If you’re wondering should you buy the original version of the LeBron 13 or the Elite one, then you came to the right place. In this LeBron 13 Elite review, we’ll take a look at the shoe’s appearance, tech, performance and price aspects. I’ll also compare it to the original version and decide which one is more worthy.
Alright, LeBron 13 Elite review is rolling now!
Shoes: Nike LeBron XIII Elite | best for: Heavy guards, Forwards
Type: Mid Top/High Top Sneaker (I don’t even know…)
Technologies: Nike ZOOM AIR, Nike FLYWIRE, Kurim
Fit: True To Size
My Rating: 8.5/10
Durable Kurim upper with mesh underneath
8 ZOOM AIR units for cushioning
Carbon Fiber shank for lateral support
Available in 2 colors
So obviously they’re not much different from the standard LeBron 13. Take a look at the comparison below.
So yeah, they are a couple of changes. The Elite version doesn’t have any more HyperPosite layes on the upper. The upper material itself is different, There’s a bigger midfoot shank and it’s carbon fiber.
Other than that and some minor visual tweaks, everything else is the same visually.
The Elite version is currently available in two colorways. The shoe is completely fresh and most stores don’t even have them yet. Amazon has the red colorway.
Alright, so before I start, I will compare them to the original LeBron 13’s. There’s not too many changes, so have a look at the original review, if you are not aware of the shoe’s performance.
Nike ZOOM AIR – the Elite version has 8 units instead of 6 on the standard version. There are two extra ones on the forefoot section. It’s honestly not a big performance impact, but it’s something. The cushion setup for the shoe is definitely solid overall.
Nike FLYWIRE – these are the cables which are connected with the laces for lockdown and stability. FLYWIRE works well on most shoes, so does here. It’s a little less sturdy than on the original version though, but I think it isn’t something to worry about.
Kurim – now that’s the main new addition to the Elite version. The upper is now Kurim and mesh under it. Kurim is pretty sturdy and durable, but the mesh layer under it adds some really good flexibility, so guads could like this setup.
That’s where it starts. No comfort – performance doesn’t matter. Good news – they’re excellent comfort-wise. Mesh layer is very pleasant to feet with solid ventilation and the biggest thing is the one-piece sleeve made from fabric inside the shoe. It was on the original too – and it feels awesome, like you’re wearing a sock.
So even though we got those two extra ZOOM AIR units in the forefoot, I would say the setup feels pretty much the same as on the original shoe. I guess if you really tried to measure the difference, it does feels slightly bouncier, but don’t think about this as a “night and day difference”.
Overall, this cushioning setup is more for bigger players (like LeBron) who need impact protection and bounce. Not a lot of court feel is felt here, but they’re not the worst in this case. Basically, if you’re a quick guard, I don’t think you should worry about this shoe. If you’re more of a bigger player, then this is a good option.
The Elite version’s traction pattern is excatly the same as the original’s, so traction is pretty much the same. And it’s very good – works well on most court conditions (even outdoors), no slipping or sliding issues and they are not too sensitive to dust. Still, wiping will be required from time to time.
There are a few changes regarding support to the Elite version. The upper is actually lighter and more flexible. That opens up the room more for guards, but again, not your #1 guard shoe.
Then there’s no HyperPosite layers on top, but don’t expect weak durability. Kurim upper is pretty damn sturdy, I think these will last long.
And lastly, that black shank in the midfoot area is bigger and is made from carbon fiber. So lateral support is better and here you can actually feel a solid difference.
So overall, support is an upgrade from the standard version. It’s well-balanced, not too hard for guards and it will protect even your ankles well. Nothing to complain about here.
Lastly, the upper of the shoe is Kurim with mesh under it. Like I mentioned, it’s a great balance – Kurim is sturdy and durable, mesh is flexible and adds ventilation. A very supportive, comfortable and just overall premium setup. Well done here.
So the Nike LeBron XIII Elite proved to be a solid upgrade over the original. It’s nothing spectacular or deal-changing, but it’s nice to get some additional tweaks for the same price.
They’re comfortable, have great traction, a solid cushion setup for heavier players, great support and a balanced material setup.
So if you still can’t decide which version to buy – there’s no question. Just get the Elite – it has the SAME price.
And as for the shoe’s performance overall, it’s nothing special, especially when it’s a signature. But it’s for forwards and could fit heavier, athletic-orientated guards.
Great and durable traction
Great support for most needs
Very balanced material setup
Comfortable, nice ventilation
Cushion setup won’t be good for everyone
Stiff ankle collar irritates the ankle sometimes
I hope you found this review helpful, I’m always happy to teach people a thing or two.