They almost had it…almost.
Traction – Nothing has changed in the traction department between the LeBron 12 and the LeBron 12 Low. I guess the one thing that you could consider a change is that there are solid rubber options finally available, whereas the LeBron 12 only offered translucent outsoles to my knowledge. As far as how they played–exactly the same as the original. I personally had no issues with their traction unless there was a considerable amount of dust. They performed really nicely outdoors and indoors and I enjoyed them, just as I had the original 12s.
Cushion – The cushion setup has changed and I actually think it’s better in the low than it was in the mid. While the forefoot is missing a Hex Zoom unit, the units are bottom loaded, and you couldn’t really feel them anyway, so you aren’t missing much. While you won’t experience much change in the forefoot, the heel feels awesome. They’ve replaced the large volume Zoom unit with a 180 Air Max unit. Basically, you get maximum cushion in the heel while you receive decent cushion up front that happens to offer greater flexibility and mobility. I don’t think anyone will complain about the cushion setup since it offers a little bit of everything. Pretty well rounded for a LeBron, as far as cushion is concerned, and I loved it.
Materials – The regular LeBron 12 used a mesh upper with MegaFuse overlays while the lows feature very little Fuse and a lot of open mesh. Is there a huge difference between the two? Not really. While the mesh uppers haven’t changed too much, the Posite support wings have practically been removed completely and I think that was a huge mistake.
Fit – They fit pretty snug, but it’s mesh build so I’d go true to size. They feel great on-foot and require no break in time at all. Containment is solid for the most part – at least in the heel and forefoot – but there is one area where they fail miserably and that’s the midfoot. Remember that Posite that they removed? Yeah…these need that. The Posite material that remains works well for keeping your heel in place – something that is notoriously confused as ankle support – however, the upper portion of the shoe directly above the Posite just can’t contain lateral movements at all. Even with very little weight/ force applied the material gives, and without a HyperRev (original) type strap to keep your foot inside the shoe let’s just say the result can be rolling your ankle within the shoe. This is something I haven’t had happen to me since playing in the dreaded Kobe 7’s.
Support – Due to the aforementioned issue at the midfoot, the support suffers greatly. Sure, the outrigger works well, and the Posite – as stated earlier – that’s in place does a fine job at keeping the heel in place, but the upper just can’t handle any type of force applied. Its a pretty big letdown as these cover all the other bases really well. Unfortunately, if you wear these you’re just asking for an ankle injury.
Overall – I can’t remember the last time this has happened – the Kobe 7 is the only model that comes to mind at the moment – but everything in the shoe is solid except the lateral support. Traction, cushion, materials, fit (for the most part) is all really nice. If you can’t play in them they’re pretty much worthless on-court. They look great casually, so if that’s all you care about then they’ve got you covered. But if you wanted to play in a pair, you’ve been warned.
Great, informative review! Keep up the awesome videos, man!
I have a question though. Do professional athletes who play in low top shoes wear some extra ankle protection, or it’s just their ankle taped under their socks? I’m just asking, because an ankle bracelet is pretty easy to spot on TV, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody rocking low tops with an ankle bracelets. What’s the secret, if there is one.
All NBA players get their ankles taped. Not all wear braces. Not all low top are good just like not all are bad. Same with mids and highs.
Appreciate the answer! I’ve played ball in mids my whole life, and I decided recently to try out a low top shoe on court. That’s why I asked about the necessary precautionary measures. I think I’ll try to get a Kobe 9 EM.
I’m not an official WearTeaster but I would HIGHLY recommend the UA ClutchFit Drive Low. I love everything about them…but that’s just my opinion.
Honestly imo the clutchfit drive is my go to shoe I want to try a pair of lows. If you haven’t got a pair of clutchfit man your sleeping hard. It’s solid indoor and outdoor
I might be beating a dead horse, but do you think wearing an ankle brace would improve support? It would help guard against sprains and rolls, right?
It sucks that these dont give that much support then again its mesh. Ill still be getting a pair cause they look dope! Any eta on the 808 review?
I’m not an official WearTester but I can tell you that the 808s are a great shoe. The lockdown is a little loose and the strap doesn’t really offer any help but it isn’t big enough of an issue to hinder overall performance. I love ’em…but that’s just my opinion.
These seem more suitable for casual wear.
dammit, these looked like they were going to be the first lebron lows in recent memory that you could play in…
Well, they do look good. Still, I haven’t copped a LeBron model since that trick began designing his line, so I will never know what any of them will feel like, simply enjoying the thoughts of those who have worn them.
I have a pair of hypermaxes like this. Heavy and stiff midsole, flimsy light upper, and they are roll happy.
I actually get this feeling out of most full length air max shoes over the years from up tempos to lebron 8 and 9. .
Even 2k4s midsole are a bit heavy for the support offered by the upper after about a week.
I can rock lows no problem, I’m not doing it on high platform cushioning tho.
A lot of the time these stiff external heel counters jab the hell out of the inside of your ankle when you do roll too causing more injury
Spot on review. I have these and the cushioning is awesome. Unfortunately, sprained my ankles 2 out of the 4 times I ball in these (both times when sliding laterally on defense). Thanks for confirming my suspicions that these, sadly, aren’t suitable for balling.
Hey nw. I have problem with a lot of shoes my foot tends to slide toward the interior so it’s like I’m walking on a slant. I’m looking for a shoe with good containment. The only shoes that come to mind that can solve this is the posites ( foams flights and hyper posites). Is there any other shoes that would be good?
It sounds like you need orthotics for your shoes. From what you’re saying, it sounds like you’re over pronating. Talk to a foot doctor (podiatrist).
I’ve been wearing them for casual wear and I must say, the shoe is soooo good for everyday wear. Great cushioning, not so stiff and rigid, and USA colorway looks sick! Definitely one of the best Lebron low tops in a while.
Always great reading yuor reviews NW!
Any upcoming reviews on the Lebron ambassador 7?
I wont be doing the ambassador, but I appreciate the support!
I have tried these and the 29’s on and i found that the 12 lows are more comfortable but i am wondering how were you hurting your ankle off dribble moves coming down for a rebound or what?
When were the moments you had the ankle touble? Like jumping, on defense, making cuts? I’m deciding on wether tho get the kd 8 or so the lebron 12 low. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
are the shoes flexible enough?