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Nike LeBron Soldier XI Review [2018] the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

The Magic Behind Nike LeBron Soldier XI Review

Nike LeBron Soldier XI reviewGetting the right shoe for playing basket ball is more than important, it is crucial.

In this comprehensive review we carefully examine the Nike LeBron Soldier XI and help you make an informed buying decision.

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Cushion

Soldier 11 has the same cushion setup as Soldier 10 but this time the Zoom units are fitted in a much better way compared to the previous units.

The Phylon is fairly unforgiving and lightweight, as in the Soldier 10. The Zoom units extrude from the outsole and this makes them feel livelier underfoot.

With this model you will feel the units compress but you won’t have a bouncy sensation.

On image shown above, (from FastPass) you can see space between the zoom bags and the foam carrier. This allows them to easily compress, adding more movement.

When it comes to size, the Zoom Air units are pretty big (8mm thick forefoot, 14mm heel); this is guaranteed protection for your feet. This setup is versatile enough for small-bodied players as well as full-bodied players.

For me, as a smaller guy, the cushion on Soldier 11 is more stable and comfortable as compared to the Soldier 10 cushion.

Materials

Nike Nike LeBron Soldier XI has two different versions. The version retailing at $130 is not only awesome but it has a piece of mesh built with a nylon mudguard. On the premium version, the ballistic nylon is replaced by a nubuck mudguard. This has the same feel as the other version, but has a little more weight.

The nubucks and leather give this shoe a new polished look with a vintage feel. This premium version retails at just $140. You can choose to add $10 and buy the premium version or just patiently wait for its prices to fall.

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Both models are durable, easy to clean, and comfortable. The only difference between the two is weight; nylon is lighter. I still recommend these shoes because the weight difference is that much. 

Fit

This version of LeBron fits perfectly. It is a one piece build. These shoes are much easier to put on as compared to Soldier 10. They also fit more securely.

With this model, the three large straps have been replaced with four smaller straps that create two sections of the shoe; the upper part and the lower part. This enables you to tighten whichever section you want without affecting the other one.

On my part, these shoes have left a bit of volume on the toe and so I’ve frequently had to tighten them up in that section. If you have wide feet, it is advisable to try on these shoes before making a purchase.

Are the lockdowns on Soldier 11 shoes better that Soldier 10? Sure, they are. I have never had issues with the Soldier 11’s upper containment. But as we’ve discussed above, each section on the upper work really well because of the four straps. This is a great addition on the Soldier XI.

Support

Another area that the manufacturer has improved and modified is the support. Soldier 11 is much wider than previous models; something that was needed because the Zoom units felt a bit wobbly for first-time users. 

What I found interesting was the fact that the shoe has midfoot and forefoot outriggers. The outsole is shaped like an actual foot, and has Zoom on them. This outrigger helps me remain stable while moving around.

Soldier 11’s midsole sculpt is fitter better than on previous versions. The forefoot and heel areas swathe comfortably on the foot ensuring in remains on the footbed; this reduces the risk of rolling over on the footbed.

On the midfoot, a torsional Vsplate is emended on the midsole and rubber on the heel that adds support to the foot. Can you use this shoe comfortably without using laces? Yes, it does for me. Bigger shoe sizes are ideal for heavier players, but LeBron is big guy and the shoes fit him nicely. 

A Minor improvement

Nike has been adding an extra strap on each model. So, does this mean that the next model will have 6 straps? Most probably not. 

The new strap does a great job holding the ankle area. This is a must have model for players who have an affinity for manly lockdown.

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I really like this Soldier’s strap system. Apart from that, there’s an external and internal heel counter that locks in your heel and has a supportive upper with nice premium vibe to it. It also has two outriggers and Phylon extensions on each side that protect your foot from moving on the foot bed. 

Traction

Traction is one of the things you should get right when you pick a shoe. The manufacturer tried their best on the LeBron’s Soldier 11 traction but there is room for improvement. There is an issue on the balls of its foot. Whenever I would step on that section and change direction or curl around the screen, I’d slip. This would cause delay in movement, which in turn made me paranoid and for this reason, I didn’t want to try the same move again.

I have seen LeBron slip just like I did. Surprisingly enough, when it comes to translucent outsole the Soldier 11 did well. The outsole spot is the only thing that isn’t great about this shoe, but solid rubber could solve this problem.

However, the shoe still manages to offer solid traction when used on clean courts – no slippage issues, great grip on the floor and awesome motion capability. To reduce slippage, keep the shoes clean.

Narrower construction

This Nike model’s shilluate is similar to the one on Soldier X. These shoes feel light on the feet; its lightness is equals to that of a sneaker.

Inside the shoe there is padding around the heel, thick insole and a premium insole. There is improvement on the upper, although the foam and textile mesh combo did better on the previous Nike model.

For people with wide feet, I would recommend they pick what fits them but as for people with narrow feet, I would recommend they go a half size down.

Hexogens are out.

With this model, Nike has chosen not to add hexogen units to this Soldier model. I prefer this model over the previous model because it’s much more comfortable, softer and more responsive.

If you didn’t have a positive experience with Soldier’s 10 Zoom units, don’t worry. You will not face the same problem with Soldier XIs. If you are a lighter or a smaller player you will also enjoy this model like heavy players do. Maybe not at the same level, but you will enjoy them. You can now see it’s a flexible shoe, don’t you?

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If you’re expecting to get a plush or super bouncy ride, I have a bit of not so good news. Well, Phylon isn’t soft, so you won’t get a bounce like if you were using Crazy Explosives from Adidas. However, the responsiveness is the sellout point on this shoe.

This is why this Soldier model is a solid choice for any player. I didn’t feel high off the ground. This is a great reason for guards to try this model.

Premium, soft & lightweight

This colorway features very nice and soft foot Mesh that has Nubuck overlays on its sides, toe area and the heel area.

The upper feels super nice and doesn’t compare to the Soldiers X’s upper. The soft mesh guarantees players smooth transition while moving. It has some ventilation holes to give a decent amount of breathability.

The nubuck is super awesome. That is why I greatly recommend you choose the colorway over the model with a budget upper; instead of nubuck, pick ballistic nylon. Soldier’s 11 nubuck is absolutely perfect.

Pros of Nike Nike LeBron Soldier XI:

• Traction

• Decent Zoom units

• Improved fit

• Good stability

• Great containment 

Cons of Nike Nike LeBron Soldier XI

• The heel is wobbly and narrow due to an extruding Zoom

• Without readjustments, the ankle fit gets sloppy.

Overall

Compared to Soldier 10, Nike Nike LeBron Soldier XI is way better. While the cushion is better than the one on the previous model, I think the design team should take more on this model and come up with better traction. This shoe is ideal for different positions on the floor.

I marvel that designers have been able to create shoes that can support LeBron and at the same time weigh so little; 13 ounces. These shoes are lighter than other guard shoes and lighter than Soldier 10. The support and fit have also been improved.

If the traction issue is improved with rubber, players will consider this as a must have pair when they go into the court. A herringbone can easily solve this problem.

The price tag should not deter any serious player from getting a pair. The strong support is ideal for even big dudes. This shoe guarantees players of responsiveness and solid traction.

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Consider grabbing the Nike Soldier 11 and use it in your upcoming rec league or season. I hope you will find this guide helpful when you go out to select your next Soldier shoes. Keep tuning in for access to more resources.

Nike LeBron Soldier XI Review and Insights

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