Hurray, no more drop in insoles!! I know I’m late but prices for the XII are falling quickly so now is as good a time as ever for a review.

Here is how the Lebron compared to other top tier shoes

King of the Court Shootout

If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know I’m not a fan of drop in insoles so I was pleased when I saw that Nike did away with it after the XI. I know Lebron said he had some toe issues but I’m also guessing he felt that pinch between the insole and upper whenever he’d cut. Keep in mind the XI was the first, only, and hopefully last  Lebron that featured a drop in insole. I will note that the XII much better on court than the XI.

PROS: Heel cushioning, support, stability

CONS: Dead feeling forefoot cushioning, hard to lace tightly, hard to get ankle posite to lace correctly and stay there. Needs break in period to feel any good. Feels too “shoe like”

BEST FOR: Players looking for the latest and greatest, players looking for a stable supportive shoe. Heel Zoom


This pattern works decently as long as you wipe and performs much better than the XI, which isn’t saying much I guess.I don’t know why but Lebron sig shoes just don’t place an emphasis on traction. From the Zoom Generation to the XII I’ve never found traction to be a strong point of the shoes.  Actually they have all been subpar in my book except for the V and X. All Lebrons work well on clean pristine courts but what shoe doesn’t ? Maybe LBJ likes a little give so he can stop his huge frame slowly, I’m not sure…if traction is your main priority, look at a different shoe, many better options exist.  Among the last three Lebrons from best to worst : X, XII, XI 


The Lebron XII features segmented Zoom Pods called Hex Zoom in the forefoot and Zoom in the heel. I could not tell any difference in between the pods and I could barely tell they were there. Zero bounce or responsiveness which disappointed me because they look great. Granted, i couldn’t feel the difference in pressure in the AJ XX,XX1, or XX2 so maybe my feet are just insensitive to the differences.. Just kidding it’s just Nike marketing at its best.  It does work I guess but I like a shoe to be fun as well as protective. The Hex Zoom does allow the forefoot to flex more naturally which is a plus but it isn’t game changing.

Above: Hex Zoom protrudes from sole slightly

  The heel Zoom provides a good amount of feedback, bounce and protection but it took some break in to make it feel right to me. I went back and wore my 2k4 and 2k5 and the Lebron XII felt hard compared to those set ups.  It’s probably bc the Zoom is bottom loaded in the Lebron XII rather than top loaded like in the 2k4 and 2k5

Above: heel Zoom protrudes a lot ala Melo M9 and AJ XX8

The overall ride of the XII is much firmer and lower feeling than the XI and X. Personally I loved the Xs cushioning but found it unstable in the heel but boy was it a fun bouncy set up. The XI was too squishy and muted for me.


Heel lockdown and side to side fit is good if you can get the damn laces pulled through properly.  This happened my FIRST time lacing my pair 

Luckily I bought two pair and sent back this one. 

**side note**

When lacing the Lebron XII you need to pull each row separately to tighten properly. You cannot pull one row to try to tighten two or three rows or you risk doing what I did. Also be sure to pull on direction of the lace holes or you once again risk doing what I did.

The toughest part to lace is the Posite ankle collar because the material is stiff and keeps wanting to spring back to an open position around the ankle.  I crossed the laces tighter than normal, then held it with my finger, then tied the laces. I’m sure glad I don’t have to teach my kids how to tie laces with these.

Okay on with the fit. I went with my normal size 11 and they fit well.  Once laced up properly I felt no heel slip or side to side movement. The Megafuse wraps nicely around the foot.  I had a little deadspace in the toe box but nothing bothersome.  During play the laces would get undone due to the Hyperposite ankle collar moving around with my ankle so be wary when lacing them up and double knot them. All three of last three Lebrons have fit great for me with no heel slip. The X did slide around side to side a bit but that was more design than the actual fit.


The Hyperposite material does a nice job supporting the foot and ankle but it really doesn’t need to be there at all because the shoe itself is very stable. I actually feel like it is a hindrance and takes away from the natural feeling the shoe could have had. This ankle collar dug into my left ankle and was very painful the first few games. 

Note the quality btw. A $200 shoe should be flawless and not sloppy like this . It looks like i superglued this myself. Both pairs I had looked like this.

Hyperposite goes up and around both sides of the ankle just like the Rose 5.

Rose 5 Lebron XII side to side

The difference between how Nike and Adidas implemented their ankle support is that the Rose 5 doesn’t feel like it is there. Adidas uses a dense foam to feel more natural while  Hyperposite feels like a pliable plastic. 

The forefoot features three outriggers and the heel passed my heel test. Almost all Lebrons have a very flat outsole which I like. Too bad the X had such instability problems in the heel, I loved the rest of the shoe. Couple the protective features of the shoe with a low profile cushioning set up and you’ll be hard pressed to hurt yourself in these.

The X, despite the higher cut, was the most unstable due to full length Zoom, higher ride height and least protective due to lack of a firmer structure lkke Hyperposite. Both the XI and XII have a similar lower profile feel and are both very stable. 


I really thought they with that huge lateral Hyperposite wing and Megafuse that the containment would be unreal but in reality it was just good. The wing does help keep the foot contained but it also flexes on hard stops. Plus, the wing is placed more towards the midfoot and rear rather than at the mid and forefoot which is where you need the majority of then containment since you stop and push with forefoot not midfoot. Flywire as always added a little color enhancement.


The Lebron XII looks great on paper but one thing I’ve learned is that the latest and greatest technology doesn’t always make the best performing shoes.  The Hyperposite does its job well but feels like overkill since the shoe is already very stable. Hex Zoom didn’t feel that great but it did provide some nice flexibility in the forefoot.  I never really felt like the Lebron XII was a true extension of my foot and that’s what bothered me the most.  It’s funny to me how a shoe can do everything well but just doesn’t meld together into a perfect shoe. I really tried hard to like these because I love how it looks but I still like my Zoom Soldier VI more than these despite not having the newest technology. Oh well, onto the Lebron XIII.  

5 Comment on “Nike Lebron XII 12 Performance Review

  1. Pingback: Nike Lebron XII 12 Elite Performance Review and Comparison  |

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