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LeBron’s playoff shoes designed to perform for the sprint to the season’s finish

Apr 21, 2011, 4:16 PM EDT

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Pro Basketball Talk was in Miami for the release of the Nike LeBron 8 PS, the playoff series edition of LeBron James‘ signature shoe. In Part Two of our three-part profile, we take a look at the design of the PS, and how it’s built for the shorter playoff season.

As we touched on in part one, the LeBron 8 PS is a completely different shoe from that of its predecessor, the V2. The PS managed to cut weight, while still maintaining the performance that a player of LeBron’s caliber requires.

Besides the aesthetic design, which (in my opinion) makes the latest edition the best looking of the three, there were significant changes to both the exterior and the air support that makes this version the highest performing of the three in the series.

The V2 had the full-length airbag, which was important in providing support and lessening the overall impact on the body over an 82-game season. For the sprint of the playoff run, however, the PS changed it up by using a Max Air 180 unit in the heel and a Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot. That, along with a lighter, redesigned upper shaved a total of 2.5 ounces of weight off the shoe.

How light this shoe has become was of special interest, due to the fact that a competitor released a shoe just days earlier that they claim to be “the world’s lightest basketball shoe.” Nike designer Jason Petrie didn’t address this specifically, but he did mention that making the PS as light as possible wasn’t the goal. Instead, they needed to make it “appropriately light” while still providing an elite level of performance.

“We probably could have gone a little lighter, but LeBron kind of stopped us,” Petrie said. “He said, ‘This feels great. I don’t want something that feels like a slipper as far as weight goes. I need something that I feel supported and that I feel comfortable in.’ So what we tried to do is get as light as we could while providing for those needs for LeBron.”

“It’s not about making the most light shoe that you can,” Petrie added. “It’s about making it appropriately light for him.”

Video of the rest of Petrie’s discussion of the Nike LeBron PS 8 can be seen in the clip below.

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