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Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review

If you think you’re going to war every time you step onto the court then these should be your combat boots…

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 1Traction – The traction, to put it simply, is beastly. When I test shoes, I will always start indoors then move outdoors to finish things off so that the traction’s integrity isn’t compromised by going back and fourth. However, I did the exact opposite with these and there was really no change between indoor and outdoor no matter how much I  wore them on the asphalt. Their traction is just really solid, and possibly some of the best I’ve had this year. Actually… I will go out on a limb and say confidently that these have had the best traction I’ve used so far in 2015. Yeah… they were that good.

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 2Cushion – I have’t really enjoyed the cushion from the Soldier models that released after the Soldier 6. They’ve been pretty lackluster and firm whereas the 6 was super comfortable. Luckily they finally decided to give us something closer to the 6 than before which made these really enjoyable from a cushion standpoint. I wish I could tell you what type of Zoom Air units were implemented within the midsole, but I couldn’t remove the insole to check and see. Just know that there is Zoom located in the heel and forefoot, and I believe they are pretty thick, you can feel them, and they’re awesome.

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 3Materials – The entire upper is one piece, and it’s comprised of mesh, nylon and a little bit of Fuse. The only thing I dislike about the materials is that the tongue or opening of the shoe doesn’t stretch at all so getting them on is pain. Other than that I thought they were great. No pinching or hot-spots occurred while wearing them – no matter the type of sock I wore. Mesh isn’t extremely durable, so that might be considered a negative to some, but it creates a shoe that requires no break-in time and moves with the foot perfectly – and that helps create the feeling of wearing something that is one with the foot instead of something that the foot must adapt to wearing.

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 4Fit – They fit true to size, and lockdown is the shoes greatest feature. In fact, my local House of Hoops only had a size 9.5 in stock (I prefer to wear a size 9), and the tiny bit of dead space within the shoe didn’t even bother me because once I strapped the shoe up my feet weren’t going anywhere. Nowhere.

The heel strap locks the heel into the shoe so perfectly that the only sneaker I could compare them to were the Ektio models. It’s attached to the shoes heel counter so the entire heel and ankle collar section of the shoe are pretty much one solid piece when all things are said and done.

Then there is the forefoot strap… this one is the game changer. This strap locks the foot into the shoe across the medial side of the forefoot first. Then it comes across the midfoot to lock that area into place. That portion of the strap is connected to the Flywire which is then activated once you pull to tighten – locking in the lateral side of the forefoot. Yeah. F***ing awesome! 

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 5Support – As we all know, the support relies heavily on the shoes fit. And in case you couldn’t tell from the fit section, support is pretty. Damn. Beastly. You’re foot is literally supported at all points, at all times. Medial forefoot support? Check. Lateral forefoot support? Check. Heel support? Check. Midfoot support? Check. Yeah… Nike may as well have named these things the Nike Zoom Hakuna Matata. Once you have them strapped up, you’ll have no worries.

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 6Overall – I’ve been liking Nike’s lower end models a whole lot more as of late when comparing them to their more expensive signature counterparts. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just shoes that offer you more bang for your buck. No, you probably won’t see LeBron wearing them on-court anytime soon, but they’ll take care of you on-court either way. Great traction, solid cushion, lockdown better than most shoes you’ll find on shelves right now which translates into some of the best support you’ll find. All of this without restricting any movement or making you feel as if you’re carrying extra weight with you. I really enjoyed playing in the LeBron 12, but I’d take these over them any day of the week. Unless I’m going to the mall… then I’d bust out the LeBron 12’s. Because these things are hideous.

Nike Zoom Soldier IX (9) Performance Review 7

    1. Just looked at the Jordan superfly 2 Po reviews and this one, I can’t decide which shoe to get. What shoe do you like better to play indoor in and which do u think has better cushion on the heel because that’s where most shoes bother me.

    1. I said the exact same thing while checking the scores. Just. Damn. And for traction and support too.

      Gotta re-check the top performance picks to see which shoe comes close to that 2 HOF badge

  1. Wow, that’s a performance beast Nightwing. Nice review, I just want to ask, is it true that the Penny 2 will be retroed by spring next year?

  2. Wow that statement about the traction being the best thus far in 2015 was heavy! I’m guessing you liked the traction over the Kobe 10 because of it’s indoor/outdoor versatility? I would never play outdoors in a pair of my Kobe’s. I like a shoe that functions well without the gimmicks and the straps were well explained. These will be my first pair of Soldiers. I’m going to wait until that $140 dips and another fly colorway.

