Right after testing the Witness 3, I hopped into the 4th model for a similar period of time, so today I’m bringing you my Nike LeBron Witness 4 review.
For those who are looking for a true budget option that would perform well and last a long time – LeBron’s budget Witness line is there for you, and this one, in particular, looks really promising. The Witness 3 wasn’t that awesome, to be honest, but it was still a good performer, especially for $90.
But I’m here to find out if the 4th model made improvements and if the +$10 increase is worth it. After ~2 months of playing, I’ll be covering the shoe’s comfort & fit aspects, on-court performance, value for the price, and evaluating who the shoe is best for.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- Which Witness is Your Favorite?
- LeBron Witness 4 Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
click to inspect the full-sized sheet
GET THE LEBRON WITNESS 4 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
A quick take on the LeBron Witness 4 review: King James’s shoe selection has never been lackluster. The Witness 4 sits somewhere between the cheapest shoes in the market and the expensive flagships.
It’s a solid all-around sneaker for most guards, wings or even nimble forwards.
These got solid traction (but you might need to get used to the outsole articulation), decent cushion, essential support features and a comfy & ultra lightweight upper.
However, from 2020 and beyond, there’s barely any reason to get those since the never Witness 5 simply ticks all the boxes the 4th sneaker ticked, and then adds a few small tweaks on top of the same price tag.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
How’s the sizing? Should you adjust from your usual choice? What about comfort & other fit nuances?
Just like the previous Witness model, I went true to size. Good news!
Regular/narrow AND wide footers can go true to size. The shoe does fit long for some, so trying them on in-store is still the safest bet. Side note: if you’re reading this in 2022 and later, sports outlets might be the only places where you could still find these on the shelves.
It didn’t feel long for me personally though – granted, there’s a tad bit of dead space at the front but I kinda prefer that over an extremely snug fit.
So if you tend to lace ’em up tightly and prefer a very condensed fit, going down half a size is an option and I’ve seen users report going that route with success.
For wide footers, I don’t recommend anything other than your regular size. Since there’s already a bit of dead space for me, going up 1/2 will probably end up being too much, while going down will feel closer to the extremely tight Witness 3’s.
So, these already form a much better impression simply because the fit is undoubtedly the foundation of a quality basketball sneaker.
Right away, I had a much better experience in the Witness 4 than the Witness 3 comfort-wise.
While the frame of the shoe is still narrow and very similar to the Witness 3, we got a different upper and this time it’s much more forgiving.
My wide feet just weren’t compatible with how the Witness 3 is built. In the 4th shoe, I broke them in rather quickly and I can say the shoe is very acceptable for us brick-footers.
Once I played with the laces a bit and the upper stretched out a bit, this isn’t bad at all now.
I could actually enjoy what the shoe has to offer in terms of comfort, as the fit worked for me.
Unlike the Witness 3, which was just way too tight and uncomfortable, at times even painful, so there’s not much I could’ve talked about comfort there.
Foot containment is also there – unlike the Witness 3 which I felt wasn’t secure enough for heavy & explosive players. I mean Bron himself played in these, so I suppose they have to get a pass.
Sure, this is still a $100 shoe so there are much better, more premium-like experiences out there. But these still worked and didn’t bother me, which is the main thing all I ever really need from a performance basketball shoe. No distractions, no extra stuff to think about other than basketball.
They’re basic, light, play fast, and cause no distractions. Solid containment, never felt insecure while playing. Solid job!
How’s the grip on different surfaces? Is floor debris a factor? How long will these outsoles last?
Remember the LeBron 17? This is pretty much the same traction pattern and it sure does play like it.
So the grip and stopping power are pretty good. No crazy bite there, no loud squeaks but still very playable. It didn’t bother me, nor did I slip out often due to the outsole. It was fine – especially considering you’re getting these for $100 when the LeBron 17’s are going for $175 and have pretty much the same outsole slapped on.
Dust is also a bit more of an issue than on, say, a trusty herringbone pattern you’d see on a Kyrie 5. It was never to a point where the shoe started sliding all over the place due to not wiping the outsole for a long period of time though.
Wiping will still be needed more often than not, mostly on dirtier/outdoor courts if you want to keep the bite at 100% at all times.
So, along with the overall traction performance being similar to the LeBron 17’s, there are also two other main little gripes that also carried over from these to the 17’s.
One is the questionable rubber compound that’s used pretty inconsistently throughout different colorways (some having better bite than others & some having tackier rubber than others).
