My poor 2005 Nike Zoom Trainer I. But look how big the Zoom in the heel is. Cut off about 1/3 to 1/2 of that and that’s what you get nowadays.  
I’m not sure when Nike decided to give up its major competitive advantage but I’m guessing it was around 2011 or 2012 when an executive said “Let’s use Lunarlon instead of Zoom Air to boost profits”
And at that point Nike let every other company back into the game by letting them create foams that outperformed Lunarlon. (I expect an updated Lunarlon soon)

As a Nike consumer for thirty plus years, I’ve watched it transform into the behemoth it is today so I know what I’m looking for when it says Zoom Air. It really is like finding a needle in haystack nowadays.

Here is a list of the shoes I’ve tried in the past 16 years that make the cut. I tried to list them from newest to oldest for ease of accessibility but they aren’t all in order. I bolded the ones I thought stood out.

Nike Basketball

Hyperrev 2016: forefoot and heel, almost unlocked in my opinion 

Hyperrev 2015: forefoot and heel. Not as robust as the HR16 but good nonetheless 

Hyperrev 2014: Full length Zoom. Feels great underfoot. Too bad shoe is a unsupportive sock

Lebron Soldier IX: forefoot and heel, a little muted but it can be felt. Much better than previous two Soldiers

Lebron Soldier VI: forefoot and heel, best Zoom in the Soldier Line, huge forefoot Zoom

Lebron XIII: Hex Zoom in forefoot can be felt and heel Zoom is well done

Lebron XI: Lunarlon with full length Zoom drop in. Not the best feeling Zoom. Muted feel due to Lunarlon

Lebron X: Full length 360 Zoom. Feels awesome but stability issues

Lebron IX: 180 Max and forefoot Zoom. Doesn’t feel great but it’s there. 180 max provides nice impact protection and stability

Lebron VI: full length and double stacked heel. Comfy shoe not a great performer for me though. 

Lebron V:full length and double stacked heel. One of the best out of the Lebron line that nobody bought. Nice balance of cushion and stability. Pity for those who didn’t try

Lebron IV: full length zoom drop in insole. Not my fav shoe but feels great underfoot 

Lebron II, III: caged forefoot and heel: perfect blend of stability and big Zoom 

Air Zoom Generation: forefoot and Max heel: a little muted but feels great. 

Lebron VII PS: forefoot and heel. Cushioning feels fantastic but unstable in heel.

Lebron VIII PS: same as Lebron IX 

KD 8: full length 360, Nike put some clips on the lateral side for stability and it takes some of the responsive away but still fantastic

KD 7:
forefoot and 180 heel, great set up and not as unstable as the KD 6 Elite set up. Forefoot feels great as well.

KD 6 Elite: 360 Zoom: some similar set up to Lebron X. Feels great but not stable at all. Leo Chang even said KD didn’t like it and neither did I.

KD V: forefoot and Max Air in the heel: I didn’t give these enough break in time but not bad 

Kobe XI: heel only: drop in insole but feels great in the heel 

Kobe X: heel only: I enjoyed this set up and the caged Zoom takes away from the responsiveness but it is needed in the heel for stability

Kobe V/VI: met bag forefoot and heel, I’d like more in the forefoot but it works fine. Heel is great. Wish they’d go back to this 

Kobe IV: heel only, just works great 

Kobe III: forefoot and heel: forefoot feels nonexistent but heel thick and muted

Kobe I: forefoot and heel: muted but can be felt. Love these shoes

Huarache 2k5: forefoot and heel: just springy feels better than the 2k4 easily 

Huarache 2k4: forefoot and heel. very muted feel

Hyperdunk 2011: forefoot and heel. Please go back to this set up 

Hyperdunk 2010: forefoot and heel

Zoom BB I/II: full length, it’s a pity they don’t make these anymore. No break in time needed feels amazing . The 1.5 version only had forefoot Zoom:/

Shox BB4: forefoot Zoom, shox heel: oldie but a goodie. 

Jordan Brand

Air Jordan

10 11 12 13 14 18 19 20 21 22 28 29 30(didn’t try AJ 2009-2012)

AJ XII really embodies what I think full Zoom should feel like . Heel to toe response yet stable. 

XIV OG: my gold standard for Zoom

XIX: feels great but I found double stack Zoom to be too much of a good thing in this case

XX8: unlocked heel and forefoot. Feels so good but a little tough to cut and high off the ground. But boy it feels good 

Melo M8, M9: Big ass Zoom. Especially the M9

Melo M10: see AJ XX8
Melo M11: see AJ XX9

Superfly 2: see AJ XX8

Superfly 3: see AJ XX9

Superfly 4: forefoot only. Low profile feels like old school forefoot Zoom.

Im sure I missed a some but this is just off the top of my head. If you think of any feel free to comment. 


28 Comment on “Where’s Zoom? A Quick Guide

  1. Pingback: Nike KD 9 IX Performance Review | schwollo.com

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