Nike LeBron 20
The Nike LeBron 20 is one of the most highly anticipated LeBron shoes in recent memory, mostly thanks to its resemblance to the Nike Kobe line.
Release Date: September 2022
LeBron James is entering his 20th NBA season and his third with the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the off-season, his sons, Bronny and Bryce, have been in the headlines more than King James due to their development and exposure. They actually debuted the Nike LeBron 20 on the court before their father did. Right off the bat, people loved the design, and that love grew deeper when the tech specs were revealed.
Duke4005: The Nike LeBron 20 has the best traction I’ve played in for years. I’m talking Air Jordan 28, Nike Kobe 9, Flow – you name it, the Lebron 20 will match and probably beat it. On a day when I watched players in Nike KD 14, Nike Kyrie 5 Low, and adidas Dame 7 slip and literally fall on the terrible 24 Hour Fitness court, the Nike LeBron 20 was sticking like crazy and never skated or dropped. Outside? I wouldn’t – the traction is soft, and the “grooves” are thin. On a rough outdoor court, I can see these lasting about as long as Russell Westbrook and Pat Bev get along.
Stanley Tse: The Nike LeBron 20 has hands down the top 5 best traction of all the LeBron models ever created. Hear me out, I’ve tested all the models including the Soldiers and Ambassadors as well as Witness models, and the LeBron 20 is definitely a hard one to beat. On indoor courts, I stuck to the ground. I occasionally had to wipe only on super dirty surfaces, but after a quick wipe, I was up and at it. I would stay away from outdoor courts as the traction will wear down heavily (well, unless you have an extra $200 lying around).
Duke4005: We all know LeBron is a beast on the court – size and speed still like no other at age 37. Nike has constantly been giving his retail shoes HUGE air bubbles and Zoom bags and overall volume coverage – and he hasn’t been wearing them. Last year we saw him in the Ambassador and his retros more than the LeBron 19, and there’s a reason – the cushioning. Even with Nike giving him pairs with waaaaaay smaller bubbles, he went with Zoom. The Nike LeBron 20 comes through with a forefoot Zoom Turbo unit that is top-loaded (pretty much right under your forefoot) and a HUGE 13-millimeter heel Zoom unit, all inside a Cushlon midsole. This isn’t Cadillac cruising – this is Jaguar smooth and speed. Bounce, impact protection, decent court feel, heel like a pillow (don’t land on it to try) – the Nike Lebron 20 is a shoe that made me feel faster while keeping my knees and back happy. The Nike Kyrie 8 was my favorite cushioning setup from Nike last year, and the LeBron 20 takes what worked there and amplifies it by 10.
Stanley Tse: Bottom-loaded large 13.5mm heel zoom, top-loaded forefoot Zoom Turbo, and full-length cushlon midsole. OMG, this is the McLaren of sneaker cushioning. It’s fit for a King (James). The shoe doesn’t feel too high like the LeBron 19 did. The LeBron 20 provided a nice balance while staying lower to the ground with proper court feel, but most importantly provided enough bounce-back after rebounds or jumps and even running down the court. While I’m a slightly bigger player, the break-in time for me only required a warm-up and probably one game. Once the cushlon broke in and contoured to my feet, it was game on. Not only does it work extremely well for myself and my old knee(s), but it definitely kept my legs fresh from end to end on back-to-back games with the stellar impact protection.
Duke4005: It says Flyknit, but it’s not like the Flyknit of the past. I said it feels like an old washrag or your grandma’s couch – it feels worn in and soft in some spots and rough in others and has no give laterally thanks to the “wire” (fishing line) running through the knit from side to side over the foot. It doesn’t affect flex while keeping the foot locked in – well done, Swoosh. The tongue is a sleeve and has a nice patch of leather at the top while the sleeve uses Nike Sphere in the heel (a callback to the Zoom Generation, LeBron’s first shoe). Sphere is a nylon fabric on top of the foam with holes cut in the foam to keep the skin spaced from the fabric, leading to better ventilation and cooling from the increased airflow. We also get a carbon fiber plate in the midsole that does NOT get in the way of playability, sitting on the sideline until needed.
