It may be a great surprise to find that the LBJ19 has been released for a long time, but it is almost impossible to find anything about its release date on the Internet. It just went on sale without any publicity, not even a piece of official news. Unthinkable, right? For a top signature shoe of Nike to be launched without any publicity like that, it is definitely beyond my wildest dreams.
Then does it mean that the shoe isn’t worth the publicity? Or is it just not powerful enough to qualify as a top-of-the-line signature sneaker? Well, with all these question I’ve also purchased this shoe some time ago in order to satiate my curiosity, and yours as well. Now that I’ve played in it for over 4 months, let’s break it down in my comprehensive LBJ19 performance review.
In this article I’ll break down the shoe from a practical point of view, including the comfort and fit, the wrapping & support, the midsole cushion, the outsole traction, and above all, the value of it.
1 Fit & Comfort
There never fall short of excellent models that are also tailored for the majority of people and there are also many that are not all it’s cracked up to be. Nevertheless, the LBJ19 belongs to neither. It is in fact not suitable for the majority, nor is it widely lauded.
So how’s the fit on earth and should you go true to size? Personally speaking, I am a wide footer and when buying shoes I tend to go a size up or at least 1/2 size up. For you who have narrow or regular feet, I think the regular sizes should be fine. In spite of that, it is still highly recommended to have a try in the flesh. After all, Nike has always been famous for producing many smaller sizes of shoes, which has definitely deterred a lot of people who really need them.
A single 42.5-size LBJ19 weighs 548g, while a pair of 43-size ZK8 weigh no more than 540g, which is really eye-popping. But thinking about it from another perspective, I find that this is also understandable. For a player of James’ size and weight, lightweight shoes are not necessarily the best choice. Therefore, since it is designed for James, heavier shoes will, on the contrary, be the best for him. On the other hand, however, the shoe, because of its weight, is set to be suitable only for those heavier and bigger players. As I’ve said before, the shoe is not for the majority.
Some of you may think that with its weight, it may not be very comfortable in it. But I should say that it is actually quite comfortable in it, though it is not the most comfortable one I’ve ever worn. The LBJ19 offers me solid heel-to-toe transitions with quite a certain amount of padding inside it. Although it is a bit heavy, it won’t cause any discomfort or inconvenience and is certainly an upgrade over the previous generations.
For those who haven’t experienced the LBJ series, this one may be somewhat burdensome at first, but the above-average weight of the shoe, I think, shouldn’t be a hassle for you when it’s time to play. After some time getting along with it, you’ll only find that this is what it should be.
2 Wrapping & Support
When you first look at the shoe, you are most likely to get attracted by its obvious air cushions, the large TPU and the “towering” upper instead of the vamp. well, this goes true for me. But in terms of the vamp, different from LBJ17 and 18 that use the large woven Knitposite, the LBJ19 uses a meshlike translucent vamp, which is relatively thin and feels not so rigid. In addition to that, both sides of the upper are filled with two air bags around the ankle, and there is a low-top inner-bootie design similar to that of CJ1, which not only enhances wrapping, but also indirectly improves ankle flexibility.
The tongue also has a small air bag stuck above it. It should be mentioned, however, that although it has no huge implications for the vamp wrapping, the tongue, unlike that of LBJ18, won’t lead to any strange feelings for players. Besides that, in the heel of the inner-bootie, there is a huge counter and thick foams, thus increasing comfort and heel support.
With a certain extent of vamp stiffness and other setups, the shoe’s wrapping and support will be enough for use on courts. So don’t be overly worried when you are not yet accustomed to it during the first several hours of play in the sneaker. Just rest assured because this one is a real ascendancy over its predecessors.
The midsole is equipped with an alienated version of forefoot Zoom+ rear-foot Air Max cushion. At the first sight, the shoe comes across as Vapormax 2.0. But it’s a pity that not any reinforcement can be found in the cushions, resulting in obvious deformation of the outer part when they are hard pressed.
In terms of stability, you cannot expect too much of it. After deconstruction of the shoe, I found there is a row of air columns fixed in the toe area of the forefoot Zoom, which is quite different from the pure silk Zoom Bag air cushion of Alphadunk. From the looks alone, I think they are still compelling.
For the rear air cushion, the overall air pressure is relatively low, and the deformation can be obvious even when it is pressed by hand. And so soon as I put the shoes on, I feel I am sinking into some swamp. Compared to the LBJ18’s Max270 air cushion on the rear part, the cushion of LBJ19 offers more obvious feedback but it deforms more easily as well.
For the outsole pattern, its appearance does impress me a bit. The lines are fine and deep while the whole sole is irregular, like that of Voparmax. As a whole, the outsole seems to be installed with quite a lot of high techs. The midsole connects the upper and lower cushion by a pseudo duct and the grain is stitches in the form of small bricks.
So do you think the traction is good with the grains? Well, initially I had also high expectations of it, but I was failed time and again. When I was playing on wood floor, the LBJ19’s traction turned out to be very mediocre. It was surprising that the LBJ19 had a remarkably shaky traction on the same field where other shoe models such as the KT7 and AG2 performed more impressively.
What’s comforting for me is that the durability of the outsole somewhat makes up for its traction performance. Simply put, it is quite reliable for outdoor use, even for high intensity plays. After several months’ play, it is holding up very well. But with the small blocks, I have to clean the soles every now and then, which is quite a hassle for people like me who hates frequent chores.
5 LBJ 19’s value
From the point of view of a long-time fan, this pair of LBJ19 is endowed with the sincerity of the brand and kind of nostalgia, which really makes me electrified. But conversely, it suddenly dawned on me that why a bit of nostalgia alone makes me so excited? Probably it is because the world is now fraught with commodities and the outstanding products with nostalgia are far and few between. Therefore, I think although LBJ19 is not a perfect model, it is much more meaningful and valuable than most of the products on market today.
I always believe that one should not be a fan of a brand, but should be a fan of good products. After all, good products are more valuable than the money it is priced. Actually, the so-called good or bad shoes, under many circumstances, depend on their prices, consumers’ subjective liking and who they are born for. There is no perfect shoe, but only the most suitable ones.
I can’t deny the shortcomings of the shoes, but it is also a good model, which is also beyond question. As I’ve mentioned several times earlier, this LBJ19 is not suitable for everyone, and whether it is your right one and deserves your time and dollars, I’ll leave it for you to use your own discretion.