Two is the separation between the two Zoom units on the outsole.
So in terms of rubber for the blue colorway I have, traction was pretty good as I’ve mentioned but the rubber used doesn’t look very durable. Even though the grooves are deep, the rubber itself is soft and feels like it would burn off rather quickly on an outdoor surface.
Your pair that comes in a different colorway might have stronger rubber, who knows. This is one of those cases where consumers can end up confused, or end up not buying the brand’s product at all.
I’m not sure why this keeps happening throughout the years but something you might wanna look into – perhaps checking out user reviews under the Nikey retailer site or Amazon would help dig something out.
Touching onto that separation between the Zoom units on the outsole, I still feel the same issue happening as it did with the LeBron 17.
I don’t know man, it just feels kind of unnatural to plant the forefoot at times, as the separation is felt more than it should I feel like, so you end up losing traction sometimes.
Perhaps the separation isn’t the main culprit here – I’m not really sure but what I can say is I would’ve preferred a completely flat pattern. Whether that would’ve helped the traction immensely or not, I don’t know, but hey, it is what it is.
Are the impact protection & foam rebounding properties optimal? What about ride height, stability, and step comfort?
Two Zoom Air units in the forefoot + a high-quality Phylon midsole? Sign me up. And while it not look like much on paper, this once again feels very LeBron 17-like. And that’s totally a good thing.
There are no Zoom units in the heel and no Max Air which the 17’s utilized in a combo but the cushion setup on the Witness 4 still feels really REALLY good.
A soft, high-quality Phylon midsole does wonders for the overall ride and here, it really shows how much of a difference the foam makes. It’s not just about Zoom.
So, to best describe the ride of the shoe, take the LeBron 17’s extremely bouncy, plushy high off the ground cushion and make it a bit quicker, thinner, and more stable. But just a bit.
It’s still a fun setup and you can definitely feel it, even while walking/jogging. The heel provides solid impact protection and the forefoot packs some spring back, which feels awesome.
This won’t be a court-feel orientated setup but the overall ride still feels a bit faster and more responsive than on a LeBron 17, and even the 16.
So for those pure low-profile guards who need maximum response and court feel, you might wanna step back to the Witness 3. For just about any other player who enjoys a nice cushion setup – this is a fantastic choice, and it’s only $100. A rare treat from Nikey these days.
How strong is the security overall and are there any trade-offs? What about lateral stability and foot containment?
The way the shoe is built is still very minimal, much like the last Witness. What’s better about this one is how my foot was contained.
I was never feeling unstable, nor my foot ever wanted to slide out of the footbed. Even though the upper is super minimal and there are still not a lot of support features in place, the Witness 4 still felt safer than its predecessor for me.
So the addition of an external TPU heel counter & the midsole coming up slightly higher on the upper makes a difference as well but the overall feel felt more secure which made the most difference for me.
And, I heard people saw LeBron himself play in these, so if a tank that he is can do it, I think we can do it too.
There are of course more tank-like options out there. The Dame 5, Nikey Zoom Rize. For frontcourt players or someone who’s very explosive and athletic, you can find stronger options if you’re unsure of how these would hold you.
Having said that, I consider myself an explosive player who plays with force most of the time. And even though I’m not that heavy, I still need my shoe to support me properly. And I feel like the Witness 4 did it for me.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the upper materials and how do they feel on-foot? Will the build last you a while?
The LeBron Witness 4 utilizes a thin mesh material that’s got two Fuse overlays on top. One on the toebox and one throughout the midfoot portion laterally. The tongue is from the same mesh material and the outsole is your standard rubber.
The shoe also takes advantage of a 3/4 internal bootie construction. The tongue will be sewed right with a portion of the upper, almost acting as a single piece. These can be tough to put on for some large footers like myself but this method does provide very secure feel while inside the sneaker.
PERFORMANCE & RELIABILITY
If you felt like the upper on the 3rd Witness was minimal – here comes the Witness 4. Instead of a knit, it’s now extremely thin mesh with Fuse overlays in the toebox & lateral midfoot areas.
I’m not even joking – I haven’t seen a thinner material used on a basketball shoe for a long time now. This stuff feels like soft paper. While it isn’t as weak as paper, this is where the budget $100 price tag shows the most.
I mean, two small Fuse overlays on top of a laughably thin mesh just don’t make up for a durable package.
