LeBron 18 Review & Why You MUST Try These

Introducing 2020’s epitome of “premium” when it comes to basketball shoes. Hell, for the last who-knows-how-many years in fact. In today’s LeBron 18 review, we’ll break down the King’s latest signature shoe from Nikey.

I’ve been playing in the shoe ever since its launch (rotating several other kicks as well) exclusively outdoors, in the ‘Lakers’ colorway.

I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, on-court performance, evaluate whether the $200 price tag is justified for the average consumer, and explain why you should absolutely experience how comfy a hoop sneaker can be!


LeBron 18 Review: SpecsPin






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LeBron 18 Review: TopPin
image source: nike.com

Let’s start with the need-to-know first. I’m a pretty prominent wide footer but having experience with several other LeBron shoes before, the dude always emphasizes a wide and roomy design, both internally and externally.

A particular type of look that not everyone’s going to like but sizing-wise most people will be absolutely a-okay going with their regular size for the LeBron 18.

While the inside of the shoe isn’t the widest or roomiest among other LeBron’s, I still didn’t have any major problems with my clown feet by going true to size.

Regular/narrow footers can expect a secure, glove-like fit, yet one that doesn’t restrict or leave 0 space for your foot to breathe in there.

For guys who prefer a slightly roomier fit, going up 1/2 of your regular size is also an option. I’ve seen several other people and reviewers going up half a size and preferring that type of fit.

But generally, you shouldn’t have issues going true to size once you give these enough time to mold to your foot shape.


Well, maybe not a taste but you’ll surely feel the benefits of an expensive flagship signature shoe in these when it comes to all-around comfort.

I’m talkin’ my foot feeling like it’s softly cupped with tons of internal padding, the nice feeling high-quality synthetic upper brings, and that insane cushion setup. We’ll talk about that madness a bit later.

But seriously, this is probably the most comfortable basketball sneaker I’ve ever played in in the last few years.

The way it’s built, the way it nicely fits my wide feet and the way rides on the blacktop all come together for a very fun package.

When you’re feeling bored or down about yourself, throw the LeBron 18 on and hit the court. Get a taste of premium. You’ve paid for it.

Am I starting to sound like a salesman? Well if so, two things. One, the LeBron 18 is a ridiculously comfortable shoe and deserves all the praise.

Two, let’s not get it twisted though. The shoe does have some little details that could’ve been tweaked so let’s break that down too.

LeBron 18 Review: PairPin
image source: nike.com

You might’ve already heard about this due to other reviewers and people reporting but that tongue is pretty bad.

Most of the colorways feature a thin, cheap synthetic tongue that’s pretty uncomfortable and can cause pinching if wearing lower-cut socks and/or lacing the shoe up tight.

My ‘Lakers’ colorway features a synthetic suede tongue and while it does a bit more justice to my foot, it’s still something that could’ve been easily avoided.

Not sure if this was to cut costs or just overlooked during the design process but there will be some pinching around your ankle if you lace the shoe up really tight.

For me personally, I’m always wearing high-cut performance socks that are usually thicker too, so that barely was an issue.

It’s still something I felt while playing but it’s possible not to pay much attention to it, so not really a dealbreaker there.

Besides the fact that the tongue can cause some pinching, it’s just a very cheaply-made piece of the shoe that’s too thin to be comfortable, it’s all over the place as the tongue doesn’t really stay in place if you skip the top laces or don’t lace ’em up tighter.

I know it might sound like I’m seriously nitpicking here – don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely not a dealbreaker, it’s just that a $200 product shouldn’t be cutting corners like this and it should be held to high standards.

Besides the tongue, the LeBron 18 is extremely comfortable, my foot was mostly secure and contained, I didn’t feel heavy-footed despite the shoe being among the heaviest ones recently.

A treat to wear and pretty much perfect comfort & fit if that tongue was simply padded properly or a higher quality material was utilized.


LeBron 18 Review: OutsolePin
image source: nike.com

All aspects of the shoe’s traction are very similar to the 17th LeBron performance-wise. Gripping the floor with these likely won’t catch your attention – the bite isn’t the most aggressive but by no means bad either.

It was enough for me personally to not think about it, which is pretty much the borderline where a shoe’s traction gets a pass for me.

I was properly held running, stopping and popping off a screen, moving laterally, or taking off for a dunk. No outrageous slips or any other issues that would catch my attention. Just low-key solid traction.

