Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) has announced its most expensive sneaker yet, the LeBron X, a virtual smart shoe that retails for a cool $315 per pair.
These aren't the canvas Chuck Taylors your father used to wear for neighborhood hoops. The LeBron X, named after the Miami Heat forward, MVP and 10th-highest paid player in the NBA, LeBron James, is expected to include (just in time for the holidays!) motion sensors that can tell how high wearers jump -- part of a growing trend of incorporating technological gimmicks into footwear to attract gadget-happy consumers.
Some of the pricier athletic footwear include Bluetooth connections that allow shoes to communicate exercise metrics to smartphones.
The actual price for the LeBron X will likely be far higher than $315. The Beaverton, Ore.-based company's most popular lines of basketball kicks are known to attract legions of loyal consumers who line up early for the next must-have the same way tech geeks camp out in front of stores for Apple's latest thingamajig. In fact, some of the most popular past models of basketball sneakers are listing on Amazon.com as high as $750 -- well into the price territory of women's high-fashion shoes.
As footwear has become high tech, prices have followed. According to market research firm NPD Group Inc., basketball shoes are on average 9.4 percent more expensive now than last year, according to Tuesday's edition of the Wall Street Journal. Other types of athletic shoes are also considerably higher than the 12-month inflation figure for all apparel at 3.9 percent as of June.