Why These New LeBron James Sneakers Are Bigger Than Just Basketball

The Laker-to-be’s newest signature shoe makes a statement

Basketball star LeBron James knows the size of the audience that watches his every step, and, for his latest sneaker with Nike, he’s using that platform to highlight the work of women. The new shoe, known as the Nike LeBron 16 XVI HFR is the first sneaker of its kind to ever be created by an entirely female design team.

nike lebron 16

Photograph courtesy of Nike

“I believe that African-American women are some of the strongest people on earth,” James told Vogue“I grew up around incredibly strong women and continue to be inspired by the female strength I see around me. […] I thought it was important to recognize that strength through this shoe.”

For the sneakers, Nike’s global basketball footwear designer Meline Khachatourian teamed up with Kimberly Goldson, Fe Noel, and Undra Duncan from Harlem’s Fashion Row, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform to multicultural designers.

nike lebron 16

Photograph courtesy of Nike

The design is a luxe, high-fashion take on an athletic shoe, with a leather ankle strap that can, if desired, be removed and worn as a bracelet or choker. An embossed lion wraps around the heel caps, and “strength, courage, loyalty, dignity” is written on the inside sole.

The Nike LeBron 16 XVI HFR ($250) will be available in women’s sizes–another first–starting on September 7 from the Nike website and select retailers.

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