6 Best Nike Lebron Basketball Shoes, 20+ Shoes Tested in 2022

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
6 Best Nike Lebron Basketball Shoes, 20+ Shoes Tested in 2022

LeBron James isn’t called ‘The King’ for nothing. His signature basketball shoes dominate the market as much as he dominates the court.

With over 20 LeBron models available on the market, we have reviewed them all to select the best. Whether you are after a low-top, a shoe for playing outdoors, or a more budget-friendly signature shoe, we have selected the top picks in each of these categories.

To learn more about LeBron James and his basketball shoe collections, check out the guide sections below.

How we test basketball shoes

The best Nike Lebron basketball shoes are ranked according to their CoreScore. A corescore is an aggregate numerical assessment that is based on reviews by players, expert reviewers, and even ordinary users.

Best Nike Lebron basketball shoes overall

Nike LeBron 16
Nike LeBron 16

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 577 users
89 / 100 from 20 experts

Pros

  • Beastly traction
  • Excellent lockdown
  • Sturdy outsole great for outdoors
  • Nice cushion
  • Easy to put on
  • Great for wide feet
  • Cool aesthetics
  • Stable
  • Supportive

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Difficult to relace
  • Quite expensive

Verdict

When we talk about LeBron basketball shoes, fans expect nothing less than greatness. The guy is so good, his shoe has to be really amazing to be able to keep up. The Nike LeBron 16 simply exceeded even the highest of expectations. Even the succeeding LeBrons still can’t beat it.

This shoe was simply the best LeBron we’ve ever tried. It was amazing just how balanced the cushioning is. Because LeBron is a big guy, we expected it to be really cushy, and it was but never at the expense  of response or court feel. Nike was so clever in coming up with a midsole tech such as the one we see on this.

Traction was also wild. The squeak was there. The bite was definitely there, and it was in all directions. Cutting, sudden turns, destructive sprints: we were able to do all with confidence. The outsole rubber is also very hard and thick, so outdoor use will never be a problem with this one. 

Sure, the LeBron 16 can be expensive for many, but it sure comes with high quality. The Battleknit 2.0 that’s used on the upper is soft, flexible, and quite supportive. It just feels so premium and works so well that you wouldn’t think even for just a second that you were ripped off. Now, that’s a really good deal.

Nike LeBron 16 full review

Best low top Nike Lebron basketball shoes

Nike LeBron 16 Low
Nike LeBron 16 Low

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 979 users
91 / 100 from 6 experts

Pros

  • Grippy outsole
  • Comfortable footbed
  • Bouncy and responsive cushioning
  • Soft yet supportive materials
  • Streamline design
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Supportive as the mid-top

Cons

  • Stiff cushioning
  • Minimal court feel

Verdict

Given his size and quite aggressive style of play, it’s totally understandable if LeBron James rarely dons low-tops on the court. However, this doesn’t stop Nike from producing low-top versions of his iconic sneakers. The Nike LeBron 16 Low, by far, is the king among all the low-tops in his line.

We are not exaggerating; the cushioning on this was so good it felt like we were walking on clouds! The material is quite bouncy, too! So taking off is as easy as landing. If you are looking for a sneaker with top-of-the-line cushioning, then this is your best bet. It will be a mortal sin to overlook the LeBron 16 Low.

Besides its crazy cushioning, we were also so impressed with the traction. Quite frankly, it was the best definition of grip. It was just so good that we didn’t even have to worry about dust. It must have come with its own dust-repelling mechanism! 

Being a LeBron, it came as no surprise that the materials would feel soft, supportive, and just premium on foot. They were quite durable, too! So playing in this for hours on end didn’t really become a problem.

The Nike LeBron 16 Low is just amazing. Each time we use it, we notice something nice and new about it. A present that keeps on giving, indeed!

Nike LeBron 16 Low full review

Nike Lebron basketball shoes with best cushioning

Nike Lebron 18
Nike Lebron 18

CoreScore

89
Superb!
4.4 / 5 from 496 users
89 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • Good traction
  • Great impact protection
  • Premium materials
  • Durable
  • Perfect for heavy athletes
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Insufficient lateral support
  • Tongue digs into foot
  • Heavy
  • Needs breaking in

Verdict

We are going to be very honest here; the Nike LeBron 18 is perhaps the most LeBron-specific shoes in his line. Of course, this does not mean that this shoe is not good. We’re just saying that you have to be and play like LeBron James for you to appreciate the LeBron 18.

However, we could never deny that the LeBron 18 offered the most amazing impact protection among all LeBron shoes, or all Nike shoes, or even all basketball shoes! It was just on another level. We were pretty confident that we would never know pain no matter how hard our landings and strikes were.

The traction was pretty reliable too. As long as the court that we’re playing on was reasonably clean, the bite was pretty consistent and we could say that the overall grip performance was above average.

Then we have the materials. We mean; come on! We’re talking about a LeBron shoe here.  We expected a premium feel and overall experience; and boy, we were not disappointed. The materials were just soft, decently breathable, and just flexed well with our feet.

There is no denying it, the LeBron 18 can really be very pricey. But if you are a kind of player who loves cushioning above all else, there is also no doubt that this will be worth your cash.

Nike Lebron 18 full review

Best Nike Lebron basketball shoes for outdoor

Nike LeBron 16
Nike LeBron 16

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 577 users
89 / 100 from 20 experts

Pros

  • Beastly traction
  • Excellent lockdown
  • Sturdy outsole great for outdoors
  • Nice cushion
  • Easy to put on
  • Great for wide feet
  • Cool aesthetics
  • Stable
  • Supportive

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Difficult to relace
  • Quite expensive

Verdict

It is quite difficult to find a basketball shoe that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Good thing that the genius designers at Nike were able to come up with the LeBron 16. This shoe was simply the best LeBron we’ve ever tried as far as outdoor performance is concerned.

