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Nike Zoom Soldier 10 Performance Review

The Nike Zoom Soldier 9 was fantastic. The Nike Zoom Soldier 10…not so much.

I know it’s late, but I really disliked playing in the shoe. The traction and cushion were the two things that kept me from lacing them up long enough to give a proper wear-testing and performance review over the past few months. I’ve gone back to them a number of times and each time I regret the decision. I’ll try to keep the written section short and to the point. More detail is in the video above.


While the traction wasn’t horrible, there are better options available at the moment which made these seem worse than they were. I would not recommend these for outdoor players that want a long lasting outsole.

Image Via http://www.fastpass.cn/review
Image Via fastpass.cn

Cushion was so bad (for me) that it literally pained me to wear them. I was hoping for the opposite, as the cushion used is my favorite offering from Nike (most of the time), but this time the dense midsole really hindered the Zoom Air’s natural ability to absorb and deflect energy and impact.


I don’t feel the entire shoe is bad. The materials, fit, and support are all highlights of the shoe and aspects I enjoyed. The most surprising feature was the support since the shoe has no laces to speak of.

Don’t wear no-show socks unless you enjoy cutting your legs up while playing. This is mostly directed towards players my age as most of you new generation hoopers usually wear longer cut socks.

Sorry for the delay on these. Most of you likely won’t even need this review at this point, but I figured I’d put it out anyway. However, if you did wait, there are some steep discounts to e had on this shoe at many retailers.


  1. I would have loved to love that shoe. I look for support and containment in a sneaker. And cushioning. Why did they ruin the shoe with the bad cushioning.
    Nike, re-release this model with unlocked zoom and a herringbone outsole, please!

    1. I don’t understand how nike can be so hit or miss with zoom. I have sensitive feet (I guess), and hard cushion gives me foot pain (not knee or anywhere else), so I need some give. Curry 2s for example were way too hard and left me aching after a couple hours. Zoom doesn’t even need to be unlocked. I never played in the solder 9, but I loved the 8s. The zoom bags weren’t even thick, but I could play in those all day. Or go back to something like the HD 2011.. ancient by today’s standards but the forefoot zoom had great bounce!

  2. I’m sure someone else will point it out, but it says “Zoom Soldier 6” in the title photo or whatever. At first, I thought it was a retro review 😉

  3. The traction is decent but the cushioning sucks. I wonder if Nike made these Soldier performance subpar so they can make a elite version. Good performance review by Nightwing.

  4. Thank you for the performance review NW! It’s worth the wait, at least for me. The cushioning is a let down, especially for the no-show socks generation like me..lol..
    I appreciate the time and effort you made. It gives me the assurance of not spending my hard earned money on something that does not suits my needs. The looks of the shoe caught my attention, but then again, looks can be deceiving. Again, Thank You.

  5. I find amazing (in a good way) how the experience can change from one individual to another. The cushioning has been a joy for me (go figure). Traction has been spotty but nothing deal breaker. My main concern is regarding the fit. It started with an awesome 1:1 fit but the one piece upper is getting loose with each wear. I love the shoe design and how they look (as long as you have thin legs), but I’m afraid it won’t last long.

    1. I don’t think the material would stretch in a way that would misshapen the shoe over time with use. I think it might be the velcro losing its strength.

      Maybe you’re heavier than I am, not sure, so the cushion may bee good for you. For me, all I had was pain in my knees.

      1. I’m only 5’7″ and 162 lbs so I’m not sure about the weight thing but it’s a good theory. Maybe I’m more of a heavy striker, I don’t know. But after hearing only bad things about the cushioning it was a good surprise for me to actually feel good while playing in it. I’m 34 so my knees aren’t that young either (more of a boost guy these days). And on second thought I agree with you about the straps, they might be the real problem since they have a stretchy nature and get lose as you play making the fit sloppy.

  6. I totally see how the cushion could be poor for many people, but I personally felt the forefoot zoom quite a bit. The heel I typically never feel as a toe striker, however I felt quite a bit of bounce in the forefoot with great court feel. It wasn’t on the level of the KD 9 forefoot zoom bounce and impact protection-wise, but for a lower to the ground feel, it worked great for me!

    Also the gum bottom ones had some pretty good traction, though the white outsole probably sticks differently (and very possibly worse).

