While not the best guard option on the market, the Lebron Soldier 14 is a large, hefty shoe perfect for players who emphasize stability, cushion, and protection as part of their game. Read my detailed review below to learn more about the pros and cons of this basketball shoe.
- Where to Buy: Amazon, Nike
- Best for: Big men, especially centers or strong power forwards, who want stability. Players looking for a tough, larger shoe.
- Pros: Excellent support. Large forefoot Zoom unit creates a lot of comfort. Extensive and supportive cushion. Durable and lightweight. Strong lockdown.
- Cons: Heel cushion, while functional, is a bit stiff. Traction is inconsistent. On the bulky side.
- Alternatives: Embiid 1 , Precision 4, Air Shake NDestrukt
Why Trust Me
I spent over twenty five years playing basketball at nearly every level. As such, I also have worn a ton of shoes. I know what qualities make a pair good for the court, good for outdoors, and not that good at all.
The ability to properly break down basketball footwear allowed me to conduct the extensive research and in-depth analysis needed to understand the Lebron Soldier 14.
Detailed Review of Lebron Soldier 14
Overall, the Soldier 14 is a comfortable shoe that never feels too stuffy or tight. The heel cushion isn’t the best, and the entire design gets in the way every now and then, but those are small issues compared to the way the lightweight feel works with the tough shell.
The shoe is stable, and the solid traction is perfect for larger players who need some extra toughness. Post players who need perfect footwork down on the block will love such traits, as will tough guards who take a lot of contact while driving.
The Soldier 14, as with so many other Lebron shoes, has a lot of padding. That’s great for the comfort. You get a lot of forefoot cushion thanks to the Zoom, which runs throughout the entire shoe. That not only feels good walking around, it provides plenty of impact protection too.
Where some shoes pack on the cushion at the expense of breathability, the Soldier 14 has a surprising amount of built-in airflow. You will still get hot if you’re really going for a long time, but they never get as hot or as stuffy as you might expect.
Unfortunately, it’s not all great. While the cushion throughout the shoe and the forefoot works well, the heel Zoom unit is not up to the same standard. It’s fine, but there’s a certain amount of rigidity and stiffness that’s less than ideal. It doesn’t have a lot of give either.
Toughness is another area where the Soldier 14 goes above and beyond. It comes with a thin woven material. Though that’s usually not ideal in terms of durability, it works wonders here. The upper has a lot of inherent strength that holds up quite well regardless of where you play.
In addition, the base has a lot of stability. Where some shoes are only tough up top, the Soldier 14 has a lot of strength at the base that allows you to push off or dig in. That’s one of the reasons it works so well for power players who want to solidify their position in the paint.
Following in the same vein as the above traits, the Soldier 14 holds your foot tight. It’s a larger sneaker, but still manages to give you a great combination of lateral containment and strong forefoot lockdown. Your shoe won’t go anywhere with these on.
Not only does that reduce discomfort, it ensures you don’t have any support problems either. The entire sneaker does a solid job of keeping your foot steady and reducing any unnecessary twists during quick movements. Guards will especially love what those traits offer.
The Soldier 14’s grip doesn’t quite match up to its other aspects. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but that it’s not as good as it could be. On the surface, it does its job. You get a decent amount of grip and the traction pattern, which is similar to past models, holds onto the floor.
Even so, you won’t get that same reliability on a dusty or dirty court. You won’t have too many issues on the blacktop or driveway, but you’re going to slide on gym floors. Be prepared to wipe quite a bit in such situations, especially if you’re out there for a long time.
Fit and Feel
When it comes to fit, the Soldier 14 is just ok. It’s a comfortable shoe, but the toe box may be a bit snug for those with larger feet. In addition, the one-booty upper does make them a bit trickier to put on that many will like.
Still, there’s a surprising amount of sleekeness to the shoe’s design. The Soldier is by no means small, but it’s still on the lighter side. That’s an impressive combination that many players will appreciate when they need to get an extra step during a defensive stand or tough drive.
What I Like
There are many good parts of the Soldier 14, but my favorite is the comfort. The shoes just feel good to wear. The cushion is plush without ever getting too tight on your feet, while the spring stays consistent. They’re easy to put on and you get plenty of air-flow to cut down on rubbing.
Beyond that, the sneakers have a lot of impact protection. You can land as hard as you want on just about any surface without getting any lasting pain or discomfort.
There’s a lot of support built into the shoe as well. While the traction could be better, it actively reduces slippage and the interior comes with enough lockdown to reduce injuries. That’s good enough for me.
What I Dislike
If I have one complaint about the Soldier 14 it’s the traction. Though it’s functional, it’s still pretty inconsistent. That can be annoying, especially for players who need extra versatility. I don’t mind the pattern overall, but I just wish it held up or had more give on dusty surfaces.
I wish the shoe was a bit slimmer as well. As with most Lebrons, it has a lot of material. That’s never going to bother big men or players with larger feet, but it can get in the way when you’re trying to maneuver into the paint.
If you want something that’s like the Soldier 14 but brings new or different aspects to the table, check out these shoes below or our basketball shoe reviews for more options.
1. Embiid 1
If you want a large shoe that has the durability and power to match the Soldier 14, the Embiid 1 fills a similar gap. The model comes with a special TPU wing to expand midfoot lockdown as well as tough, reliable grip. Add on the EVA sockliner and you get a shoe with a ton of strength.
2. Precision 4
The Precision 4, like the Soldier 14, is a larger shoe with a tough outsole and strong lockdown. However, it feels a lot sleeker. Not only is it lightweight, but the entire design never gets in your way on the court.
Many large shoes are bulky, but this model is anything but that. As such, it’s a great choice for players at all positions who need support and a stable base.
3. Air Shake NDestrukt
If you want a large shoe that doesn’t mince on stability, the NDestrukt delivers. This is like the Soldier 14 in that it’s tough and protective, but it goes above and beyond at locking your foot in place. You’ll never lose balance with it on, nor will you slide or slip around on the court.
Does the Soldier 14 work for Casual Wear?
Yes. The 14’s unique design and flashy look both work with a lot of different outfits and styles.
How Big Are These Shoes?
At 12.31 ounces, the Soldier 14 is not large in terms of weight. However, there’s a fair amount of material that causes some extra bulk.
Are These Good for Jumping?
The Soldier 14 has a good amount of bounce that provides some spring when you’re getting off the ground.
The Lebron Soldier 14 is a fully complete shoe. There’s a lot of bulk with the larger design, but you get a surprising amount of other traits. The cushion is reliable and springy, the construction tends to hold up, the sole is durable, and you get a lot of responsiveness too.
While not the best guard option on the market, the Lebron Soldier 14 is a large, hefty shoe perfect for players who emphasize stability, cushion, and protection as part of their game.