Executive summary: Not a good shoe overall. Mediocre overall traction, sloppy fit especially in the heel, and terrible containment. Go buy something else for $130

Lebron solidified himself as one of the all time greats this season and completed an epic comeback in one of the most disappointing “performance” shoes I’ve ever played in. Lebron, you’re that f’ing good..

As many of you know, the Soldier VI has been in my top 5 since 2012. The Soldier VII was ok but didn’t have that same bounce in the forefoot and was stiff as a board. The Soldier VIII fit fine but Zoom feel was nonexistent. The IX was a great shoe all around but not enough to replace the VI. The X can go back into the box and stay there. 

Pros: traction on clean floors, heel Zoom, stabilty, low to ground feel

Cons:  below average on dusty floors, nonexistent forefoot Zoom feel, heel Zoom is firmer than expected, very little midfoot support, bad heel slip, terrible containment, cheap materials

Sizing: true to size 

Best for: Lebron collectors

Weight:


Feels really light in hand but actually average weight for shoes these days. 

Traction 

We’ve seen similar patterns like this before on the AJ 2012 and Lebron 8 PS  and it is fine on clean floors but it isn’t good on dusty floors. 

As I said in my first look, there  is zero need for these nubs since we aren’t playing on grass or dirt. Really just raising the sole off the ground ever so slightly. 

Once the nubs wear down some and the traction breaks in, the bite gets better but it still isn’t anything to write home about. 

Just below average traction overall. 
Cushioning 

If you saw the pics off Fastpass you probably got all excited like I did. Heel Zoom is pretty good after a longer than average break in but starts off feeling like a hard spot in the heel.  Even after break in though it is still firm but feels good if you can compress it.  Heavier players should get more benefit and feel out of this Zoom unit than lighter players. Still not the best heel Zoom but I’m ok with it. 


As for the forefoot Zoom…I can see it but had a hard time feeling it. There is a little spring to it but not much. 

The most disappointing part of the cushioning is actually the midfoot. Sure, usually it is just foam but the Soldier X feels like there is nothing there since the entire midsole is very thin.  


Feels a lot like the tendril system on the AJ XX9 but even thinner. Initially it really felt like a balance beam running down my foot but i got used to it. At least the AJ XX9 used plastic to support the midfoot. For flat or wide footers like me, this won’t work. 

I will say this is the lowest feeling Soldier I’ve played in and I’ve played in all of them except 1,2, and 5. 

Fit

I went true to size and these run true to size. 
The fit feels nice when you’re not playing as it is a one piece upper with no laces. Once you start playing, that snug one piece fit feels like a bunch of segments fighting each other. 


The first day I played in these, the heel counter was digging into my ankle and my heel was coming up a lot even though I cinched everything tightly. However, after two days of play the rubbing went away and the heel fit improved  but never locked in once I started moving. 

More padding  in the ankle could have helped  although I think this is adequate. 


The major reason for the major heel slip is the strap system. 


When the ankle strap is locked in correctly and you run or jump, the tightened strap has nowhere to go so something has to flex and it ends up being everything below the top strap including the heel counter. 

In addition, midfoot/ heel strap should have been angled more toward the heel and been a true wrap around strap and not just a layover. 


But the way the straps are set up you might as well wear sandals. Both straps can only be pulled over a hair so not really much adjustability. The forefoot strap seems to just keep the foot from sliding forward on hard stops and doesn’t really provide much in terms of lockdown. 

Alos, having two straps as the only method of lockdown gives the wearer a very uneven feeling; All you feel are two straps on top of the foot while the rest of the foot has zero pressure on top. A lace system gives you even pressure across the top of the foot, not to mention better lockdown. 

This strap only system is just an overall fail in my book. 

Support and stability

Although the Soldier 10 is cut high, don’t expect much support because the ankle collar is super thin and flimsy. It’s really just there for the strap and proprioception. 


The internal heel counter does its job but it also dug right into my ankle on cuts at the beginning but went away. 

The shoe is stable and plays low to the ground though. The forefoot outrigger helps with stabilty as well


Easily passed my heel test.  This might be the best part of the shoe. 
Containment 

Worst containment ever in a Lebron shoe and might be one of the worst of all time for me

I nearly tipped the shoe in the video and almost busted my right knee because of the containment as I slid out of the shoe. No raised midsole, textile and mesh upper and an unanchored strap system let my entire foot slide out on cuts and changes of direction. Textile and mesh as an upper is comfortable but has nearly zero tensile strength. Not sure why Nike chose to use such weak materials. 

As Charles would say #turrible. 

Conclusion 

I know Cavs fans and collectors are scrambling to get the Championship Soldier X but for folks who just want a great shoe to play in, these are not the way to go.  $130 isn’t a bad price but there are a lot of shoes in this price range or less that easily outperform the Lebron Soldier 10. As my mom always says, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. So the Lebron Soldier 10…


29 Comment on “Nike Lebron Soldier X 10 Performance Review

  1. Pingback: First Look: Nike Hyperdunk 2016 and Lebron Soldier 10 | schwollo.com

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