Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lebron 9 P.S. Elite - Taxi

With the Thunders failed on me keeping Lebron out from getting a ring, looks like the day has finally come. The guy has made me spent so much anyway might well do another round of his signature. I know it sounds like a cheap looser but this thing is such a sharp piece of artwork with loads of enhancement over the standard version, how can I resist against it...

Nike Elite Basketball, you can probably differentiate by the look of its box compare to the regular non-Elite version. It is a line of premium performance series developed by Nike on only 3 shoes in 2012. The Kobe VII Elite, Zoom Hyperdunk Elite, and of course the Lebron 9 Elite. 

Most aspects of the 3 kicks such as material used, weight, and its air units have been completely changed over the standard version targetting raw performances.

To generally summarize the public performance ranking of the 3 , Hyperdunk #1, Kobe #2, and #3 on the Lebron. Funny it is a complete reverse on its retail price point. For $250 USD retail, and $330 CDN, the most expensive basketball shoes in retail history, why would the Lebron 9 ranked the lowest? Let's find out.

Since this is all about the Lebron 9 Elite, we will not bring the Kobe and Hyperdunk into the topic.

Nike admitted that the Taxi is actually a Miami inspired colorway although LBJ will probably never wear this on court. A lot of upgrades have been done on the Lebron 9 Elite in material stand point. The thick protection cushion from the lateral side to ankle were shaved off and replaced by CF, deeper traction, Flywires, Kevlar and lots of carbon fibre were used through out the shoe. Even the angle of wings placement, padded the backside of it with Pro Combat material so it molds to the shape of your foot for best possible fit. Various shank and wear tear testings, everything possible making it best of the best basketball shoes ever. (Says by Nike, not me.)

The pull tap has been replaced by a single to a rounded loop tap

It's funny where the Nike design team were told to do whatever they want making the Elites an ultimate beast. The increased cost were all due to selection of materials according to them. I don't quite believe on that too much, all I know is they got my business again.


Nike named the new basketball specific Air Max 180 and 360 units pork chop. They are about 70% - 80% more Air is encapsulated compare to the traditional Max bag units in the past. The forefoot Zoom bag of the Levron Elite has been thicken by 2mm from 6-8.

You will also notice that the Air unit is a lot slimmer and more closer to the ground as the higher you foot sits, the more off balance you are. Surprisingly with this 180 unit I wasn't too high off the ground.

Hyperfuse is strategically placed around the shoe in combining with Flywire for better support. It is a combination of 3-layers TPU sheets, a very supportive material that the first layer is to provide stability and support, second layer is for breathability, and the third layer is to ditch maximum durability.

The outsole of the Elite and standard is more or less the same with the exaggerated herringbone traction. There are also additional traction pattern around the outter edge of the shoe for extra grip, especially around the out rigger where you'll see the flex grooves providing natural flexibility when running up and down the court.

Different on the Elite series is that the Zoom bag window in the forefoot area means the Zoom bag is bottom loaded. I'm unsure why it is exposed like this as it is the actual Zoom unit with no window protection. If you do step on something like a pin, sharp curb or something in the exact spot of Zoom there your Zoom unit will pop and the shoe is pretty much toasted.

The injected cushlon outsole is completely exposed in where the crown area on the heel. You will also see there is a Y split groove on the heel area, which is to absorb and divert the pressure into 3 directions instead of taking a full blunt of impact into one spot of your heel. 

Cushlon material is used through out the mid sole. If you are familiar with Nike's famous Phylon then Cushlon is pretty much Phylon with rubber additives in it. It makes you feel softer except the down side of weight, cushlon is heavier than Phylon.

Large amount of carbon fibre were used in the Elite Lebron not only to look good, but the rigidity of CF actually keeps your foot lockdown to the foot bed so it doesn't move around when you quickly cutting in and out on court. It is a great combo along with the Flywire on the medial side, an internal TPU heel cup is also integrated, carbon fibre shank at the bottom of outsole so your foot is firmly and securely wrapped up.

Will I be wearing the Elite? Most likely yes. I wasn't intended to when I first bought it but since I lost my bet anyway so I can now wear any LBJ I want. But mainly because of how much of the latest technologies were integrated into the Elite and its true performance aspects are what pulling me in. To be honest if you are planning not to wear these, or to just walk on them I suggest you to stay away from it due to its price point. It is a performance gear meant to be use on court, and I will make the most use out of it this time.


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