Breaking Down the Upper
Materials used on LeBron 12: Megafuse, Hyperposite, Flywire
Materials used on Zoom Soldier VIII: Hyperfuse, Flywire
The LeBron 12’s upper sees the return of Hyperposite, the Foamposite-like material which made its debut on the LeBron 11. Here, it’s been repositioned for lateral support and protection around the ankles, instead of wrapping around the toe. The rest of the upper is composed of the all-new Megafuse material, which is essentially an improved version of Hyperfuse, allowing for better lockdown and flexibility. Think mesh with a sturdy yet pliable backing. For added support, both models use Flywire cables, which are positioned higher on the LeBron 12, providing better lockdown around the ankle. Meanwhile, the Zoom Soldier VIII relies on a forefoot strap.
Verdict: The LeBron 12’s upper outclasses the Zoom Soldier VIII’s in every way. It’s sturdier, more durable, and just feels more substantial due to its advanced materials.
Putting Cushioning to the Test
Cushioning setup on LeBron 12: Hexagonal Zoom Air in forefoot, Zoom Air in heel
Cushioning setup on Zoom Soldier VIII: Zoom Air in forefoot and heel
The cushioning technologies used in the LeBron 12 and Zoom Soldier VIII are similar, but it’s more about how and where they’re used than the Zoom Air units themselves.
The Zoom Soldier VIII uses a traditional forefoot and heel Zoom Air setup that you will find on many other Nike Basketball shoes. While it’s not full length, it provides responsive cushion for two key motions: landing and accelerating. On the flipside, the LeBron 12 uses an amplified heel Zoom Air unit and hexagonal Zoom Air in the forefoot. The key difference here is that the LeBron 12 offers more cushion over a wider surface area, covering nearly every pressure point of the forefoot to ensure takeoffs are as explosive as can be.
Verdict: While the technologies are similar, the LeBron 12 wins here thanks to its advanced setup that provides added cushioning in both the forefoot and the heel.
Traction pattern on LeBron 12: Multidirectional
Traction pattern on Zoom Soldier VIII: Multidirectional
Despite their obvious aesthetic differences, the traction patterns on the LeBron 12 and Zoom Soldier VIII are actually pretty similar. Straying from traditional patterns like herringbone, this multidirectional design makes use of cell-shaped cutouts for grip. On the LeBron 12, it’s modified to accommodate the hexagonal Zoom Air, and thus far is only available in translucent rubber. At the end of the day, this one comes down to a matter of preference, as you’re not going to notice much of a difference between the traction in each shoe as long as the outsoles remain clean.
Verdict: Too close to call. They’re both going to provide similar levels of grip, so it comes down to personal preference.
If your budget allows for it, the LeBron 12 is going to be a more worthwhile investment. It’s loaded with all of the Swoosh’s latest technologies to ensure high performance, and its Hyperposite and Megafuse upper is going to be able to withstand wear better than the Hyperfuse construction of the Zoom Soldier VIII. The LeBron 12 is available now for $200, while the Zoom Soldier VIII can be had for $100.