the designers at least a bit for making the best out of a relatively untenable situation.
Because of the extremely limited release, collectors are probably going to have a difficult time finding these kicks at the retail $180 price. The rabid rush to retailers oftentimes leaves eBay as the only option, so that shouldn't (and won't) be a problem for the most committed fans.
For the casual fan, though, the scarcity and relatively limited non-basketball viability of the Jades make them a "pass" for me.
I'm just not convinced I'll see many people wearing these off the court, despite the colorway working as a whole. It's one of those purchases that will seem like a great idea at the time—"Man, I'll be the only person with these," you'll say—and yet you'll always be too afraid to rock them in public.
The Jades are a nice pair of kicks, but there are more traditional LeBron X's that also stick out in the crowd.