You can tell me whatever you want about mesh, this just won’t cut it if you’re looking to bang these outdoors constantly for 6+ months. Perhaps I’m wrong though? If any of you guys got a pair for longer than that, share it in the comments!
Granted, I do only have these for about 2 months and I don’t see any major damage on the upper. I’m just not sure about how long it will stay that way, especially when I’ve been playing outdoors a lot.
As far as outsole durability, this is where the poor rubber compound shows. The pattern is visibly thinner and I’m not at 100% traction on most surfaces anymore. It’s still not terrible but I’d imagine what will happen down the line.
Having said all that, the upper feels fine from a performance standpoint. Take all the durability and value talk away, and this is a solid upper. It’s extremely light, it feels minimal, fast, ventilation is there and they barely take any time to break in.
But if you’re someone who’s considering both performance and durability in the long run, the shoe will not make lists of the most durable shoes for sure. For a hundred bucks though – I can’t deny it’s not a bad deal. There are much worse offers out there for more, and remember these have a $140+ cushion setup!
Retrospective of the LeBron Witness 4 Review: are these worth the $$$? How’s the current competition?
So the Nikey LeBron Witness 4 is a damn solid offer. It’s not the best shoe in the world as it does have slight flaws. But for $100, you can’t really expect much more than what we got.
They fit and feel fine, even for wide footers this time. The cushion setup is fantastic and doesn’t feel in the $100 budget tier, support was enough for me and would likely be enough for most.
Traction could be more durable and the upper definitely shows its price tag but performance-wise, they’re very solid.
WITNESS 3, 4, OR 5?
Now that I’ve played in and reviewed all three of the most recent Witness models, I can compare them and see which one is the best. If there is such a thing.
Honestly, I think there’s no reason to get anything but the Witness 5 today. They’re barely different from the 4 and also come with a few small improvements that I found welcome.
They’re not game-changers by any means and you won’t exactly be losing the lottery by getting the Witness 4 but the latest model is obviously more widely available, so you’ll likely run into those easier than the 4 or the 3.
GRAB THE LEBRON WITNESS 4 🛒
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IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not entirely sold on the Witness 4? I’ve got you covered with a few options that might make more sense right now
NIKE LEBRON WITNESS 5, $100FULL REVIEW 🛒 AMAZON
As I’ve mentioned above, there’s hardly any reason for you to get out your way and specifically seek out the Witness 4 over the 5.
The 5th shoe is easier to get, it’s priced the same, it’s got a few tweaks and the outsoles used should hold a bit longer. I’ve also tested the 5th model much more extensively outdoors, so you can check out how those stood the test of time. And concrete.
Unless you’re dying to grab a pair of 4’s on GOAT or StockX (or perhaps you want the more durable EP version), just get yourself the Witness 5.
NIKE KD TREY 5 IX, $90FULL REVIEW 🛒 NIKE
For the extreme budget buyers, here’s another option that will save you another 10-20 bucks (depending on where you buy them) and offer similar performance and feel.
Kevin Durant’s 9th model in his secondary budget shoe line, the KD Trey 5 IX, actually caught me off guard and surprised me with how solidly they served me on the court.
Just as the Witness 4/5, the KD Trey 5 IX should keep you going for a few seasons (even outdoors, likely) and provide a decent Renew cushion setup, a basic build but one that works, and decent versatility that should accompany most guards or wings.
X. WHICH WITNESS IS YOUR FAVORITE?
That’s it for the review LeBron Witness 4 review! As always, I have high hopes you were properly informed and can now make a sound decision on your purchase!
Even though the Witness 4 is a solid shoe, I actually made a list of the best budget basketball shoes under $100. Those are the true kings in providing the most bang for your buck, check them out!
Also, be aware of LeBron’s other signature shoe lines if you’re not already. He’s got a lot of stuff to choose from such as his Soldier line or the main flagship LeBron line. I’ve actually made a comprehensive LeBron shoe guide that you can find right here.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Witness 4 though! Do you like it? Will you be getting it? Perhaps you’ve got a question? Which Witness shoe has proven to be the longest in your bag?
Drop a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
XI. LEBRON WITNESS 4 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Nike LeBron Witness 4$100
Fit & Comfort8.0/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- True to size is recommended for most & including wide footers
- Fits slightly long: 1/2 size down is an option for a snug fit
- Inconsistent outsole: certain pairs have tackier rubber than others
- A solid all-around shoe for most players
- Most guards
- All positions
- Explosive/athletic players