Verdict: The Lebron 17 Low is an elite performer due to its high-end cushioning setup, fantastic traction, and superb lockdown. The minor area of warning is the undersized fit and the high retail price point. The sleek minimal low-top setup was super appealing to me style-wise. For any players that like a beastly loaded cushioning setup and can find these at a suitable price, I’d highly recommend pulling the trigger on them!
Lebron James is currently the most sneaker-tenured NBA player with the nearing release of his 19th sneaker, and his recent models have been no slouch at all. The Lebron 17 low is a beastly performer across the board that will serve players well looking for a well-cushioned ride.
Who should but it
Do buy the Nike Lebron 17 Low if you are a powerful physical player looking for a tight fit with loaded cushioning and support across the board.
Who should NOT buy it
Do not buy this basketball shoe if you are light on your feet perimeter player who wants:
minimal cushioning and feeling low to the ground (check out the Nike Kyrie Low 3 that offers a nice court feel)
affordable basketball shoes (Nike is known for its budget-friendly basketball shoes including the Nike KD Trey 5 IX)
Supreme, bouncy, cushioned ride
The cushion on the Lebron 17 low was top tier - React in the forefoot and Air Max cushioning in the heel. Both were noticeable - the React gave a stiffer but closer to the ground ride while the Air Max in the backfoot provided a bouncier but higher off the ground ride.
While definitely not what I would consider a close to the ground ride, the Lebron 17 Low did not play absurdly high off the ground and still gave a decent court feel for the beastly cushion is provided.
Solid traction, need to wipe the dust in between plays
The Lebron 17 Low has epic traction across both indoor and outdoor terrains. I tested the shoe in some men’s leagues games on an indoor court as well as several pickups runs on an outdoor court.
Even with the indoor gym floors being on the dustier end, the traction gripped the floor consistently and had a noticeable bite all evening long with some wiping needed here and there. Dust does pick up in between the thin grooves in the outsole but is wipeable every few plays with a quick hand wipe.
Multi-day break-in time needed
One minor con with this shoe was the necessary break-in time. Despite going true to size, the fit was aggressively tight in the first few days, with a slight tight pinching feeling. Luckily the shoe loosened up to a bearable snug feeling after a few days but it was still a bit of a nuisance to have to spend multiple days breaking in the fit. Once broken in, the shoe did play at its fantastic beastly status!
Fit is tricky in the Lebron 17 Low
I went true to size, and I think it was ultimately the right decision despite a few sessions of a lightly painful break-in. Even once broken in, the shoe was about as tight it could be without being overly tight for my preferences.
The Lebron 17 Low is okay for outdoors
I would mostly recommend the Lebron 17 Lows mostly for indoor play, due to the thin detailed grooves on the outsole but the shoes are playable outdoors - just don’t expect the traction to work to the same degree once playing indoors again.
My plan to get the optimal lifespan out of these is to use them indoors until the traction grooves wear down, and then salvage the rest of their life using them outdoors. I will note that this type of loaded cushioning setup is about as good as it can get for impact protection on a hard concrete surface.
Weighs heavy for a basketball shoe
The Lebron 17 Low weighs 13.6 ounces, on the heavy end for basketball shoes. This comes to no surprise with the loaded cushioning setup. Its weight sits noticeably higher than the popular Nike KD and Nike PG releases, and on foot, it does play noticeably heavier than said models, but not to the point where it slowed me down or affected my play.
Ventilation is solid in the Lebron 17 Low
The upper of the Lebron uses a mesh-knit upper which is reliable in terms of ventilation. The material did not feel breathable initially but after getting some steps in I could lightly feel the compressed air evaporating through the shoe. In the several shootarounds and pickups games, I ran in these, I never detected any noticeable sweat buildup and had a free-flowing step in each run.
Steady lockdown and support
Lockdown for me was another positive aspect of the shoe that stood out to me. Once the tight fit was broken in, the shoe possessed great lateral foot with no slippage at all during hard stops, and the upper wrapped around the ankle area cleanly for good support. The heel was made of a harder mesh material that served satisfactorily as a heel counter to keep the backfoot locked in place.
Guard friendlier Lebron model
As Lebron’s normal signature models tend to run on the bulkier and heavier side, the Lebron 17 low cleanly preserves the top-notch cushioning setup while shaving off some of the weight in the upper to present a guard friendlier faster option. As a ball-handling rim attacking guard the Lebron 17 Low felt noticeably lighter and friendlier for my playstyle than some older high-top Lebrons I had tried before.
The Lebron 17 Low is on the pricier end
The retail price for the Nike Lebron 17 Low $170 USD. This is certainly on the pricier end for basketball shoes but is justified by the elusive premium cushioning setup.
If you are a player who craves the maximal cushioning set-ups, this is the sneaker that does so without giving up any other major weaknesses in any other areas.
Software Engineer by day, basketball player by night. I’ve played in a diversity of environments, including high school varsity games, corporate recreation leagues, and college intramural games. I have enjoyed exploring a variety of basketball shoes throughout my basketball journey. I am always on the lookout for a shoe to add to my game-day rotation!