CLEVELAND - Love him or hate him, sportswear-maker Nike is betting people will put their money on Miami Heat player LeBron James.
Industry reports show Nike plans to raise the price of its sneakers, and the new James-inspired shoe is set to be the priciest yet. It's expected to sell for $315.
People got their first glimpse of the LeBron X at the 2012 Olympic basketball game, when the former Cleveland Cavalier wore them as he helped the U.S. win gold against Spain.
The shoe features its own electronics, including Nike+ motion sensors, so users can track their vertical leaps. It has the Hyperfuse construction of the LeBron 9 shoes. And, if the pictures are any indication, it features the Nike swoosh logo in metallic gold and its sole seems to light up.
In contrast, the LeBron 9 sold for $170 last October. Even the special edition LeBron 9 PS Elite's released for the start of the NBA playoffs was $250.
The high price of the LeBron shoe could be a sign of things to come for back to school shoppers this fall.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike plans to raise the price of its shoes and clothing by 5 to 10 percent. These price hikes are reportedly due to the rising cost of labor, materials and shipping.
The new LeBron shoe hits the market this fall, and the timing is deliberate. Nike wants to see how well the LeBron X sells, so it can gauge how people will respond to higher prices.
While those back to school shoppers could be in for sticker shock, Nike raising prices may be quite a gamble. The sportswear-maker's sales have slipped for six straight sales quarters.
But Nike must be confident people will be willing to shell out the big bucks for the new shoe. It sent out a memo to retailers, trying to contain unruly crowds by putting the kibosh on midnight sales, even scrapping pre-sales or reservations for the LeBron X.