The LeBron 20 definitely looks much more toned down, so it is visually different from the previous Nike LeBrons; yet, players note that its performance is as big as ever. It serves the need of not only players who want a lot of impact protection but also athletes who want to be agile on the court. It's already a bonus that this shoe has the looks for off-the-court action.
- Amazing overall performance
- Great traction
- Tremendous impact protection
- Pronounced court feel
- Dependable bounciness
- Comfortable upper
- Incredible foot containment
- Stylishly streamlined looks
- Not for outdoors
- Has to be broken in
Who should buy the Nike LeBron 20
Aside from LeBron James fans, the 20th Nike LeBron basketball shoe is also great for the following:
- bigger players who want a lot of cushioning
- more agile players who value speed and footwork
- buyers with a generous budget
- wearers who look for a performance shoe that's OK for casual use
- athletes who usually play on indoor courts
Who should NOT buy this LeBron James signature shoe from Nike
The Nike LeBron 20 is not for players who want a shoe that hits the ground running. This shoe still needs some break-in time. They are better off with the Nike KD 15.
Also, this shoe is also not durable enough for outdoor games. Hoopers who love to play in the open air are advised to go for the Nike Cosmic Unity 2.
The Nike LeBron 20: An amazing low-top
An expert shares that the twentieth LeBron from Nike Basketball is "definitely the best low-top basketball shoe" he has ever tried in recent memory. He adds that because of the shoe's "tremendous engineering," it is able to play like mid or a high even if it's actually a true low-top. A commenter agrees and says that the LeBron 20 is "one of the nicest LeBrons to come out."
Breathability depends on the colorway
In most colorways, the LeBron 20 comes with a traditional mesh upper. This fabric has not received any complaints regarding breathability. However, Nike also released a couple of colorways that feature suede uppers (the red one we've got here is one of them).
Nike LeBron 20 with suede upper (left) vs. Nike Giannis Immortality 2 (right)
If you are prone to sweaty feet, we do not recommend the suede version. It only scored 2 out of 5 in our smoke breathability test (where 1 is the least breathable). Good thing, some air still passes through the tongue area.
As you can see, its solid upper has got zero transparency.
But the upside of such a beefy upper is, of course, its durability.
Having applied a Dremel to the shoe's most sensitive upper part (front of the toebox) for 4 seconds at 10 000 RMPS, we only scratched the surface! Toe drags are a joke for this suede LeBron variation.
In a typical mesh upper, the same force causes greater damage (most often, a hole).
Mesh upper of the Nike Giannis Immortality 2
Enjoy a comfortable upper
An athlete reports that the lining is "super padded" and feels very comfortable.
There is some padding in the tongue as well. We measured its thickness at 6.3 mm. But it is not as beefy as in some other basketball shoes (i.e. take the 12.9-mm tongue of the PUMA TRC Blaze Court). The average tongue thickness for basketball shoes is 9.5 mm.
A grip that has everything covered
A player describes the traction of the LeBron 20 as "top-tier" and he says that it "stuck like glue" even on dusty surfaces.
Another expert happily declares that the Nike LeBron 20 is the "best gripping shoe of the year." He adds that it's the non-uniform pattern on the outsole that helps the shoe grab the floor in a lot of different directions.
As mentioned by another reviewer, the shoe's multidirectional bite and really supportive structure help it achieve and maintain high speeds. He calls the shoe "tremendously nimble."
Outdoor use is questionable
After performing a durability test on the outsole, an expert concludes that the "durability of the rubber is not there, the playability of the rubber certainly is." He adds that the traction is much better on an organic surface like hardwood, so using the LeBron 20 only for indoor games is practical.
In our own durability tests, we actually found that the Nike LeBron 20 could work for occasional outdoor use. The thickness of its rubber outsole (3.7 mm) is right at the average of basketball shoes (3.8 mm).
Disclaimer: We take four measurements with the durometer and calculate the average to come up with the final result. The photo above shows one of the measurements.
