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Reigning NBA MVP and NBA champion LeBron James’ new signature sneaker will cost you three bills (with Ben Franklin in the portrait) and change. Yep, the new Nike LeBron X, which King James rocked for the first time during Team USA’s gold medal game and drops this fall, will hit retail for a cool $315. Blame cool new bell & whistles and slumping profits for the hefty price tag. Reports the Wall Street Journal:

Analysts expect that this 10th LeBron shoe will retail for around $315. The first edition, modeled after basketball star LeBron James, the Nike Zoom Generation, retailed for around $110 in 2003; the ninth edition retails for around $250.

The price leaps come after Nike’s gross margins dropped to 42.8% from 44.3% in its most recent quarter ending May 31, the sixth-straight year-to-year quarterly decline. Nike’s margins are now lower than most of its direct competitors, rival Adidas AG ADS.XE 0.00% and apparel maker Under Armour Inc.

The “Nike Plus” or “Nike+” denotes that Bron Bron’s new shoe comes equipped with Nike+ Pressure Sensor the brand has been touting that tracks motion, allowing users to keep tabs on their performance via stats like vertical leap and quickness. A version of the shoe without the new tech will be about $200.

The pockets of sneaker connoisseurs will be taking a hit in general with Nike, as well as other brands, reportedly raising prices 5% to 10% for apparel and kicks across the board.

Nike is “not arbitrarily taking up prices,” said spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi. “We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the product line with new innovation and product attributes.”

Nike, based in Beaverton, Ore., says it is passing along price increases because many of key materials, such as cotton, have risen in price over the past 18 months. Prices did moderate somewhat in the past quarter.

The price of cotton is going up? No wonder. Will you be dropping $315 for a new pair of LeBron Xs? Are sneaker prices out of control? Let us know what you think in the comments and check out more images of the LeBron X in the gallery.

[Spotted at HipHopUpdate]


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Photos: Nike, MarqueeSole

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