In this year’s NBA Finals, half of the San Antonio Spur’s team is wearing LeBron James’ signature shoe, the LeBron X PS Elite, even though they are playing against him and the Miami Heat for the championship trophy. What makes the shoe a must have is the cutting edge shoe technology Nike has developed and integrated into its latest high-end basketball shoe.
The support system of the shoe goes beyond just lacing up and tying a double knot. Nike uses laces made of Kevlar fiber which “resist stretching for a more consistent fit”. The Kevlar laces are threaded into the eyelets of the Flywire support system within the shoe. Flywire provides lightweight support and comfort by strategically placing nylon fibers throughout the shoe’s upper section for strength. By adding structure only where it’s needed, Nike was able to keep weight to a minimum while maximizing stability during quick cuts and sudden changes in direction.
In addition, Nike developed a composite material and manufacturing method called Hyperfuse that was first introduced in 2010. Hyperfuse replaces traditional stitches, which mechanically bond the various material layers of the shoes together, with high heat and pressure to chemically bond the layers to each other. Removing the stitches from the shoe saves weight and removes a part on the shoe which was a major ware point in the past. This new composite material provides support, breathability, and durability by combining a synthetic base layer with a mesh middle and TPU top layer.
While we don’t design footwear at Beyond Design, it is always interesting to see what new technology is being implemented in this industry. With innovations to sporting equipment constantly being developed, it’s no wonder why records are being broken and all-time league leaders are being passed by.
To learn more about the technology behind the shoe, check out the video below.
Written by: Bryson Stewart, Mechanical Engineer, Beyond Design, Inc.