    1. Exactly, the Kobe 10’s have excellent indoor traction. But these are for those that can only grab one shoe for indoor and outdoor ball. The straps, while ugly, are amazing from a functional standpoint.

      1. Hi Nightwing, hope its not s redundant question, but i need to be sure these will hold up for quite a while on outdoor courts.. i got a pair of Superfly 2 and Superfly 2 POs and neither lasted more than a couple of months! Hell, from the first wear you could see the thing beginning to fall apart! for me, the first thing i always look out for on your reviews (which are just too much to ask for! Kudos!) is outdoor durability, once thats not there everything else doesn’t matter coz its all concrete outdoor courts i play on.

        1. They may or may not hold up to your liking. Everyone is different and you cant predict how long a shoe will last for any one person. All you can do is buy a shoe that suits your needs and play in them till they fall apart.

      2. Yes! Give me straps! The Soldier 6 had an impressive strap that held you down almost like a binding for a snowboard. Everything since then seems to have lacked that level of function for me. Some one should just do all Velcro haha ( BTW..still looking for them 6’s in the all white/green if anyone knows of them ;).

  3. I’ve always liked the soldier models better, they have almost always been better than the flag ship models to me. I like them waaaay better than the elites as well especially the 12 elite which was straight out garbage in every way imaginable. More money for less shoe means you don’t get my money folks…That simple.

    1. Both can use this shoe as it has excellent fit and support to lock down your feet but flexible materials for agility and a cushion system you rarely can go wrong with.

  4. I didn’t know these were that kinda performers. This is a cop for me. These perform that well outdoor so, I wouldn’t need to look for the XDR versions?

  5. Hey Nw, great review. Your analysis is so on point… it seems the sig models are putting style over performance whereas the lower cost models are focusing more on performance… which is AWESOME! Most of these “takedown” models go on discount and can be found at sales racks which make it even better. i’m anticipating your review of the Kobe Venemonom 5s because those look good, imo, and the materials used appear to be mesh, flywire and some fuse. Things are going to heat up this summer!

  6. Super informative and awesome review as always, @Nightwing2303

    These are definitely on my list as my next hoop shoe after my Soldier 7s give out on me.

    I do have a question, though. The heel and forefoot seem to de-coupled, much like the Jordan 28s. Does these have the same “bowing” problem (meaning the Mid-foot sank to the floor upon movements) as the 28s did?

    The 28s were good in all honesty, but I couldn’t bear the pain of that bowing/sinking of the midfoot. Just wanted to know, since they aren’t out here yet where I’m from and I’ll be waiting on release day for these.

    Appreciate the feedback, OG.

    Keep up the good work as always!

    1. The rubber outsole is decoupled, but the midsole is all one piece so it’s not the same as a true decoupled setup. This will perform/ feel like any other shoe.

  7. Nice review! Which would you say have better traction? AJxx8 or these? If I have to retire my AJxx8 and buy me these quais!!

  8. @Nigtwing2303 how do these compare to the ua Clutchfit drives, cause i know these aren’t better than the 29s

  9. Its good, though it is one performance model, Nike used
    thicker heel/forefoot Zoom and one shoe for indoor/outdoor.
    Looking at this line, except for 2,4, and 5, they have used straps.

  10. Wow…Just wow. I knew that these would be rated well when I saw the commentary on IG but this is definitely a model to take note of. I haven’t purchased another soldier since the 6 due to the fact that the others seemed lackluster but I might have to grab multiple color ways if this is a good model because the blacktop might be my main location this summer and I’m all about bang for buck.

  11. Hey Nightwing do you think these will be better than the kd 8??? I have no clue myself but was just wondering what you thought.

  12. I guess if looks isn’t a priority, this shoe is the one, seeing it on someone’s foot(I guess that’s nightwings foot ^^) with the straps, well I would give it a 6th man tag or lower,

    by the way is the shoe low to the ground? that a guard would enjoy wearing this?

    and with all the Hall of Fame tags along with Multiple straps….does this work for someone with weak ankles…better than Ektio??

    Thanks in Advance!!

    1. This is if nike and ektio had a baby. It should be good with weak ankles as night wing says it locks you in like a straight jacket especially around the ankles. As a guard you really can’t go wrong with zoom air and with soldier models they are the guard friendly shoes.