  7. Kind of a throwback review going on. Not like “Awkward Nightwing of 3-4 years ago” (lol) review, but one that kinda goes on without the current structure. Ups for putting out the review; I know a lot of people were so-so with the ZSX and I think you mentioned it somewhere in another vid/comment/post.

    For the shoe itself, I guess being on LeBron’s feet for his run saved it from being a real flop. Judging by this, and the perceptions of the LJ 12 and 13, Nike seems to have really gone all out with setting things more towards his liking after the 11 was a no-go for him. He probably feels the cushion way better on these shoes, and his weight likely makes the traction less of an issue (on top of consistently clean floors, of course).

  8. Thanks for putting this out there. I skipped on these and got the KD9. My knees thank you. I went true to size for those and my feet slip in easily and it feels like it was made for my foot after two wears on the court and a workout. The fit stretched just enough to hug my foot with 0 pain even at the fuse line where the materials meet. I could def feel that the first time I wore them but it’s gone now. I may have to get another pair of the KD9 since I dont know when Nike will make a shoe with cushion like this again that fits me feet so perfectly.

  9. Besides cushion, it’s surprisingly that the traction is not as good as the pattern looks. Thanks for sharing review though and wait for your review for DRose 7 PK.

  10. I’m wondering why Lebron played so well with these when he switched to them in the Finals, and why he seemed to prefer them over his sig. I thinking its maybe he prefers a simpler shoe, with a flat outsole and firm cushioning. I believe Tinker Hatfield said in an interview that Lebron and all his entourage gives input on the design of his sig, and that perhaps results in a shoe that has too much going on, which may result in iffy performance(such as the year that Lebron barely wore his shoe). Maybe a basic, Hyperfuse-esque shoe fits his game better. Just speculating.

  11. The shoe worked for LeBron and that is all that really counts, especially since many reviewers loved the shoes that he did not, and then could not wear for the entire season. It is LeBron’s shoe, and he needs to love it, not the reviewers. I dig what Nightwing does, as his reviews are always entertaining and spot on in regard to the quality control coming from all of the brands. But to me this review says more about about what LeBron cannot play in, and then Nike’s attempt to please the fans of their brand. I thought that Nike was in the business of providing the best equipment for their roster of athletes, not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks. It seems that Nike is facing a terrible dilemma…lololololololol

  12. Hey Nightwing, I got these the day you released the review but I didn’t see the performance review until after I got them. The cushion in the rear isn’t absolutely garbage (in my opinion) but the front sucks. What kind of insole would you recommend on these to aid the cusion issue? D-Rose 6?

    1. adidas tends to use some really crappy insoles so I’d try something from Insite Insoles that you can find here http://bit.ly/2dfGVae

      The $30 ones are my favorite, but they have some really nice Carbon Fiber ones that we reviewed a while back. The mid level priced once have a really high arch so I personally didn’t enjoy the feel of that one.

  13. just tried these and I agree with some of the posters here. the traction isn’t bad and the cushion was there for both forefoot and heel, so I’m not sure what others find out about the shoe itself. for the sake of info, I’m old and have issues with my feet and knees from plantar fasciitis to broken cartilage and knee surgery. oh and I weigh 200 lbs. anyway, I felt the forefoot cushion to be better responsive than the heel which was good. nothing special and kinda like a cheaper or downgraded version of the Melo 9s which I liked.

    in any case, despite of my personal findings, the shoe’s cushion and traction, THIS SHOE IS DAMN TERRIBLE. the fit is horrendous, I couldn’t fit the shoe in with my size and had to go a size and a half up which would have been ok if I was trying to wear them casually like Ronald McDonald but they are basketball shoes for pete’s sake. I would say this is way way worse than the KD9s fit. so if some of you find this shoe fine, then good for you. but as for me, these shoes belong in the trash compactor. TOTAL GARBAGE.

  14. Face it people. The LBJ line is meant for bigs. Players with LeBron like weight will benefit from this shoe most than guard sized players.

  15. I know you didn’t particularly like either, but HD 2015’s or these?

    Also, if I slide in my Flightposite insoles, would it make these better? Double stacked now

  16. I never looked forward to purchasing a shoe as much as I did this one. I had me eyes set on the Black/Gum version and it took me 3 months in 4 states to actually get my hands on a pair of size 11’s.
    Got really lucky stumbling into the new NYC flagship footlocker on 34th street on the second day after they opened and I was able to snatch up the last pair in my size.

