Nike Zoom Soldier VI (6) Performance Review

Hit the jump for full written review and scores…


Traction – One of the best traction surfaces this year… one of the best I’ve ever used of all time.

The forefoot is the highlight of the shoe where traction is concerned so if you are in need of ultimate forefoot traction then the latest Zoom Soldier has you covered. Watch out for dusty floors as you will need to maintain consistent wiping at the heel… Dusty floors have almost no effect on the forefoot so that area will always keep you grounded.


Cushion – Some may have been disappointed with this years Hyperdunk since it featured Lunarlon. If thats true for you then the Zoom Soldier VI will make you forget all about the Hyperdunk altogether.

Forefoot Zoom Air is featured, Providing you with low profile responsiveness. The heel is said to have bottom loaded Zoom but upon inspection I found that they have a top loaded Zoom unit in place directly under foot… Unless i cut them apart I wont be able to confirm if the bottom loaded unit is there so i will assume it was mistake in their description.

Bottom line, everything you wished the Hyperdunk 2012 had wound up in the Zoom Soldier VI.


Material – Fuse is used throughout making the overall construction very similar to the LeBron 9 Elite… Minus the Carbon Fiber & Flywire. Durability & strength are present as they typically are in Fuse based models but they also offer plenty of flex where you’d need it so break-in time is minimal.


Fit – These fit true to size. They can also accommodate a variety of foot shapes so they’ll be a good option for almost anyone.

I mentioned this in a previous Performance Teaser but the tongues construction was an issue. The stitch work is sloppy and exposed… Knotted at each end which ends up pressing against your skin when fully laced, eventually leading to uncomfortable chaffing. Tape, doubling up on socks or wearing a level 1 ankle brace made of neoprene would be recommended to avoid the issue.

The lockdown is great from heel to toe… Heel especially. This strap locks the foot and heel in place the way a strap should.


Ventilation – These were pretty much on point with the LeBron 9 Elite as far as ventilation is concerned. Unrestricted ventilation holes are place along the medial and lateral side which work well with the open mesh. I was able to feel the air flow which is something I’ve only experienced one other time and that was with the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.


Support – Even though there isn’t a support plate in place, I personally didn’t notice its absence, they remained fairly supportive everywhere else. The overall fit is where most of your support comes from – that heel strap does a great job – along with the outrigger. If you are a player who needs a shank plate in place then this may not be the shoe for you.


Overall – This years Soldier is one of the best… Maybe even the best Soldier model ever. I’ll always hold the Soldier III in high regards but when directly comparing (non biased) the Soldier VI beats them out by a long shot.

These can easily suit most positions, from 1-4, depending on your needs or personal preferences. At $120, this is a great buy and my personal favorite this year – at least for the time being.





  1. Nightwing, I think that this is the review that we’ve all been waiting for. Now I know for sure that I will be picking these up; without a doubt. Thanks for all the work you put in. It’s not in vain.

  2. As Trezz says, many of us were waiting for this review. I’m going to cop a pair right away…maybe I can give some points of view after game time.
    Awesome job as always Nightwing, much appreciated. keep it up!!

  3. hey nightwing pls respond last year i had issues with my ankle causing me to have surgery do u think the height of the toe will effect stability

  4. BATMAN t-shirt!!!! =]
    I like to see the reasonable priced shoes out perform the ridiculously expensive shoes, it means they doing them right instead of wasting too much money on promotion and marketing.

  5. Nice review as always bro…probably will cop these once they hit way under retail of course….

    Are you still doing the Crocs review as promised?

  6. Which one has better cushioning the melo m8 or these in terms of comfort and impact protection.

  7. In terms of overall satisfaction to a player that likes speed and good cushioning these or the new Hyperdunks?

  8. Not sure what the issue is with the stitching is, I know you had the same problem with the LeBron 9 too. I have two pairs of LeBron 9’s I alternate using to play in and I haven’t had any issues. What socks are you wearing to play? I wear Nike elites, maybe because those are so thick I am not feeling the rub of those stitches.

    1. “These can easily suit most positions, from 1-4, depending on your needs or personal preferences.”

      That should answer your question, taking in account that a center is a 5.

  9. Hey nightwing!! just wanted to ask, i love highly cushioned shoes, so should i buy the zoom soldier 6’s, or the fly wade 2 ev’s? (im a guard, by the way)

  10. Im a fast point guard uptempo guard. Should I get the zoom soldier 6, the Nike lunar hyperdunk, or the crazy light 2?

  11. one question. on your pair the lebron logo on the strap is dark. on the pics i have seen on different retailers is all white. seems odd?

    1. Catalog images and scans are of design sketches or sample products. They can always differ from what makes it into retailers as the final product. Now if you look at the ‘official images’ found on every sneaker blog – including mine – then you would notice that they all feature an obsidian logo on the strap.