Could you make an argument that it’s a 200 dollar shoe and we should get that top three-level insane traction? Maybe, but I’m not personally complaining when a shoe works performance-wise and doesn’t cause issues.

At least not in the traction/outsole department, as other things could be better utilized with a bigger budget that I’d pay more attention to. Such as the tech itself, materials used, and the way the shoe’s built in general.


A shoe like this isn’t built primarily for outdoor play on rougher surfaces but I thought the shoe did a pretty good job not attracting that much dust into the pattern, so wiping the outsoles wasn’t very much required – an occasional wipe or two out of habit was fine for me.

As far as durability, it’s pretty similar to the LeBron 17 and even though it’s impossible to tell you an exact period the outsoles will hold outdoors, feeling the rubber on these felt a bit stronger compared to the 17th.

I still wouldn’t recommend the LeBon 18 as your primary outdoors shoes though. Some games/shootarounds here and there will be fine!


LeBron 18 Review: HeelPin
image source: nike.com

If a full-length Zoom unit, a heel Max Air unit, and a thick Cushlon midsole don’t sound amazing, I don’t know what is. The LeBron 17’s cushion was already tons of fun – things just got another level up on the 18th.

For those who prefer a quick, low-to-the-ground setup with court feel, you can forget about the LeBron 18’s borderline ridiculous ride it offers.

But despite the setup having A LOT of cushion and providing an elevated ride with no real court feel, I think these guys really nailed it making the setup both tons of fun and efficient performance-wise, not only for huge and explosive individuals like LeBron James himself.

Being an explosive guard that likes to take off to the hoop when possible, I loved every bit of it.

You get tons of impact protection (seriously a TON), there’s good foam rebound providing some spring back upon impact, and while the ride is almost pillowy soft, the units don’t over-compress and I didn’t feel slow.

Sure, it’s not the fastest setup as it still feels more soft than springy but the balance is there.

I’d imagine it’s pretty damn tough to balance this kind of setup out but I think this is a very good blend of impact protection, comfort, and being able to still feel nimble underfoot.

I think most people would find it pretty addicting and they’d get a good performer as well. And especially for heavier guys at the frontcourt, generally athletic/explosive players or older players – this is a perfect fit.

If you’d like to know how Nikey’s best and likely most expensive cushion setup feels – the LeBron 18 should be at the top of your list.


LeBron 18 Review: Side 2Pin
image source: nike.com

As some of you know, there’s some concern regarding the shoe’s lateral containment and stability.

Being an explosive, drive-first player, I was concerned too and even though it’s not terribly bad, I would want an improvement in this area for the next shoe.

Sure, the overall support was fine – especially with an elevated ride the shoe’s midsole gives you. Sprints, cuts, jumps, stops, and pops felt fine – you won’t have any major restrictions due to the upper based on a knit.

Most of your essential support features are in place: external and internal heel counters, a wide platform to promote stability, a torsional shank plate, and flywire cables locking you down when lacing the shoe up.

You also sit within the midsole a bit but that could’ve been tweaked and there are no real outriggers to provide extra lateral protection.

For a shoe that has some slight lateral coverage issues, a simple feature like that would’ve been very much welcome.

Foot containment was also mostly good but I would feel some pressure to change my direction quickly if we’re talking lateral movements.

That doesn’t happen all the time for me but the occasional semi-slips out of the footbed is something you don’t want while playing in an elevated sneaker such as this one.

Especially if you’re a shifty guard or a quick spot-up shooter and do lots of quick movements to step around defenders, come off a screen, or create openings without the ball.

Besides this one thing, the rest is completely solid – I wasn’t restricted, felt comfortable, and mostly safe.

But it is something to keep in mind if you’re someone who resembles the mentioned play styles, needs the absolute best security, and can’t afford to feel wonky when quickly moving laterally.


LeBron 18 Review: UpperPin
image source: nike.com

The upper continues LeBron’s knit marketing shenanigans – Knitposite 2.0 is used which is a second iteration of Knitposite the previous LeBron 17 started off with.

It’s a knit at its core, though this time we’re seeing lots of glue coated within the upper for durability and structure. You should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of playing in a knit-based shoe.

The LeBron 18’s upper feels comfy, lightweight (even though the shoe isn’t light as a whole), requires close to zero break-in time, and providing you achieve your desired fit, it should feel like a glove cupping your feet. In a good way, of course.

The drawbacks to this type of upper are, of course, durability, and in this particular case, sub-par lateral containment and almost non-existent ventilation.

