Report Card Grades for Sneak Peek of LeBron James XI Nike Shoe

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2013

The moment all sneakerheads have been waiting for is finally here. Well, almost.

Maverick Carter, the man behind LeBron James, posted a sneak peek of the the LeBron XI on his Instagram.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

An early look at @KingJames' next signature shoe, the LeBron XI (via @mavcarter) http://t.co/cmOBc5ysf4

Don't go tossing your LeBron X's already though, because these puppies haven't dropped just yet, hence the "sneak peek."

Until they're released, visual evidence will have to suffice. It allows us to get a better feel for what we're in for and plan accordingly.

Will you inevitably be laying down a few hundy-sticks for these bad boys?

Don't answer that right now. There's still so much for us to consider.

Design: C

If you can look past the horrendous colorways displayed here, it's really not that bad.

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I've always admired Nike/LeBron's willingness to move the company's logo wherever it pleases depending on the version of the shoe you buy, and this one provides a similar feel. It's pleasantly off-centered.

King James' logo is prominently displayed as always, though it seems a brighter color would have done it more justice.

What is intriguing about this set of kicks is the futuristic vibe it gives off. Again, the colors here are unflattering, but the varying use of material is stylish.

It also looks like they may be deviating from the zoom system in the LeBron X's, which won't be making Goodwin Sports' Nate Jones too happy.

Nate Jones @JonesOnTheNBA

Looks like they might be switching to lunar for the LeBron XI. Would have liked to see them do a zoom system similar to the X or AJ XX8

Still, this shoe seems to have sturdier a base, something that could wind up being embraced.

The cut around the ankle won't be, though. It appears to extend lower in the back, which doesn't make much sense (though it could merely be the way the picture was taken).

Overall, this particular piece of footwear has a lot going on in a small surface area. Whether that adds or detracts from the shoe's effectiveness remains to be seen.

Fashion: B-

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to assume Nike won't be limiting us with this one abomination of a colorway.

When you look past the bland and potentially vomit-inducing color scheme, these would make for a nice look off the court.

As previously stated, there's a lot going on here, which, from a fashionista's standpoint, isn't a bad thing at all. The featured one could benefit from some louder coloring, but this is definitely something that can be leisurely worn.

Nate Jones @JonesOnTheNBA

Like the look of the LeBron XI much more for off the court than the X. But question is will it be as much of a beast on the court as the X

My main concern would be the weight, as these look bottom-heavy, unlike the LeBron X that gave the impression of a lighter feel. 

Extra weight would obviously pose more problems on the basketball court than off it, but you don't want to be sporting anchors on those feet of yours, whether they be for fashion or function purposes.

Oh, and did I mention we need some different colors? I did? Well, it's worth mentioning again, because the color scheme here is both hideous and depressing.

Swagger: C-

Does anything about this shoe make you scream, "I want it!" Doubtful.

There is plenty to look at, but nothing about this is especially unique.

They have the potential to be loud and obnoxious, which—let's be honest—enhances the swag factor. But there's just something missing; the intrigue isn't there. Or even close to there.

Broken-record style, the color scheme here sure isn't helping. It's making me actively not want to buy them. I also find myself longing for the LeBron X's. Those had some serious swag.

These are just too ordinary and don't instill enough bravado—unless the whole I'm-off-to-play-shuffle-board-when-really-I-shoud-be-mowing-the-lawn type of audacity is the kind of thing you're into.

Then, these are very cool.

Overall Grade: C

Hopefully Nike and LeBron eventually free us from the prosaic aura surrounding this shoe.

Somehow, it's both futuristic and pedestrian. There's potential in the design and its many different cuts and shapes (I do dig the swoosh placement), but there's little, if anything, that stands out otherwise.

Showing us a different set of colorways would have once again helped. With the cutting edge use of angles, going bright and flamboyant would have made this sneak peek far less disappointing.

Let us then hope this shoe is fundamentally sound on the hardwood, because the look and feel we've gotten at first glance isn't doing much to up-sell it.

Superior function, however, might just be able to salvage our initial perception.


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