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 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 whom the shoe is best for.
I’ll also compare it to the Witness 3 in case you’re considering an upgrade or can’t decide which one to get.
Model: Nike LeBron Witness 4 (Team)
Retail Price: $100
Cushion: Forefoot Zoom Air & Phylon midsole
Best Offers On: Amazon Finish Line
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I. COMFORT & FIT
Right away, I had a much better fit and comfort experience in the Witness 4 than the Witness 3.
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 went true to size, so regular/narrow AND wide footers can go true to size. The shoe does fit long for some, so trying them on in-store is the safe bet.
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. Comfort-wise, the Witness 4 is also solid. And I could actually enjoy what the shoe has to offer in terms of comfort, as the fit worked.
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!
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.
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.
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.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
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 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!
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.
Why buy on Amazon or Finish Line? Click to find out!
I’ve been ordering a solid 70%-80% of my hoop shoes from Amazon and can confidently say it’s almost always the most trustworthy and convenient option to buy your shoes.
Yes, it’s great to find the shoe you’re looking for on an original retailer such as Nike or Adidas but the reality is a bit different – a lot of times, especially for shoes older than 1-2 years, it’s a very small chance you’ll find the shoe or better yet find it in your size & color.
You’ll mostly find the latest releases directly from the brand’s store but the period is usually pretty short until they’re out of stock.
This is where Amazon comes in.
Amazon is not strictly one retailer giving you the products, it’s a whole chain of thousands of different sellers, all supplying different products, including basketball shoes. You will mostly find more color and size options on Amazon for your desired shoe than on an original retailer or even a general sporting goods store.
Sure, there will be exceptions where Amazon won’t have a particular shoe but that’s on the rare side.
And the best part is the pricing – you can find older shoes and at times new shoes priced under retail, sometimes at crazy low prices, which is something you’ll never see on Nike.com, adidas.com, and other retailers (except during discounts/sales of course).
To sum things up and give you a generalized idea of why Amazon beats other stores more often than not, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the most notable advantages the massive store chain has over its competitors.
- Usually, higher stock, size & color/edition availability compared to other stores
- Blazing fast shipping times (sometimes delivered the SAME DAY if you’re close to the seller’s stock)
- A good chance to find shoes priced under retail
- Extremely convenient return/refund policies
WHY FINISH LINE?
Finish Line is my usual #3 option to get my basketball shoes from if Amazon currently doesn’t have it and the brand’s retail store (Nike.com, adidas.com, etc.) might be out of stock or doesn’t have my size.
I find them, along with a handful of other sports stores, to bring in new major and also lesser-known releases just as quickly as the main brand retailers, most of the time.
Very similar advantages to manufacturer’s stores here: very quick shipping times (and it’s free), convenient return & refund policies and you’ll never find any shoe priced over retail.
For some reason, Finish Line seems to be good at keeping a healthy stock of products, as there’s always a wide variety of sizing for most mainstream models. Something you can’t say about Nikey, Adidas, AJ, or Under Armour stores.
Of course, there will be exceptions and rare shoes that are hard to find globally won’t magically be available in large quantities here either.
Buying from the store will only be applicable for U.S. residents, so not an option for international users (unless you’re using a third-party service to ship internationally from US stores as I do).
Overall, I consider Finish Line to be the top pick out of the US’s popular sports retailers. Or perhaps I’m a little biased but regardless, I think I’ll be sticking to it for quite some time.
- All shoes priced at retail
- Good stock most of the time
- Fast & free shipping for the U.S
- Convenient refund & return policies
- You can find quite detailed and relevant reviews left by buyers
Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!
That’s it for the review! As always, I have high hopes you were properly informed and can now make a sound decision on the shoe!
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!
The new Witness 5 is out. Check it out to see how it stacks up against the Witness 4!
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?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!
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