The Legacy of LeBron's Soldier Line
The Nike LeBron Soldier line holds arguably some of the most iconic signature basketball shoes ever created, and The King himself has worn them during his domination of the hardwood.
According to the Soldier line's deigner Jason Petrie, it all started with 'lightweight lockdown' as the clear focus.
'The Solider was always about serving LeBron and giving him another thing in his quiver he needed that wasn’t in his game shoe,' says Petrie.
'All of it was built around giving LeBron lockdown, so we created a shoe completely based around it, giving him this totally protected, contained force for his feet. Playoff mode, team shoe, FlyEase, straps, laces — there’ve been different takes throughout the years, but it’s always been another tool LeBron could pull out at any time. With the Soldier, many of those performances helped define his legacy.'
With so many Nike LeBron Soldiers already having made a name for themselves, and with the XIV hitting stores this month, let's take a look at the legacy of the line.
LeBron Zoom 20-5-5 (2005)
It all started in 2005 with the release of the LeBron Zoom 20-5-5. Birthed from the Nike Basketball Battleground series, it's built for playing outdoor ball in a rugged environment.
LeBron Zoom Soldier (2007)
All about the straps, the Nike LeBron Zoom Soldier dropped in 2007 riddled with Zoom Air Cusioning it allowed for LeBron to be ultra responsive on-court.
LeBron Soldier II (2008)
The Nike LeBron Soldier II was crafted to be worn by LeBron in Beijing during the summer of 2008. The design is slightly different to the rest of the LeBron soldier line, with no strap and a reinforced lateral. It still looks just as clean, though!
LeBron Soldier III (2008)
The straps are back! The Nike LeBron Soldier III featured a double-strap along the upper. It also sported a shark-tooth midsole, and was worn by LeBron during one of the most memorable buzzer-beaters of his career.
LeBron Soldier IV (2010)
The Nike LeBron Soldier IV hit stores back in 2010, and featured the first-ever lion's head detail plastered along the tongue!
LeBron Soldier V (2011)
Taking a few hints from LeBron's performance line, the Soldier V borrowed design cues from the LEBRON IX. It also included a neat Air unit beneath the heel.
LeBron Soldier VI (2012)
Once again, packed with Nike Zoom Air, the LeBron Soldier VI championed a lightweight construction, and came with an asymmetrical ankle strap over the Hyperfuse upper.
LeBron Soldier VII (2012)
The Nike LeBron Soldier VII, according to Petrie, was created so LeBron 'was able to go out during that championship run and wear the shoe unexpectedly'.
LeBron Soldier VIII (2014)
Nike created the LeBron Soldier VIII in 2014, decking out the crep in Flywire tech. The FlyEase edition featured no laces and opted for an easy-on, easy-off system.
LeBron Soldier IX (2015)
The LeBron Soldier IX came prepared with a new innovative strap system and Flywire forefoot construction.
LeBron Soldier X (2016)
For the LeBron Soldier X, Petrie and LeBron wanted the anniversary model to stand-out with visual significance. They also wanted to take inspiration from the 20-5-5. With all that in mind, they created this very high-cut silhouette, that was actually Team Swoosh's first laceless performance shoe.
LeBron Soldier XI (2017)
Taking design cues from the X, the Nike LeBron Soldier XI quadruppled the straps and also made them lighter, allowing for more foot movement.
LeBron Soldier XII (2018)
Stealing the X-strap from the Nike Air Raid, the design team for the LeBron Soldier XII wanted to experiment with locking down different foot shapes.
LeBron Soldier XIII (2019)
The Nike LeBron XIII came ready. Using two durable straps with an adjustable slip-lock, it allowed ballers to adjust the fit more precisely.
LeBron Soldier XIV (2020)
Reducing the layers, bringing the foot closer to the Zoom Air Unit, and replacing the straps with a toggle lacing system, the Nike LeBron Soldier XIV is a lightweight sneaker that gives an ultra-smooth ride.
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