  13. Great review.The Kobe, Lebron, and KD lines made marginal perofrmance improvements for the 2014-2015 season. I have a feeling Nike’s upcoming models for the 2015-2016 line are going to be the best yet. The question I have is what forced Nike to finally pick performance over gimmicks on a consistent basis? Is it slight competition from UA this year or is the sneaker buying community finally voting with their dollars. This was the first year I saw more guys in the gym hooping with UA over Nike.

  14. Are you worried at all about the durability of the flywire? I’m afraid that it will break pretty easily and the the whole shoe will be ruined because that’s what anchors your foot to the shoe and holds the strap. Do you see this being a problem? Thanks in advance and keep up the good work

  15. I can either get these, the superfly 3 po, and hyperevs 2015. Which should I get? I’m an explosive point guard that shoots, find ,and does a lot of dribbling

  16. Night, have had a pair of Soldier 6s since they came out and you gave them great reviews, and those were some of my favorite shoes the last several years outside of my Kobe 6s. Might have to check these out when they drop, was thinking about picking up a pair of Clutchfit Drives but now reconsidering. Thanks as always for the great reviews

  17. Hi Nightwing, I wanted to ask you about basketballs, I know it’s off the topic, but I don’t know where else to ask, sorry about that. So I just bought a basketball yesterday, It’s nike versa tack indoor/outdoor, I noticed how heavy it is compared to my old bald basketball, so the question is: Is it normal for a new ball to be heavier? Does it has something to do with materials?(my old basketball is an outdoor ball made from rubber). Thank you

  18. Hey nightwing, your performance reviews are on point, however a quetion if I may, any idea where to cop this pair of shoe?

  19. You mentioned the Icons in your AJXX review, I’m looking forward to buy a pair
    Could you make a review on these, i would really appreciate it
    As always awesome review Nightwing

  20. Hey, awesome review! I’m planning on buying this one, and I’m wondering about the size because this is my first basketball shoe. My foot size is 9~9.5 And is it ok if I go 9.5?

  21. Great review as always. Hope to see a KD8 review very soon, there is quite a buzz about this shoe. But your reviews are the only ones that I consistently value.
    thank you!

  22. Hey nightwing are these a tight shoe to wear? I use 15 on my hyperdunk14 and lebron 12. Please reply thanks!

  23. Hi nightwing quick question you said that these have the best traction out of all the shoes you’ve tested in 2015, i just wanna know how these compare to the kobe 9 or aj 28 what you said are your favorite traction setups ever. Thanks if you reply

  24. This is the tightest sz 11 shoe I’ve ever worn and without even lacing it up! I’m even already wearing 1.5 sz bigger than my TTS to accommodate my wide feet. Amazing!

    1. im looking to buy these. are you saying to order +1.5?
      ive read other reviews that said true t size is ok for wide feet

  25. Just got these in. The fit is…too good. I don’t even have the straps on tight and the shoe cuts off circulation to my foot. I’m hoping it stretches out more because it seems almost unplayable if it doesn’t.

    It also seems like the laces are unnecessary. I could untie it and not feel a difference.

  26. On nike dot com the description of the Soldier 9 premium mention that they have something called HARG rubber outsole for the blacktop (same as the venomenons). The regular soldier 9 doesn’t mention that in the description but nike has been known to goof up their tech descriptions. Just wondering if you have any info about that since I only play outdoors on the grizzliest of courts.

      1. while the structure of each shoe is very similar with the same type of responsive cushioning and outsole patterns for traction, the Premium version is a more updated version of the shoe, with the addition of higher side walls. Also this has the HAGR rubber, whilst the LE does not

  27. wasn’t sure I wanted these even after I tried them on and felt how awesome the zoom is, but when the traction got a hof as well I pretty much pooped myself.

  28. How is the traction durability on this shoe (on both outdoor and indoor)? If the traction durability last quite a while… Wow, nike should make more shoe like this…

  29. I was just wondering, if these weigh 14.08 oz. in a 9.5(if I’m not mistaken that’s your shoe size) how much would they weigh in a 10.5, the reason I’m asking is because I was wondering if the weight of the shoes keeps you from jumping as high

  30. Hey nightwing, great review but I have a question. You see, I was lucky enough to get the 2013 hyperdunk for 40 bucks a few weeks ago and I saw your review for those. Base on your review using the badges you use today, would those have received 3 hall of fame badges? Also the white and black premium soldiers are nice lol

    1. Hall of Fame badges are only given to shoes that would exceed a 10, which the HD do not. They’d likely have Starting 5 badges though due to their exceptional performance attributes.

