This is the third straight year that Nike constructed two separate signature sneakers for LeBron for the same NBA year: one for the regular sneaker and one of the playoffs. The LeBron IX Elite as a sneaker has engrained its place in history as being the first sneaker LeBron James wore to an NBA title. Its only right that the incredibly rare ‘NBA Championship’ colorway from the ‘Championship Package’ makes the list.
adidas made all the necessary improvements from the original Crazy Light like improved cushioning and a more ridged SprintFrame midsole; miCoach compatibility was added as well to help track player statistics. When it comes to adidas, I love anything in the bright Electricity colorway and the 3M hits on the heel Stripes branding make this sneaker that much better. Seeing Baylor and all the participants of the 2012 McDonalds All-American Game rock these was a good look.
A sneaker that looks more suited for big men but seen on several NBA point guards this season is the Spine Bionic from Under Armour. There is a tremendous amount of court feel on this sneaker despite the thick midsole. For players that prefer UA Basketball sneakers, this is what they wore this year. Look for a lower-cut version like the one seen on NBA Team Armour players like Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker to drop next year.
The luxury materials used on the upper helps keep the upper looking the way it did right when you took these out of the box for the first time. Being available for purchase only in a single adidas store in Chicago and the SoHo area of NYC meant that chances of seeing someone else in a pair of these are slim to none.
As the premiere name in reflective basketball sneakers, Under Armour dropped in limited numbers after being debuted during the weekend of the 2012 Elite 24. With ventilation being a problem in previous Under Armour basketball sneakers, the mesh tongue is a step in the right direction.
The first Hyperdunk with Lunarlon foam also was the first sneaker to have the revamped Nike+ technology which helps track in-game stats like the distance run and vertical leap. Debuted during the Olympic Games this past summer in London, new features like the Dynamic Flywire system is an example of the improvements made to this sneaker from when the first Hyperdunk was unveiled at the ’08 Olympic Games.
The newest version of Hyperfuse was introduced on this sneaker that boasted a 5/8ths cut first seen in the Jordan series on the Jordan III. For cushioning, Lunarlon foam is used in the forefoot while Zoom Air is seen in the heel. At the time of release, this was the best non-signature Jordan Brand performance basketball sneaker available and an argument could be made that this was the best of the year. The Jordan Super.Fly is just that good.
A great combination of materials is seen on the M8 Advance like the updated Hyperfuse, patent leather, and synthetic nubuck. Just like with the original Melo M8, a Zoom Air unit is used int he forefoot of the sneaker. Even though Carmelo is ready to make the switch to the new Melo M9; the M8 Advance should still be a footwear option since he only started to wear them during the Olympic Games.
Definitely the most unique silhouette of not only this list but 2012, the way the Under Armour Charge BB performs should be talked about just as much as the shape is. The whole point of the extremely high collar is so the articulated heel in the back is to provide protection while preventing injury. If you took a low top sneaker and attached ankle braces to it, you would get the Charge BB.
This might be the most underrated pair on this list but the adiZero Rose 2.5 doesn’t get the shine it deserves. The adidas SprintWeb tech was perfected on this sneaker providing a great balance of strength, ventilation, and weight reduction at the same damn time. My favorite feature about this sneaker is the subtle nod to the previous Chicago Bulls MVP before Derrick Rose. Just like with Jordan’s fourth sneaker, a cookie-and-cream type of print was used on the midsole; same with this sneaker. Just like with Jordan’s fourth sneaker, the black colorway debuted during the NBA playoffs; same with this sneaker. Coincidence? I think not.
Arguably the most technically advanced sneaker on this list, the signature sneaker designed for LeBron James’ tenth NBA season is an example of how basketball sneakers in 2012 should be constructed. Despite the fact that this sneaker is on the heavier side, the LeBron X is still very nimble on the court like the player who they are named after.
If anyone asked me the best basketball sneaker of the year, the CP3.VI is my hands down choice. It is closest thing to the perfect basketball sneaker I have ever laced up. I have hundreds of pairs, and play ball in dozens of different sneakers a year and this is the clear performance winner. The feature I want to highlight on the CP3.VI is the deep herringbone pattern used on the outsole that provides excellent traction on both indoor and outdoor courts. Having four deep flex grooves in the outsole help the foot to move naturally when sprinting and making cuts. Of all the great colorways to drop, the ‘Georgetown’ edition from the cement pack was my favorite.