The NBA All-Star Game is a yearly celebration where fans and players come together for arguably the best midseason celebration in all of sports. For the folks at Nike, the weekend is yet another opportunity to rake in a Brinks truck of cash with the release of new shoes—and 2013 won't be any different.
As part of their long-running series of releases, Nike introduced this year's All-Star Collection for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant on Tuesday. Due to be released as a trio on Feb. 15, this season's theme gets its basis from the site of the 2013 All-Star Game (Houston) and its mission control center.
With all major Nike releases, there will be a massive amount of hype surrounding these shoes. However, after last season's release was widely lauded in the "sneakerhead" community, the pressure was ramped up for an encore performance in 2013.
How did the designers do under the pressure? Here is a complete breakdown of LeBron X, Kobe 8 and KD V All-Star Collection shoes from Nike.
LeBron X "All-Star" Edition
I said to strap your seatbelt for a reason, folks. Adorned with a bright purple and red colorway, the people at Nike certainly were going to make sure you said "Wow" when first seeing these kicks, whether it is a good or bad reaction.
Luckily, the LeBron Xs live up to all expectations. Since inception, the design team at Nike has continually rolled out strong iterations of James' signature shoe and this is yet another example of that.
Speaking strictly on a blanket level, there are very few instances where this bright purple and red colorway should work. It screams a level of gaudiness that could even supersede a line of kicks that are supposed to stand out in the crowd.
Here, though, it works in perfect accordance thanks to the care designers took in making the colorway look complete.
Every single facet of the shoe is interwoven together, and design surprisingly comes together thanks to the shoelaces. Oftentimes an afterthought in shoe design, the laces here give the kicks a symmetry it could have lost had the designers gone with a cheaper, one-tone look.
Even more impressive is the fact that the paint splatter works as a part of the whole design, rather than simply being around to catch people's attention. Each mark on the shoe seems strategically placed and provides strong accentuation.
The shoes certainly aren't going to be everybody's cup of tea, but they're not meant to be. For any shoe collector or hardcore fan of the color purple—the actual color, not the movie—these are definitely a pair worth adding to the shoe rack.
Overall Score: 9/10
Kobe 8 "All-Star" Edition
It looks like someone in the design room had the Miami Dolphins on their mind when designing the All-Star edition of Bryant's signature shoe. Given a bright orange base with white and green accentuating colors, the Kobe 8s certainly take some getting used to.
Initially, this iteration of the Kobe 8s look far more like a running shoe than one meant for the hardwood. My first inclination when seeing the kicks was to ask myself, "When did Kobe sign with ASICS?"
But as anyone who owns a pair of the Kobe 8s can attest, they're very comfortable and form-fitting as basketball shoes. The designers somehow found a near-perfect combination of light design with overall support, which is critical for on-the-court wear.
As for the design itself of the All-Star edition, it's certainly well-made if you enjoy the orange base. The interweaving of the white with the orange on the upper midsole is eye-popping and aesthetically pleasing, while the green provides a stark and smart contrast to the base.
Of the All-Star edition shoes introduced on Tuesday, the Kobe 8s are definitely the most conservative. They aren't going to cause a jaw-dropping reaction when worn on or off the floor, but that's also what makes them appeal to the widest base.
Avid collectors were definitely scooping up a pair, but the decision between the three for casual fans may come down to the greatest array of uses. If that's the case (especially if your daily wardrobe consists of a lot of orange), then the Kobe 8s are definitely the way to go.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
KD V "All-Star" Edition
Durant's career arc has plenty of more years to go in order to reach Bryant's or James' levels and it seems like the head designers for his shoe still have some work to do as well.
Let's start out by being complimentary. The insole of the shoe is simply fantastic. It fits perfectly with the space theme of the overall design and is a captivating blue color that's extremely rare for a pair of kicks. Had the designers built the overall shoe around that colorway, then it's wholly possible that the KD Vs would have been the best of the lot.
Unfortunately, most people (understandably) tend to focus on the exterior of a shoe, and the KD V "All-Star" edition has a frustratingly cringe-worthy colorway.
By my count, four different shades of green are on the shoe and are joined by a bright university red accentuation. Usually a reminder of Christmastime, the green and red here simply don't work and almost look as if they're cobbled together from two wildly different shoes.
Remember how the speckled laces brought the LeBron Xs together? Well, the designers of the KD Vs went with a solid lace and the results went just about as expected. Instead of working as part of the design, the red laces stick out like a confusing sore thumb, in turn making the sole look even more out of place than it should.
The KD Vs have been a solidly designed shoe for on-the-court use, but have had trouble coming up with workable colorways since their inception. This is yet another example of that, and one has to wonder whether we'll see a radically different design come the sixth iteration of Durant's shoe.
Overall Score: 5/10