  31. Thanks for the reply. Man, I couldn’t pass on them for 40 dollars though although now the soldier 9’s are 110 at footlocker for the regular and premium…

  32. I have tested in the indoor court , but there’s no teaction
    Everytime a crossover , this lebron soldier slipped away. And my foot feel hurt near front strap.

    1. I am also curious about traction on dusty indoor courts? Anyone got some experience? Are these better than drose 4.5 traction wise?

  33. On nike’s website are 3 different types of 9’s regular, premium and team, maybe the sole has diferent compounds on some types

  34. Hi guys, please help me. My girlfriend really loved the pink version of this shoes but she wears 24 cm and there only are available in grade school size. Is there any difference with adult size? Cheers!!!

  35. I have customized insoles from my podiatist because my feet are flat so it helps with the arch. im a big guy. do u think these would be better for me or the hyperdunks 15?

  36. I just played on these for the first time on court. My only question is about the break in time on the traction. I didn’t notice I was slipping until coach had us run sprints. It was a struggle to get that squeeking sound to come up when I struck my foot on the ground. So how many hours of play do you think it will be before they’re fully broken in

  37. I tried these on and I’m not getting the hall of fame traction you mentioned. It was consistent on multiple courts but I didn’t get that bite I got with other shoes. Did you have to break in the traction? or if the premium version have different rubber?

  38. Just tested first time in play Zoom Soldier 9 Data color, comparing them immediately with Zoom Soldier 6 on the same court(indoor) – traction on the 6 is better by a mile. Where the six bites ferociously, the 9 is just slipping a bit. On the other side – foot support and lock down is AWESOME on the 9. Probably one of the best fit and lock I have experienced(and I have seen A LOT – my first pair of shoes was AJ7…not retro!). The flight wire works great with the straps foot is like planted. Comparing to 6, the nine rides a bit higher of the ground, has more cushion, but is not that springy. If NIKE had spliced the Soldier 6 outsole and cushion and the nine upper and strap system – that would be top performer!
    Have to test them outdoors, but this will happen next year spring.

  39. As another poster mentioned, I’m not sure what kind of shoes you’re comparing these to, but the traction isn’t as good as my Jordan All Days (my go to shoe). The traction is ok, but it reminds me of a crappy pair of UA shoes that I tried. Nothing compares to a good herringbone pattern shoe like the All Days. I also found that these shoes had great lockdown, but they also rubbed my heal. Unfortunately, I can’t hardly find any more Jordan All Days, and I’m sick of almost all of the new releases having at least one major fault.

  40. I play indoors and I’ve wore these three times. The first time these were extremely slippery so I figured maybe they need to get the first layer of “shine” off the soles. They are still extremely slippery so I’m having a hard time reconciling this review with my experience. Everything else other than traction I agree with. I’ve had 6 pairs of the Zoom Soldier 6 and those have amazing traction. To compare then to these, I wore the VI on my left foot and the IX on my right. The IX had no grip relative to the VI. Should I give up out will these somehow gain traction?

  41. Here’s my review about the traction.

    30 seconds remaining, ball game is tied, both teams are in penalty, dropped to the floor, tried to stand up and defend, suddenly slipped ala Brandon Knight, bumped my head to his butt, foul called, drained two free throws, lost.

  42. As always, great review Nightwing. I did the opposite of what you did and played indoors first and found the traction to be disappointing. It felt like there was a weird coating on the rubber that stopped it from gripping the floor. I took them outdoors to kinda “scrape” all that off, and the next time I took them indoors, the traction was amazing. It took about 3 hoop sessions (about 9 hours of grueling play) to really break mid-soles in, and now that they are, it feels really comfy. Also, I did what you did and accidentally got a pair that was a half size up, and was able to fit a pretty decent-sized ankle support into that tight upper. Hope this helps- if anyone is still looking at this shoe.

  43. Great review. I came here too say these are honestly one of the best feeling shoes I’ve ever put on. The traction is crazy and for a guy with weak ankles I love the straps. No break in time what so ever. The shoe feels like I’m playing with nothing on I don’t have too worry about wiping or if it’s too loose or too tight. I’ve played in hyper fuses, dunks and super fly 4s and these are my favorite. If you can find for under 100 it’s a must buy.

  44. Nightwing
    Very good reviews just a question

    Is it okay for outdoor courts because i would use them a lot because iam the feeder or bowler of my team.
    Pls do reply.


  45. RE TRACTION. For everyone who had a problem with the traction, play outside at least once and then try them again indoors. It really wakes up the rubber, and after being roughed up a bit it grabs hardwood like crazy. Good luck!

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