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Nike's $315 LeBron James sneakers: A ridiculous waste of money?
The Wall Street Journal reports that Nike is about to unveil its most expensive pair of shoes ever — drawing protests from a major civil-rights group
 
A close-up of the Nike swoosh on the new LeBron X, a new "footwear system" that uses digital technology to tell wearers how high they've jumped.
A close-up of the Nike swoosh on the new LeBron X, a new "footwear system" that uses digital technology to tell wearers how high they've jumped.
Nike

Nike is hoping that when it says jump, you'll say how high. The company is preparing to debut the 10th edition of its LeBron James line of sneakers at a suggested retail price of $315, making them the costliest pair of shoes the company has ever produced, says Shelly Banjo at The Wall Street Journal. (See an image below.) Of course, these shoes are actually a "footwear system": The LeBron X with Nike+ technology features computer-powered motion sensors that track how high you jump and then store your workout data. (A sensor-less version will sell for $180.) Some reports put the price tag at $290 — not $315 — but that hasn't stopped the head of the National Urban League, a major civil-rights group, from urging Nike to withdraw the shoes. "It's insensitive to market a $300 shoe to kids and teenagers [when] people are going back to school and struggling to buy school supplies," said Marc Morial. "This is not food, this is not rent, it's a single pair of sneakers." Is Nike's price tag outrageous?

Yes. What a waste of money: At $315, the LeBron X is "approximately $275 more than I typically like spending on a pair of sneakers," says Erik Malinowski at Deadspin. There are only three scenarios in which you'd need such pricey sneakers: (1) You compulsively burn money; (2) you need a computer to tell you how high you jump; or (3) you are LeBron James. If you're one of these pitiful and/or lucky few, "hope the LeBron X experience goes well for you." For the rest of us, these shoes are ridiculous.
"Possible reasons why one would spend $315 on the new LeBron James Nikes"

And the sensors provide no added value: "Nike dangles a shiny little ball of technology in front of your eyes," hoping to distract you from the wallet-gouging price, says Gabe Zalvidar at Bleacher Report. But the sensors are totally unnecessary. Do you really need them "to make you the best player in that Sunday pick-up game"? Remember, "some of the best players to ever lace up sneakers played in little more than canvas and suede. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and other legends didn't become great by dropping over $300" on a pair of shoes. What's next, Nike? "A $400 shoe that keeps score"?
"Nike to test market's stupidity, new LeBron James' X sneakers hit $315 price tag"

But people will still buy them: It's no mystery why Nike is charging $315, says Dan Devine at Yahoo Sports: "Because they can." The LeBron X is no different from designer clothes, five-star meals, and other luxury goods that sell to people seeking cachet. "If you are someone who thinks... that having a cool-looking sneaker that can tell you how high you jump and is endorsed by the guy who's won just about everything you can win on a basketball court," sounds neat, then the price tag isn't going to dissuade you.
"A high-tech model of LeBron James' new signature Nikes will cost $315"

 

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