words // Ben Schumacher
images // Tyler Berry
End-to-end speed, power to post up anyone, quickness to blow by anyone, versatility to guard 1-5, and elite dunking ability: these are all things that add up to the once-in-a-generation player that is LeBron James. At 6’9” 240 lbs., LeBron needs a shoe that can highlight his abilities and give him the support, stability, cushioning, and responsiveness that allow a player his size to do the things on the floor that he is capable of. Enter the Nike Zoom Soldier VIII.
Let’s start with the stability, lockdown, and support. When a man LeBron’s size is cutting and changing directions like a point guard, his shoes must be able to hold up to that. The Nike Zoom Soldier VIII features flexible forefoot mesh that gives The King the freedom of motion he needs to be agile, while the Flywire cables tighten around his feet to give his large frame a strong base to plant on. The updated collar strap helps secure his foot through explosive movements and the quick release zipper allows for easy on/off.
Now that you know the shoe will provide the lockdown and support that LeBron needs to cut on a dime, you have to look at what the shoe delivers underneath his foot. If you’re going to be playing the majority of the game in the fashion that LeBron James plays, you’re going to need the best materials under your feet. With its Phylon midsole and Zoom unit in the forefoot and heel, the Soldier VIII gives you the responsiveness you need for that quick second jump around the rim. This means more put-backs on offense and more blocked shots on defense.
Lastly, the lateral quickness and agility of both you and LeBron depend on superior court traction and natural motion capabilities. The Soldier delivers both through its decoupled forefoot and heel and advanced power flex traction pattern. The decoupled forefoot and heel allow these sections of the shoe to move independently, which means more flexibility for you. This increased flexibility creates a greater range of motion for your foot, allowing you to generate more power for your jumps.
As LeBron’s preferred on-court shoe in the 2013-2014 season, the Nike Zoom Soldier contributed to another MVP-caliber season for The King. You can get the Nike Zoom Soldier VIII at Eastbay in 21 colorways this season.