And when measuring the density of this rubber compound with a durometer, we found that the LeBron 20 is 4% firmer than average. Harder rubbers are less prone to fast abrasion compared to softer ones. This is another reason why this Nike shoe may not wear out that fast on an outdoor court.
Enjoy plush cushioning with the Nike LeBron 20
Experts say that the midsole tooling is definitely soft. One of them even described the consistency of the foam as similar to "cookie dough that's been in the freezer for a little while." He says that it's soft enough to ensure comfort but firm enough not to flat out quite easily. With this, he concludes that the LeBron 20's cushioning system is "really meant for a lot of contours [and] a lot of comfort."
Our lab tests totally confirm the reviewers' sentiments. Having measured the shoe's foam in the heel with a durometer, we can state that the Lebron 20 is 7% softer than the average. It is not a marshmallow by any means but it is softer than the Cosmic Unity 2, for instance.
There's a lot of energy return
The frozen cookie dough reference might lead one to think that the cushion is dense, but this is not really the case. The midsole tooling is actually able to deliver a lot of energy return. A player who describes the whole setup as "super bouncy."
As for the amount of cushioning, it can be said that the Nike LeBron 20 sits right at the average of basketball shoes.
There is 27.0 mm of stack height in the heel, compared to the average 28.2 mm.
In the forefoot, our calipers show 22.6 mm, compared to the average 21.0 mm.
Disclaimer: We always measure stack height with the insole included. In the Nike LeBron 20, we measured the insole at 4.0 mm in the heel area.
This leaves us with a heel-to-toe drop of 4.4 mm, which is lower than the average 7.2 mm. A lower drop combined with an average cushioning height translates to a more stable and grounded shoe.
Court feel is not forgotten
There is a Zoom unit in the forefoot, and it reportedly brings more ground feel to that area.
According to the wearers, this enhances control and confidence for shifty footwork and agility.
A sense of stability is also provided by the fairly wide footprint. We measured the widest parts of the shoe's forefoot (111.7 mm) and the heel (90.6 mm).
While this is not wider than average, it provides a reliable base for all of your court movements.
The shoe is on the stiffer side
Another key factor that contributes to stability is the overall stiffness of the Nike LeBron 20.
Twisting and bending the shoe in a manual assessment, we rated both its longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 5 out of 5 (maximum stiffness level).
However, when we bent the shoe to a 90-degree angle and measured its resistance with a gauge, it turned out to be of average flexibility for a basketball shoe. It is even 3% bendier than average. Yet, it is still stiffer than some of the other Nike shoes we've tested.
Snug fit: Take it or make adjustments
An expert describes the fit of the Nike LeBron 20 as "incredibly tapered," especially around the forefoot. Those with narrow and medium-sized feet can go true to size if they want a snug, one-to-one fit. Otherwise, going up half a size is recommended.
Indeed, the toebox of the Nike LeBron 20 tapers more compared to other basketball shoes we've tested. We measure both the widest part of the forefoot and the area around the toes. On average, our lab-tested basketball shoes get 29% narrower towards the toes, while the LeBron gets 33.2% narrower.
Players with wider feet are definitely going to feel it. Especially in the suede variant, which doesn't have any stretch to it.
Lockdown: Not a problem with the LeBron 20
An avid reviewer is happy that this basketball shoe offers "incredible lockdown" and is "tremendously containing." He adds that there really is no problem even if players do "incredibly violent movements" while wearing this shoe.
A semi-gusseted tongue is there to prevent the foot from sliding.
Heel slips are out of the question as well given the shoe's stiff heel counter. In a manual assessment, we rated it as 4 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest).
LeBron 20: Pretty on and off the court
Wearers point out that the 20th Nike LeBron looks fantastic. One of them even adds that the LeBron 20 is a shoe that he can see "connecting with his (LeBron James's) kids."
He simply means that even LeBron James's offsprings are happy to wear this shoe because of how cool it looks.