I Played Basketball in the Nike LeBron 15 Ahead of its Release — Here’s How They Felt on the Court

Nike LeBron 15
The Nike LeBron 15 on the floor of UFC's Galen Center.
Peter Verry

The Nike LeBron 15 won’t give you the ability to play like NBA star LeBron James. But you should feel good on the court in them.

Admittedly, my game is horrible. Actually, it’s more like nonexistent. (That’s what you get for not playing seriously since high school.) Despite my abysmal basketball skills, I did feel like I could run a few games in James’ new signature sneaker comfortably.

During a visit to Los Angeles this weekend, Nike gave me the opportunity to play Saturday morning in the soon-to-be-released sneaker at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center. The upper on the latest addition to the LeBron franchise is designed with a new Flyknit Battle construction, which is paired with Max Air and Zoom Air cushioning units.

The combination of the technologies provided an experience unlike any other basketball shoe that I’ve played in.

Nike LeBron 15 Another look at the Nike LeBron 15. Peter Verry
I was most impressed with was how secure my feet felt during lateral movements. The upper was snug, but not too tight to the point that comfort is sacrificed, and I was able to cut and move from side to side with relative ease. And even though my foot felt locked down, I didn’t feel like my feet were restricted from natural movement.

The cushioning was stellar as well. Typically after hitting the court in any basketball sneaker, regardless of brand, my feet are a bit sore. The style of shoe has never agreed with my feet. But that wasn’t the case with the LeBron 15. Even after running the length of a full court several times, and jumping and landing, my feet felt great.

Also worth noting is the ease of putting on and taking off the shoes. A criticism I had of the last sneaker in the franchise, the LeBron 14, was how difficult it was to get my foot into. The collar wasn’t forgiving, and it took a great deal of force to get my foot inside the shoe. (I’m an 11.5, and getting a 13 on was tough.) But this is not the case with the new model.

Nike LeBron 15 The heels of the Nike LeBron 15. Peter Verry
The LeBron 15 is equipped with a tight collar, which was great in keeping my ankles secure throughout playing, but it did not hinder my ability to get my foot in or out of the shoe (which I wore in my true size).

It’s also worth noting the lifestyle appeal of the shoe. Basketball kicks aren’t the fashion staple they were a couple years ago, but the LeBron 15 is an atypical look for the sport and should appeal to the sneaker fan who buys for fashion instead of function. The minimal branding and bold look to the upper should make this sneaker attractive to multiple audiences.

Nike LeBron 15 A look at the Nike LeBron 15 from above. Peter Verry