You’d think that a knit shoe and those little Zoom pods on the tongue would provide great breathability but it’s kind of the opposite here.

If your feet get hot quickly while playing, these won’t help much here.

Now, I personally don’t care about ventilation and it’s something I least think about when I’m on the court but for people who take more notice – this knit is backed behind a ton of synthetic coating which pretty much blocks any kind of airflow.

LeBron 18 Review: BackPin
image source: nike.com

Touching on overall durability – the LeBron 18 is actually a pretty durable shoe and among the toughest knit-based shoes available right now.

I still think the LeBron 16 will be a more durable option for outdoors but this one isn’t that far behind.

But the other side of the coin is you’d barely recognize it’s a knit in the first place – all that glue gives some mesh/synthetic vibes to the touch. Performance-wise though, the shoe plays great.

I guess the only drawback in this regard would be for people who prefer genuine, pure knits to play in.

I’m not personally mad at this choice though, I think this makes for an occasional outdoor option without taking away the strong suits of this type of material.

You will eventually see some frays, especially in the toebox area since it’s still a knit. Nothing too troublesome though, most of the “damage” will be only cosmetic.


LeBron 18 Review: Side 3Pin
image source: nike.com

Let’s close out the LeBron 18 review.

I legitimately loved playing in the 18th LeBron. I think this type of setup will impress a lot of people and many different players would find it sufficient performance-wise.

It’s a hefty price tag but that’s nothing new when it comes to LeBron’s main signature line. All your flagship tech and features are jam-packed here.

The shoe is a treat for your feet comfort-wise, they will fit most true to size, traction is solid though keep outdoor games to occasional rather than frequent if you don’t want your $200 to go down to the rubble quickly.

That cushion setup is INSANE and everyone should get a feel for it, while overall support was mostly fine.

The three main things I’m mostly looking forward to getting tweaked are those cheap a** tongues that can cause pinching if wearing thin socks, better consistency in lateral coverage and perhaps slap on a more durable outsole – I mean we are paying 200 bucks.

Overall though – it’s a banger if you can afford it. Looking forward to more advancements and tweaks in the LeBron 19!

The scores of the shoe are at the end!







As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Also, if a user clicks on any other product links and purchases a product, I earn a small commission.



Alright, that’s a wrap for the LeBron 18 review! I hope you found it useful as always, had an awesome run in these throughout the months! One of the most fun reviews to make lately. The shoe is absolutely among the best in 2020 and it’s one of the best in this “high budget” range.

ATTENTION! The LeBron 18 Low and the next year’s LeBron 19 are out – check out my in-depth reviews breaking down the key differences between those.

But if you feel like I’ve missed some stuff that could be important, you’ve got a question, suggestion, or just want to share your own experience,







Nike LeBron 18


Fit & Comfort


On-Court Performance


Value for the Price




Main Takeaways

  • Most people should go true to their size
  • Go 1/2 a size if you prefer a roomier fit
  • Make sure to wear high-cut, thicker socks to prevent the tongue pinching
  • An excellent all-around performer, though be aware of lateral coverage inconsistency

Recommended For

  • Forwards, wings, bigger guards
  • Explosive/athletic players
  • Linear-dominant players
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2 thoughts on “LeBron 18 Review & Why You MUST Try These

  1. Great article on what does seem like a very good sports shoe.

    Nike has always been up there as one of the best, not just with footwear but across their entire products line, and my number one choice for running shoes.

    $200 whilst many will say “that’s expensive” is really not but you get what you pay for, mind you playing what they are intended for can imagine they don’t last very long especially if you are a quick-moving player.

    Can you tell me how long a pair would last?

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hey Mick!

      You know, I always said that the LeBron shoe line (mainly the main one) produces some of the most durable shoes that are knit-based. The LeBron 16 is probably the strongest option but the 18th is also pretty solid. Minus the cheap, thin tongue that could literally tear off if you pull it too strongly lol.

      Will it last longer than a leather shoe or something similar built of raw, more structured materials? No, of course not. But if we’re talking a knit at its core, this is some of the most durable out there. You just have to put it into perspective.

      As for the time period, I’d love to give you an exact number but that’s barely possible. So many variables, so many different players/courts. I have these for a bit now (~5 months) and while I’m not playing solely in these all the time, I am hooping outdoors and the only damage so far is minor cosmetic frays here and there. Mainly around the toebox area.

      These should definitely last a full season no matter where you play but there’s no reason for me to think it’ll go past that as well. But, again, watch out for that tongue!

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