Sports
Sports

LeBron X shoe isn't worth it, at any price

OK, so the new LeBron X shoe will not be $315.

The shoe will, Nike says, be available for the low, low price of $180 (like, free, basically).

Granted, that $180 version won't be the "initial introduction" of the LeBron X, the version that will perform vital tasks like tell you—you, who will almost certainly be a future NBA star—how high you've jumped and measure your "explosiveness."

Nike says the price of that explosiveness-detecting shoe has yet to be determined.

But don't worry, it'll be well under what marketers like to call "the upper gullibility limit." They've determined, through decades of experiments and studies, the exact price you or your parents will refuse to pay.

Just under that ceiling is the sweet spot, the price point at which kids might force their impoverished parents to spend money they can't afford on performance footwear or an unemployed dishwasher might persuade himself he needs shoes that cost more than his car payment.

The techniques for teenagers (or people who still live at home) start out a little more elementary, with manipulations like "Everyone has a pair!" and "I'll be so embarrassed if I have to go to school in my old Air Yeezys!"

As you progress in skill, try intermediate-level techniques like emotional blackmail ("I hate you" and "You're the worst parents ever") and implied threats ("I hope nothing happens to my Galaxy foamposites on the way to my job interview today").

For adults with checking accounts, the LeBron X will fall just between "pricey enough to inspire jealousy" and "so expensive people will wonder whether you're the beneficiary of a will that forces you to spend $200 million in two weeks."

Research shows that the same kind of weird rationalization that allows people to buy $250 jeans can work equally well on purchasing $290 basketball shoes.

First of all, they look cool! That's got to be worth $200 alone.

When you factor in the quality of the materials (only the finest Indonesian plastic for you, my friend) and the sophisticated technology (your explosiveness cannot go unrecorded!), the shoes actually start to seem like quite the value.

But once you wait in line for days, grab the first available size 5½ pair and successfully trade with a millionaire kindergartner for a size 11, you're going to realize something. Something marketing, unfortunately, can't prepare you for.

You'll remember you live in Chicago, you're a Bulls fan and that LeBron James totally sucks.

And then you’re going to really regret buying those shoes.

ggarvey@tribune.com

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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