Summary

We spent 9.3 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what basketball players think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Most expert reviewers would choose the cushioning setup of the 13 over the Nike LeBron 12’s. They say that the 13 has improved Hexagonal Zoom Air units in the midsole. A lot of commenters say that they can really feel the Zoom Air in the heel and the ball of the foot better on this shoe.
  • Because of the hexagonal shape of the Zoom Air cushioning, a few players notice that they can flex their foot smoothly. They claim it almost has the same level of flexibility as the LeBron 16.
  • The heel construction of the shoe has also been modified. It gets rid of the 12’s clunkiness and has an improved heel to toe transition, says one tester.
  • One user is happy that the Hyperposite panel provides support in places where it’s needed. Another wearer comments, “Hyperposite is finally utilized in a way that actually enhances the shoe, rather than being detrimental to its performance.”
  • The padded upper conforms well to the foot after a couple of wears, creating a supportive and comfortable fit.
  • Some users don’t find the shoe’s collar height a hindrance to their mobility and range of motion due to the notched heel.
  • One reviewer says that the Phylon foam “has this extra bounce to it that complements the Zoom units’ responsiveness.”
  • The majority of expert reviewers think that the traction, at first glance, will not do too well. However, almost all of them are pleasantly surprised that the traction gripped both clean and dusty courts well and was even aggressive on outdoor courts.

6 reasons not to buy

  • Many wearers initially find the LeBron 13s uncomfortable as the Hyperposite and fused areas of the shoe are rigid and don’t have that much give.
  • Users with wide feet and high arches are cautioned against the Hyperposite sitting on top of the midfoot. It can feel tight and may even pinch on the nerves. For users with very narrow feet, the Hyperposite might hamper with the shoe’s snugness.
  • The majority of buyers don't like the Hyperposite material in the midfoot as it makes it very difficult to tie or change the laces.
  • The sock-like construction of the shoe causes a lot of bunching and bulging especially when laces are tightened. A few reviewers would have wanted the shoe to utilize a traditional tongue; with it,  the upper will be able to provide a better one-to-one fit.
  • Several wearers think that the shoe is “overly designed.” It has too many layers, Hyperposite pieces, and the collar is too high. One user writes that “it’s excessive for my taste.”
  • A large number of users find the LeBron 13 quite as bulky as Westbrook's Jordan Why Not Zer0.2. One reviewer complains that he doesn’t feel very mobile and flexible when wearing the shoe.

Bottom line

Most wearers consider the hexagonal Zoom Air cushioning and the supportive mesh-fuse-Hyperposite upper as the highlights of the shoe. Although at first glance the traction pattern does not look like much, it proved the reviewers wrong when put to the test.

Players who like minimalist shoes won’t be too fond of this setup as the LeBron 13 is built to be like a tank to support the King’s quite aggressive style of play. This type of wearers can opt for 2018's Hyperdunk X of Nike, which is known for its more toned down look.

Tip: read our review of Nike Lebron 13, or see the best basketball shoes.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated basketball shoe
A popular pick

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Video reviews and unboxing

Both flashy in performance and style, the Nike LeBron 13 features a multidirectional linear traction pattern on the outsole, a hexagonal Zoom Air cushioning system in the midsole, and a combination of Hyperposite and mesh with fuse overlays in the upper.

Cushion. The thirteenth LeBron basketball shoe features a hexagonal Zoom Air system similar to the cushioning of its predecessor. Zoom Air is one of Nike’s best cushioning technologies as it gives players better court feel while providing a responsive base to land on.

The shoe, however, implements it differently from the LeBron 12. Instead of cramming six hexagonal Zoom Air pods in the forefoot, the designers tweak the setup by arranging four smaller units around the bigger hexagonal pod. This bigger pod is directly underneath the ball of the foot. Since the ball of the foot and the heel are the two main strike zones that need much impact protection, another big hexagonal pod is placed underneath the heel. Both of these larger pods are 13mm in thickness.

The sole is not flat as the hexagonal pods protrude a bit. This ensures that the Zoom units are the ones touching the ground when the basketball players strike his or her foot.

Traction. Thick bar-like lines make up the shoe’s traction pattern. As the four pods in the forefoot go around the larger pod, the thick lines rotate in order to improve the pattern’s multidirecional capacity. These hexagonal pods are surrounded by a triangular tessellating pattern that runs from heel to toe. This pattern makes sure that landings made on other areas of the foot will also be supported by a sticky grip. Regular wiping will be needed on dusty courts.

Length and Width. The majority of reviewers report that the Nike LeBron 13 generally fits true to size. However, many would caution wide-footers that the Hyperposite on top of the midfoot can cause the shoe to feel narrow. Each person has a different kind of foot, so it would be best to try the basketball sneaker on in your local shoe store.

Lockdown. The materials used on the shoe’s sock-like one-bootie upper greatly contribute to the total lockdown that the shoe provides. The Flywire, the mesh with fuse overlays, and the Hyperposite material laid on strategic areas keep the foot contained. The laces are fairly easy to tighten with one pull.

The Nike LeBron 13’s upper is composed of an inner one-piece cleatie and a top layer of mesh and fuse. In between these two layers are Flywire cables that help with the shoe’s lockdown. The non-fuse areas of the upper provide the shoe with some needed stretch and ventilation. The fused areas, on the other hand, add durability to high-wear areas such as the midfoot and the toe rand.

The upper is embellished with Hyperposite pieces on the medial and lateral sides. More than just decorations, the Hyperposite pieces also protect the player’s foot and the mesh upper. They also add structure and rigidity to targeted areas of the shoe.

As for the shoe’s midsole, Phylon is used to contain or house the hexagonal Zoom Air units and support the weight of the user.

The physical appearance of the Nike LeBron 13 goes completely against today's sleek and minimalist sneakers like the Kobe basketball shoes. Its is bulky and cleat-like. This is due to the high cut of the shoe and the Hyperposite pieces on its upper. The geometric shapes give it a futuristic feel

"You never want to wear it off the floor like you wear on the floor," LeBron James shares in an interview. He adds that loosening up the laces when rocking the shoes off-court is the way to go. The basketball sneakers also look good with slimmer jeans which can be tucked inside or folded just above the shoe.

Within a year after the Nike LeBron 13 was originally debuted in 2015, the shoe had been continuously released in different colorways. Below are the more popular colorways of these Nike basketball shoes.

Nike LeBron 13 Written in the Stars

Written in the Stars was the official colorway that the LeBron 13 was globally released in. Inspired by LeBron’s Akron roots and his ability to shape his destiny without any help from luck, the shoe comes in Mulberry and Purple with hits of Black and Red on the upper. It also features an Oreo midsole.

Nike LeBron 13 Horror Flick

To commemorate November 2015’s Friday the 13th, Nike releases a special colorway that displays LeBron’s love for horror flicks and dressing up on Halloween. Red splatters and other detailings show up on a white upper to represent movie character Jason Voorhees’ bloodied mask.

Author
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.

dimitrije@runrepeat.com