Stanley Tse: The strategically weaved upper gave the Nike LeBron 20 a nice “look,” and it does seem all too familiar (i.E. Kobe XI elite upper). This is not necessarily a bad thing as the weave and wire strands help reduce the weight of the shoe while giving it structural stability. In addition, adding back the comfy Nike Sphere heel – a call back to the Nike Air Zoom Generation – as well as a carbon fiber plate, Cushlon midsole, forefoot, and heel zoom, I mean, this is the way the future of Nike Basketball should be built.
Duke4005: I am a 10.5 in Jordan Retros and a 10 in adidas basketball shoes. The Nike LeBron 20 I ordered was an 11 based on the Air Jordan 36 and Kyrie 8. The LeBron 20 fit length-wise like those two shoes. I could have possibly gone with a 10.5 (I have a pair coming in) but I like the extra room in the toe box. The heel slip is nada and the lacing and knit upper let the shoe wrap the forefoot through the midfoot perfectly.
Stanley Tse: I’ve always had a questionable relationship with LeBrons and the fit. However, it’s safe to say, with my slightly wide/flat feet, that the Nike LeBron 20 fits absolutely true to size. I have a little bit of room in the toe box just the way I like it, and I felt locked in as soon as I laced up. No lace pressure, no heel slippage, nothing. Just a beautifully crafted, well-fitting performance shoe.
Duke4005: Well, it’s built for Lebron, so it has serious support, but nothing restricting or boot-like like the LeBron 17 or LeBron 19. Your basic elements are the carbon plate in the midfoot and a very slight outrigger to keep your foot upright. The base of the shoe is wide, and the heel is fairly solid so underfoot while playing feels like a “guard” shoe. As I have gotten older support/stability has been needed, and the Nike LeBron 20 never left me scared.
Stanley Tse: The shoe is supposed to fit for a King, and by a King, I mean me, HA…..(crickets). The low-top build provided no restriction and allowed me to play freely knowing I was locked in by not only the fit but also the comfort of the cushioning. In addition, since I push off heavily via my forefoot, the nice wider base really helps my feet plant and push off for my quick (super-lagged) first step. Honestly, no surprises, except I didn’t need to ice my knees/legs after the game (wahoo!)
Nike LeBron 20 Overall
Duke4005: Is the Nike LeBron 20 the best Nike basketball shoe this year? Possibly. Probably. And for $200 it had better be. Fast, stable, cushioned, court feel, looks – wow. The only thing holding it back is the price tag ($200 is not easy, especially in 2022’s economy), but if you are a player who wants the best, do not hesitate to grab it. Run fast, jump high, fill the lanes, find your teammates, pretend your LeBron – it’s easier in this model than you would think.
Stanley Tse: Ok, you ready for this? The is by far, the best performance LeBron model to date and absolutely (and I know I’m being premature with this), a top 5 performance shoe this year. One gripe? The price. 200 beans.
I love the packaging/pull-out box like they did back in the day via the LeBron 2, and the included product card. But $200 is heavy. I’d like to see the model be around $165-$180. This doesn’t mean the shoe is bad, the shoe is OUTSTANDING. If you want all the nooks and crannies, never having to second guess your jumps/movements/planting, and want to feel like having a high-end luxury sportscar on your feet, the Nike LeBron 20 is it. The bar is set quite high now…so it will be fun to see what Nike does with the LeBron 21.
Nike LeBron 20 First Impressions
What’s in the video?
In the video, Chris provides detailed information from all the usual categories, providing the in-depth information you need. He supplies expert-level opinions on the materials, cushioning, traction, support, and fit. Here’s some of what he discusses:
- Packaging includes a tech sheet
- Awesome traction
- Carbon fiber shank plate
- Heel Dunkman logo
- Full-length Cushlon midsole
- Large volume heel Zoom Air unit
- Forefoot Zoom Turbo unit
- Dark Ortholite insoles
- Sitting within the midsole
- Sweater-feeling woven upper
- Leather hits and design features
- Nike Sphere inner lining
- Sizing recommendations
- LeBron easter eggs
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How to Buy the Nike LeBron 20
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