    2. Hey nightwing. great review. just wondering, how long will these last? will they last outdoors? i’m a 5ft. gaurd, i wear size 7.5 (i’m a kid, if it matters), and i’m getting these for my b-day. want to make sure they’re top quality. i don’t want the shoes to last a couple months and it’s done, i want it to last a long time. and while i don’t always play b-ball outdoors, i usually do, so i want to know if it’s gamma last. thx again.

  12. I see that you have these ranked higher than the Crazy Light 2, which was going to be my next shoe. I’m curious as to how the cushioning on these compares to the Crazy Light 2. In particular, which cushioning will last longer and be better for people with bad lower backs and knees? Also, is the outrigger wide enough to prevent ankle rolls (I don’t trust straps or Flywire or anything like that no matter how tight it gets…for me outriggers ALWAYS protect me from ankle rolls).

      1. Haha fair enough….

        I guess I was wondering more about why you went back to Zoom when I remember you saying how much foam-cushioned shoes suit you better. I understand you review ALL shoes, but was shocked to see that you preferred Zoom again over a foam cushioned shoe.

        1. What I personally prefer is actually different than what is graded. I cant just review a shoe and tell you that I hated it so you will hate it too, if that makes sense. Same thing if I like something that doesnt mean that you will like it as well. If I did that then I would be the most biased reviewer on earth only wanting everyone to buy want i like becasue I said i liked it… which is stupid.

          Air cushions will always outlast foam cushions, I do personally prefer foam but it also depends on the foam used. As for directly comparing foam to zoom… there is no comparison… zoom beats it in both comfort (cushion) and lifespan.

          Now on a personal level, I still LOVE Zoom Air. I have loved it ever since I bought the Jumpman Pro after wearing the Jordan XI back in 96/97. I prefer the foams properties though… its ability to evenly dispurse impact and distribute it making your foot strikes less painful on the joints.

          Sorry about that being so long… hope it all makes sense.

          1. That’s fine….your explanations make for a good read. Yes, I get what you mean. I played last night and started off with my Black Ice Mids, and the Micro G cushioning is awesome and low to the ground while providing good impact protection.

            However, when I switched into my Jordan 2010’s, the full length Zoom almost made me not want to look back at foam cushioning lol. I love both, but I’ll probably stick with Zoom (GOOD Zoom that is and not the small thin bags).

  13. Does the velcro straps ruin the shoe laces? Thanks for your reviews! I personally trust your reviews. I’m a guard as well and I think your doing a great job reviewing shoes and products. Keep it up!

  14. Hi night wing,
    I am getting some new hoop shoes and need your help to pick the ones to get. In the past I have really like the Kobe’s, hyperdunks and low hyper fuse. I am trying to decide between soldier lebrons, Aj 2012 (on sale at eastbay), lebron elite, crazy light 2 or hyperdunk 2012. I know it is a lot but since you have played in all of them could you give a recommendation?

  15. Hi Nightwight,

    You mentioned that Fuse is used throughout making the overall construction. Could i ask if this would mean that it would be as durable as the hyperfuse models for outdoor play?

    Hope u see this question!

  16. Nice review. I’ve been playing in my pair for a week or so. I definitely like the weight, fit, and traction better than the Lebron XI and Elites. The midfoot support is okay, but the shoes would be better with a shank plate. Two things that bother me so far. First, the cushioning seems overly firm for a zoom shoe. I wish the cushioning was bouncier. I hope this gets better soon with additional break in. Second, the heel feels lower than the ball of my foot. I feel like I’m playing up hill in these shoes, which is affecting my game (especially my shooting). I think I need to get an insole with a thicker heel area to level out the feel of the shoe. Did you experience these issues too?

    So far these are good shoes that will become great for me with more break in and new insoles. If they don’t improve I’ll just go back to my trusty stand by – the Fly Wade 2…

    1. I really wanted to like this shoes. I tried my pair a couple of more times but they just didn’t work for me. The arch support felt off, the cushioning didn’t soften much, and I continued to feel like I was running up hill since the forefoot felt higher than the heel. I put in new insoles to try to level out the heel, but they felt a little unstable and I ended up lightly spraining my ankle (I never sprain my ankles BTW). I ended up returning them to Nike and going back to the Fly Wade 2s. The Wades work so much better for me.

  17. Very nice review All makes sense. I will buy this shoe in this coming Saturday. because i’d like what you have been review from this shoe. Any suggestion which is better shoe for point guard. ?

  18. Nice review as always bro, Number 4 on your top 10 is perfect for me. One of the best shoes I´ve played in. Thanx for the review it made it easier to choose this.

  19. im a quick and fast all around pg i was thinking about getting these. what do you think? what other shoe be good for me?

  20. Hey what would recommend between the fly wade 2 and the zoom soldier 6. I’m an all aroud player that runs and jumps a lot and make quick cuts.

