The NBA helps companies move a lot of product, especially when it comes to footwear.
There is no better chance for the league and these sneaker companies to show off their creativity than during the marquee Christmas Day games, where many new looks will be debuted this year.
Some of the game's biggest stars will be rocking the latest in footwear technology, including perennial MVP candidates Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Let’s take a look at the leaked sneaks via Nike Basketball and pick the best and worst of the bunch.
Tis the season for festive footwear. The Christmas colorways. Available December 26. pic.twitter.com/sZIQzR9Jzi— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 11, 2013
Best: Kevin Durant’s KD VI
Unwrap your potential. The KD VI Christmas Day edition. Available December 26. pic.twitter.com/A4JZNpxWz9— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 11, 2013
The KD VI is looking right this winter. These sleek sneaks have just the right amount of holiday spirit without overloading the senses with gaudy color and unnecessary designs.
Nike took a cue from the popular Fair Isle pattern that is often found on Christmas sweaters this time of year, working in various X-mas patterns and KD-specific themes throughout the shoe.
It’s tasteful and not tacky, just like your favorite Fair Isle sweater that is far too good to be called an ugly sweater.
The creators of this shoe posted a description on their website that explains what is going on much better than I ever could:
Kevin Durant takes the court in Christmas red with accents of gold and mint. With a twist on traditional Christmas prints, the KD VI features a Fair Isle style Christmas sweater pattern that incorporates trees, stripes, and his number 35. Christmas plaid adorns the collar lining, with decorative detail worked into the metallic red Nike Flywire technology upper and a mint green speckled sole. It's the perfect outfit for this year's festivities.
Whether you are playing a pickup game of hoops or hanging out with the family this year, you’ll be looking right with the KD VI’s on your feet.
Worst: LeBron James’ LeBron 11
Stuff stockings and the stat sheet. The signature LeBron 11 Christmas Day colorway. Available December 26. pic.twitter.com/Br54MVjdjC— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 11, 2013
The LeBron 11’s look to be a supercharged version of the KD VI’s, and it is a bit much to look at.
These shoes are smothered in the same mint color that is cautiously used as the secondary colorway on Durant’s kicks and have just a subtle hint of red on the swoosh and laces.
It’s definitely eye-catching but probably not something most people could get away with wearing. King James isn’t most people, however, as the best player on the court will look right at home wearing these confident kicks.
Nike had this to say about the bold shoes:
Snow on the leaves? Never in Miami, but this year LeBron James brings the spirit of the season to the beach with this special edition of the LEBRON 11. A chilly mint color takes on a Christmas green with bold red accents and a frosty translucent outsole. The unique geometry of a snowflake combines with the royal palm to create a kaleidoscopic "palmsicle" print.
If you don’t think these are too busy and like the sheer amount of things going on all over the shoe, then the LeBron 11’s may be worth picking up when they become available on Dec. 26.
Unfortunate: Kobe Bryant’s Kobe 8 System
The Kobe 8 System Christmas colorway. Shedding skin and turning heads. Available December 26. pic.twitter.com/R2yrZJ7wFW— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 11, 2013
The Black Mamba had some awesome shoes designed for him to don on Christmas Day, but he will unfortunately not be on the court due to injury.
Kobe is out for approximately six weeks after breaking a bone in his knee and noted that he is #BrokenNotBeaten in a tweet shortly after suffering the injury.
We still have a chance to see Bryant’s kicks via the Internet, and it seems safe to say that his legion of fans will be wearing them on their feet come the day after Christmas.
These Kobe 8 System’s are sleek, featuring a scaly texture, green swoosh and speckled sole.
Which shoe do you like best?
Nike’s description makes them sound pretty awesome:
Ready to strike at any moment, the KOBE 8 SYSTEM sheds its skin to prepare for the coming of the KOBE 9 Elite in February 2014. The essence of the shedding skin is exemplified in a bold modern interpretation of aggressive snake scales attached to a translucent mesh shroud. Hits of neon mamba green and chrome gold bring in the holiday season.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Kobe 9 Elites look like, especially if this awesome shoe is being released as a preview.
NBA writer Chris Palmer ranked these No. 4 on his list of favorite recent sneakers:
Favorite Recent Kicks: 1. Foamposite Galaxy 2. LeBron XI Fruity Pebbles 3. SB Dunk Cherrywood 4. Kobe 8 Christmas 5. Oregon Foams— chris palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) December 18, 2013
While these aren’t the most Christmas-y shoes on the market, they are definitely the most practical and can be worn year round, on the court and off.