Happy Christmas, guys! Hope Y’all having a good time with your family.
It’s a latecomer… Straps & checks – we’re here for the Nike LeBron Soldier 12 review.
Let’s get this poppin’!
WEIGHT: 411 g. / 14.49 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIR
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $130 – 140
BD RATING: 8.4/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE [ 40% OFF!]
So Nike literally went off with the number of upper options the Soldier 12 goes in. The best part is that you can’t go wrong with either of them.
While the main BattleKnit-ish body construction is set as default no matter the colorway, the toe cap, on the other hand, is what changes. You can either go with a canvas material, suede leather, which this colorway has, patent leather, shiny leather (like on the AJ 11), or with synthetic leather if customizing your pair via NikeiD.
Again, you’re pretty much getting the same upper set-up giving its performance. Though, I would rather recommend you picking up the canvas option since the toe cap area gets a tad bit more pliable & doesn’t collect wear signs that much. Whereas with those leather options, the shoe does look more premium and stuff like that, but once you start putting on hours, it pretty much becomes like a museum for scratches & other wear signs.
Talking about that circular-knit sock, this stuff heavily reminds me of BattleKnit from the LeBron 15, not only because of the way it’s designed but also because of the whole operating principle as well. Straight out of the box sock-like fit, tons of stretch for easy excess & solid support features, obviously, in help with the straps, is exactly what you’re receiving from it.
So the LeBron Soldier 12 houses a regular bottom loaded forefoot & heel Zoom Air set-up within the Phylon carrier. Which means that it’s possible for Nike to put in two Zoom Air units and still be able to fit in a budget of $130-140. For some odd reason, the Kyrie 5s only received one. What’s up with that Nike?
Anyways, while the main LeBron’s signature line is strictly designed for powerhouse players like himself, particularly the recent models (15 and 16) when looking at the cushion department. The Soldier line, on the other hand, gears towards players who play one through 5 positions, which means them all.
That being said, the cushion did play something like the AJ 33 or 32 – the heel section packs enough impact protection & compression for our big men out there. Meanwhile, the forefoot does offer some pep in your step without taking away much court feel.
No herringbone – no problem. The bottoms of the LS 12 are rocking, how I call it, the maze traction pattern. Its grooves are widely spaced & have channels on both sides for dust to escape, which lets the shoe bite the floor the way it should even when dust is present.
So as you may already guess, traction did perform super nice, in fact, close to “Hall of Fame” type of nice. Obviously, I didn’t have any issues with them struggling to grip or something of that nature. Just a few wipes throughout the whole ball session and you’re golden.
Unfortunately, the rubber is too pliable for outdoor use, unless, you’re planning to use them as summer beaters.
Hands down, one of the best fitting shoes I’ve tested this year. Yep, you heard it here first.
It’s not because they do feature that stretchable mesh sock. It’s not because they do house the strap system, instead of a regular lacing system. It’s the combination of them both working together to perfection – no dead space on top of your foot or sides, the whole upper moves & stretches simultaneously as your foot moves. On top of that, the strap system offers that X type of lockdown which just simply “Hulk” hugs your foot & leaves no space for instability leaks.
Now – if you’re that type of dude who really does care about a shoe going snug around an ankle – these are no-go for you. With the LS 12, the ankle area is rather roomy so your ankle sits loose, which is a good thing for shifty players or those who do wear an ankle brace.
When it comes to sizing, they do go true to size for narrow/regular footers. Meanwhile, our wide footers out there should try them on, but there’s a good chance you can get away by going true to size as well.
The only issue I had was the inner strap would come undone for me more than a few times per session. I’m a pretty picky person, so it had me going crazy a few days, but as it was a small issue, I got used to this pretty fast. There’s actually a loop for that strap to go through, unfortunately, it couldn’t remove the issue completely.
If only judging the higher portion of the shoe – these would be among the greats of all time. But once you add up that lower portion to its total – the rating drops to SOLID. Hey, they still beat the majority of performers released this year, so it’s all good.
When talking about lateral coverage – these bad boys are like Thanos – as long as those straps are in charge, there’s nothing you need to be afraid of. Heel slippage? They aren’t familiar with that either.
Again, I wished the bottoms were a tad bit wider. You do have an outrigger in place which compensates the loss for the most part, so it was enough for me. Though, when going for some extra sauce, you know what I mean, you do feel a one tiny hair way from busting your ankle. Again, it does hold up, you just mentally feel that way, at least I was.
So the Soldier line made a huge step forward from last year by putting out an all-around more superior follow-up model. Apart from the inner strap going undone a couple of times, well, maybe more than a couple, I actually couldn’t find any major problems. These guys do feel & play like a completely polished product. Not surprised why LeBron has been switching from his main signatures to the Soldier line when balling out in the playoffs.
Bottom line – if you’re willing to have stable/versatile performance day in & day out, rather than just in playoffs, this is IT. All-around performance – is what the LeBron Soldier 12 represents.