  21. Hey Nightwing. I got 140 to spend on some new shoes. I play JV for my highschool as small forward. I’m 5’10 and weigh 210. My play style is a slasher and a spot up shooter. I’m looking at these, hyperdunk 2012, hyperfuse 2012,
    adidas power howard 2, and the melo m8.

    I’m currently using hyperdunk 2011s.

  22. you’re right about this shoe. I personally like these better than my HD2012’s. The zoom units in this shoe work great for me. Thanks for the review.

  23. So…from all the years of reviews…Is it safe to deduce and extrapolate that..the Soldier VI (6) up to this point is the best GUARDS shoe available today? That’s my conclusion so far. Everything else pretty much is a Hi-Top in the top 10. Bulky tech heavy shoes. My Gold Medal Lebron 10s feel like cushioned weights around my ankles. Have they made a 2012 Hyperdunk Low yet? Still, Lunarlon is for cushion and big man play. I go with my opinion that it is impossible to make a cushioned, light, speed oriented guard’s shoe or vice versa for a forward/center. Cushion does not equal responsiveness and no cushion doesn’t equal no pain in landing or jumping. So a shoe that does both ok is the best.

  24. Added……this Soldier is not the most attractive shoe in the world. (Ok, it’s fugly). Velcro straps are great but are not eye pleasing. The colors and shapes are unattractive and it is has not been given the attention to detail. At least it’s a basketball shoe for the masses and not designed with sparkles and diamonds for a gargantuan 6 foot 8 premiere premamaddona athlete that has his own game in mind when designing (and annoying tastes) and not Joe six pack pick-up game chucker.

  25. Hi nightwing. Just wondering. How do you take care of your hoes after a game? Besides cleaning the sole, how about the in sole. Do you do anythig special

    1. I always take care of my hoes… Lol

      I just put the shoes in front of a fan after games to air dry so they dont get funky but other than that i dont maintain them much.

      1. nightwing? which one has a better durability? soldier 6? or 2012 hyperfuse? thanks in advance, hopefully you’ll reply.

  26. nightwing,

    I know I’ve asked you this question before, but just making sure. When it comes to lateral support (less opportunity of rolling ankles) which should be better for a quick athletic guard that makes cuts consistently. lebron 10s or lebron soldiers? n if u have other options I would like this too

    Thank You

  27. hey NW, just gone over ur zoom soldier 6 review again. When wud sum1 say tht he needs a support plate at the bottom of shoe?

  28. Just picked up a pair yesterday and they were great, i felt exactly the same thing in your review except for the traction (havent tried them on court)

    Thanks man! Awsome reviews, Keep it up!

  29. NW,

    Great review, checking your ratings, you basically have the zoom solider VI’s ranked 6th, and the AJ2012 ranked 7th….. would you still take the zoom soldiers over the AJ2012 lives (given the reduction in weight etc..)?

  30. Just like to say these shoes are great I’m a very fast agile player (power forward) and the toes curve up slightly keeping you on your toes allowing for great spring in your hop and very quick movenents. Overall these shoes are great

  31. Whoa! 120?? I got mines for 54.99 from nike LOL.buying shoes online is a bad idea lol I love these shoes and I got them for chump change compared to what everyone elseis buying em for

  32. I just bought a pair of LeBron X shoes and a pair of Soldier VI shoes online, and IMO the Soldiers are a much better shoe. They’re super comfortable and have great ‘court-feel’, they’re very light, and have amazing traction. I played in them (indoor) the other night and couldn’t believe how big of a difference they made in my game compared to the Reebok ZigSlash shoes I’ve been using. I always thought I was slow laterally, turns out I just had zero traction.

    Anyway, the Lebron X just felt like a heavy, bulky platform shoe to me. I tried on a pair of Sketchers Shape-ups once, and that’s exactly what the Lebron X felt like. They’re very cushion-y, but they’re super high off the ground, it feels silly. I knew immediately I wanted to return them, so I never played in them, but I can imagine myself easily rolling an ankle. Anyway, that’s my take. I’m a 5’11” SF that does a lot of slashing and some posting up and likes to get out and run the fast break. The Soldier VI is my new basketball shoe, I love it.

    Nightwing- Thanks for the performance reviews, I spent a lot of time on here narrowing down my choices.

  33. I kinda have wide feet, should i go up half a size?

    How would you compare the fit to a rose 3.0/3.5?

  34. why is the cushion a perfect score? you can’t really feel the cushion unless you put into mind that there is one.

  35. These are by far the best shoes I have ever had. The traction is unparalleled and they fit like a glove. Even on a dirty floor I have no problems. I now own two pairs. The second pair feels different on the right shoe outer lateral, but after reading this review I am thinking I might have a popped air bag out there. I am going to check it with comparison to my original pair. I bought this pair off of ebay. Thanks for the in depth breakdown. — AgentLuke

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