With LeBron 14 Release, Nike Is Bypassing the Shoe Store

That would be a significant bump from James’s recent releases, which have not been embraced by collectors. The LeBron 13, released in September 2015, has been especially disappointing to hard-core sneaker enthusiasts, with some deadstock models — unworn shoes in the original box and packaging — selling for less than the original $200 retail price on secondary markets.

Whether the special release will help James close the gap with Jordan remains to be seen. Air Jordans still dominate the resale market and account for about half of such transactions, according to StockX, thanks to a steady stream of retro releases of models introduced in the 1980s and 1990s. Shortly after the introduction of LeBron 13, Nike signed James to a lifetime deal, hoping to replicate the enduring popularity of Jordan’s sneakers even after his retirement.

When Nike released black and red Air Jordan 1 high-tops in September with the original Nike Air logo on the tongue — unlike the recent models that carry Jordan’s Jumpman logo — the sneakers sold out in a matter of minutes and were almost immediately selling for more than double the $160 retail…

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