Because LeBron James is a big guy, we already expected a plush cushioning system. Of course, we were not disappointed. Impact protection was indeed superior on this. Yet, Nike was still able to cleverly come up with a midsole tech that also provided a pretty decent court feel. It wasn’t the best, but it sure did the job without any glitch!

Of course, the outsole is thick and durable. Its traction pattern made it possible for the shoe to have a good grip on any type of floor: from the smooth hardwood to the really bumpy asphalt/cement. Sudden cuts, quick turns, and really aggressive sprints: we were able to do all these with confidence and precision.

Because of how good the LeBron 16 is performance-wise, it doesn’t make much sense now to even question why it’s priced high. Quality sometimes comes with a price; and in this case, we just paid for every good that we hoped to (and did) get.

Nike LeBron 16 full review

Best value Nike Lebron basketball shoes

Nike Lebron Witness 5
Nike Lebron Witness 5

CoreScore

83
Good!
4.4 / 5 from 769 users
83 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • Strong grip on clean courts
  • Wraparound comfort
  • Secure foot containment
  • Surprisingly light
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Narrow
  • Barely-there Zoom
  • Not for outdoors

Verdict

There’s no denying it, LeBron basketball shoes are expensive. Unbeknownst to many, Nike actually has a line of takedown signature LeBron shoes. The LeBron Witness 5 is that line’s current king.

When we played in the Witness 5, we noticed that traction was not a problem at all. It gripped the hard court really well, and it allowed us to stop on a dime. We even dare say that our landings were even made more stable by its amazing stickiness. 

Speaking of landings, this shoe is equipped with Zoom units that really not only delivered high energy returns but also protected our feet from intense fatigue and impact. We played for hours on end, and not once did we have to stop because our feet or knees were hurting.

We think that besides effective cushioning, the shoe being lighter than the usual LeBron shoe is also one reason the Witness 5 was such a pleasure to play in. If only other LeBron were this light (and affordable)!

Unlike the other basketball shoe models featured in this article, the Nike LeBron Witness 5 has relatively less fanfare. It’s more of a really silent worker. But do you know what they say about the silent ones? They are often deadly.

Nike Lebron Witness 5 full review

Are LeBron shoes right for you?

Signature shoes are designed to suit the very specific needs of the players that they are named after. Consequently, Nike LeBron shoes are perfect for you if you have LeBron James’s physical characteristics and playing style.

Player profile

Tall and huge, James is easily among the league’s most standout players:

Height

6’8”

Weight

250 lbs

Position Played

SF/PF/SG/PG

Playing style

In spite of his size, James is still quite flexible on the court. He assumes positions normally occupied by smaller players such as Stephen Curry. Yet, his playing style is much more aggressive, mowing down defenders rather than gliding through them. This requires much more brute force, and less of the shiftiness and agility common in smaller players.

The different Nike LeBron collections

James has at least three lines of Nike signature shoes available in the United States.

lebron-17-vs-lebron-18.jpg

Collection

Description

Key Characteristics

Nike LeBron

LeBron James’s main line; every release usually bears a new Nike technology

  • Heavy
  • Technologically up-to-date
  • Premium materials
  • Pricey

Nike LeBron Soldier

A line of LeBron shoes that focus on lockdown and support.

  • Heavy
  • Supportive
  • Usually with strap
  • Slightly cheaper than the Nike LeBrons

Nike LeBron Witness

This is LeBron James’s line of more affordable takedown models

  • Lighter
  • Cheaper than all other LeBron shoes

Styling with the best LeBron shoes

Nike LeBron basketball shoes are as pretty as they are high-performing. They are of use even when you are off the court.

Low, mid, or high? Pick what you want.

James is usually seen donning high-tops or mid-tops on the court. Even if he does not wear them in his games, Nike LeBrons are still available in low-top versions. In fact, some of his other shoes debuted as among the league’s most anticipated low-tops. The LeBron Witness 3 is a good example.

Know your color

LeBron shoes are available in hundreds if not thousands of colorways. However, there are a few that regularly get referenced: 

Black History Month. James is known for his activism. His signature lines pay homage to the triumphs of people of color through the Black History Month (BHM) colorways. Shoes for Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Paul George are also given the  BHM treatment.

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. James regularly pays his respects to his alma mater through green SVSM iterations.

James’s current team. The NBA team that James plays for automatically gets a special colorway, which usually features that team’s characteristic hues.

lacing-lebron-18.jpg

LeBron shoes: Are they worth their price?

It’s no secret that the best LeBron shoes are also among the priciest basketball shoes in the market. They are up there with Michael Jordan’s sneakers

So that buyers get their money’s worth when they get LeBron’s shoes, Nike makes sure that it is equipped with highly advanced shoe technologies. Some of these techs are used only on LeBron sneakers.

Techs used only on LeBron basketball shoes

Battleknit

Innovated from Flyknit, Battleknit becomes increasingly stiff at the midfoot where stability is most needed. This is used in the LeBron 15.

Battleknit 2.0

For the LeBron 16, Battleknit gets an upgrade. Its tensile strength is increased to provide even more lateral support.

Knitposite

First used on the LeBron 17, Knitposite is basically Flyknit infused with heat-molded yarn that makes it more durable and supportive.

 

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.