    Three years ago I started wearing the Ektio Breakaways and I thought I would never wan’t to wear anything else. I’m pushing mid 40 and I ball almost daily, all my joints hurt and ankle support and inversion protection is crucial to me. And then the Zoom Soldier IX came out which, and this is mere speculation, might have put the Ektio basketball line out of business. To me the Soldier IX is just phenomenal, the only negative is that the thick material doesn’t lend itself well to outdoor hooping on a scorching hot day. (the breakaway was slightly worse). But I mostly play indoors unless I’m traveling.

    So when I tried my Zoom Soldier X I first noticed that the ankle enclosure was soft yet rigid and cutting into the skin as Nightwing mentioned. Other than that the fit felt really great. I also noticed that the shoe is a forward tilting shoe which helped accelerating past defenders. I also found the stability to be better than that of the Ektio Breakaways. I do a lot of stretching that involves balancing on one leg and when you combine the rather large bumper with the forward leaning design which engages the toes it really gives you great lateral balance.

    And this is pretty much where I run out of positives.

    After 2 nights of hoopin’ my ankles were sore as if I had jumped of a garage roof (I still remember that sensation even though it was 30 years ago, way before Parkour). My knees felt like I had no cartilage left. My hips were inflamed and after the prerequisite icing the inflammation just started to wander through my body as if it were looking for Pokémon.

    I was able to draw a couple of conclusions from my experience. The diagonal section between the ankle part of the shoe and the foot part of the shoe has no rigid materials. I’m talking about the sides and front area between top strap and middle strap. While the top strap helps to greatly prevent roll it does nothing to brace the impact of the tibia and fibula part onto the talus of the foot. When I pressed on the ankle top of the standalone shoe the whole top just caves forward into the foot opening area. Now, there are a number of major nerves running through that area which might explain the pain traveling through my body. Trying pushing down on the top of the Soldier IX and you’ll understand what I mean.

    So you take this weakness or flaw and you combine that with the forward inclination. Now take out the laces so you eliminate any impact or force to be channeled or spread out . Then you take out the fly-wire which also perhaps helps in re-directing impact. Now you add the bumper which forces a flat landing not allowing the foot to re-direct any impact, hence the strain on the knees. The breakaway had this problem as well.

    I don’t know too much about sole materials to say that those are the cause of discomfort/pain generated by this shoe but I know that I was never going to wear this shoe again even though they nailed the inversion prevention. I initially though that maybe I needed to give them another chance but after seeing this review it confirmed my suspicions about this flawed design. I’ve never returned a shoe in my life but I returned these puppies yesterday. I also ordered another pair of Soldier IX’s on Amazon.

    The zoom soldier team should really focus on coming up with a more breathable deviation of the IX design because while the Breakaway and the IX’s are excellent shoes for players that don’t wear braces and don’t want to tape, the X’s completely fail the test. They outright suck.

  17. Thanks for the review. 🙂

    The camo version has a slightly different model designation… Soldier 10 SFG… is that just a color way designation? or could that mean a possibly better shoe? i mean like different materials/tooling?

    Hoping for the best, as i really really like the colorway… but hey, it’s 2016 and we are talking about Nike. So expecting the worst 🙁

  18. Just bought the X online, I had to return it. They’re very difficult to wear, couldn’t get my foot in at all. Don’t get why they didn’t elasticate it at the bottom of the ankle strap since it’s not a lace sneaker. I’ve been wearing a size 10 for the pas 13 years, nd it was the 1st time in those many years a size 10 couldn’t fit me at all. I don’t get why people nd all online stores keep on saying they’re true to size, they aren’t at all. If u gon’ buy online buy a size bigger than u’ll normally go for.

  19. My soldier x are perfect except one thing. They killing my ankles. The stitches from the stripes around ankles are to tough. No matter what I will use. Ankle support, special pillows. It just doesn’t work. Rest is perfect. Fit, stabilization and everything rest works fine for me. But after 1 hour of hoops and dribble it starts to be disturbing. After two hours I just can’t continue. I’m dreaming to take them off.

  20. These look great. I like all the color ways. But I just can’t seem to find the camp one.
    I know bad joke
    I found these for $10 plus $6 shipping with any size I want. Authentic too.

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