LeBron James may be 17 — almost 18 — signature shoes deep with Nike Basketball, but apart from his main line, the LeBron Soldier line has proved tremendously influential as well since its debut in 2007. Now, that line is set to enter a new chapter with the LeBron Soldier 14.
Crafted by tenured Nike designer Jason Petrie, a man who’s been working on the King’s kicks since the LeBron 7, the Soldier 14 is all about speed and security. “Designing the Soldier is similar to designing a sports car. You’re innovating off of a single ideal, which is lockdown” said Petrie.
To achieve this, the Soldier 14 discards the line’s laceless build, a design tweak that started on the Soldier 10. In its place arrives a dual lace and toggle system, while cushioning is provided by a Zoom Air setup placed close under the foot for maximum responsiveness. From a build standpoint, uppers are made of a sharply-shaped mixture of black woven synthetics and white neoprene.
Midsoles offer an exaggerated build towards the heel and are rimmed by thick white foam, while branding is handled by a white Swoosh on the lateral collar, a debossed Swoosh on the lateral forefoot and a red Swoosh on the medial heel. All together, the Soldier 14’s parts supply a retro-futuristic look that’s equal parts 2020 and 2000.
Of course, LeBron has many memorable moments in the Soldier line, ranging from scoring 25 straight points in the first Soldier during Game 5 of 2007’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons to a memorable buzzer-beater against the Orlando Magic while rocking the Soldier 3 in 2009’s Eastern Conference Finals. “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” noted Petrie. “With the Soldier, many of those performances helped define his legacy.”
That legacy will be continued in August, when the Nike LeBron Soldier 14 releases via Nike China beginning on August 1. A US release will likely follow later in the year, and a retail price has yet to be announced.
Check out Nike News’s story for a full history of the Soldier line, and for more hoop kicks take a look at Allen Iverson’s Reebok Question Mid “Red Toe,” a ’90s hoops classic that’s re-releasing in August.