Written by Gerald Flores
Photos by TeamYulia

It’s one of Nike Basketball’s most technologically advanced sneakers, made specifically for one of the game’s most dominant players. The Nike LeBron 12 is set to drop in time for fall hoops, and there’s a lot of tech that went into the sneaker’s design and stories behind its aesthetics. Here’s a rundown of every detail you should know about LeBron James latest signature shoe.

Scientific cues are found throughout the design of the Nike LeBron 12. The shoe itself is a culmination of years of data analysis from LeBron in the Nike sports research lab and it’s celebrated in small cues on the heel tab, sockliner, and tongue.

Lead designer Jason Petrie took the science theme literally when they first presented LeBron with the 12th sneaker. The design team dressed up in lab coats and pulled the first samples out of a box that looked like a radioactive container. It was also filled with dry ice (for that cinematic Back to the Future effect).

There’s a hidden message on every heel tab and tongue of the Nike LeBron 12. The numbers on one side of the heel tab stand for the zip code of Beaverton, Ore. – where Nike’s headquarters are located. Letters on the other side of the heel tab stand for the “Nike Genome Project” with the signature sneaker’s storyline underneath it.

While the sneaker was in its final stages of production, there was still a question of what team LeBron James would end up signing in free agency. As a result, designers chose colorways that we specific to LeBron’s personal story instead of one’s tied to a specific team.

But, there’s still some hints of LeBron’s old jersey #6 in some colorways that weren’t able to scrubbed off in time of production.

Like the LeBron 11, this latest model features Hyperposite. But unlike the LeBron 11, the Hyperposite is strategically placed as wings on the sides of the shoe for lockdown, instead of in the forefoot and toebox-  one of LeBron’s requests after not being able to wear the 11 as much as he wanted. Also cut the weight of the shoe. 

Zoom Air isn’t anything new to the Nike LeBron line. But the way it’s used in the LeBron 11 is. Instead of one Zoom Air unit in each shoe, it’s utilized in five independent, hexagonal-shaped units. Mapped to the pressure points of LeBron’s foot, the reasoning for the outsole was to enhance courtfeel. The tech took four years to develop and the LeBron 12 also marks the first time that hex-shaped zoom air units are being used in a Nike basketball shoe.  

Another first for Nike Basketball shoe that’s being debuted in the LeBron 12 is Megafuse in the upper. As the next iteration of Nike’s Hyperfuse technology, Megafuse uses less layers to lighten up the weight, but is more durable than Hyperfuse because of the enhancements on the top layer.

LeBron has admitted that his logo is his favorite part of the shoe. He also rides around the Nike campus in a golf cart with his logo on it.

The player first started testing the shoe during the 2014 NBA Playoffs and he's been working out in the shoe at full-game speed the past four weeks.

The lead colorway for the LeBron 12- NSRL- drops globally on Oct. 11 in the U.S. for $200 in both adult and youth sizes. The sneaker will also be available on NikeID on Oct. 6. More release dates here.

LeBron hasn't decided which colorway he'll start off the NBA season with, but he said he will try to get away with wearing the NSRL colorway during the pre-season. "I got to talk to Adam Silver about that. We’ve got some rules that go on in our league, so we’ll see. I might try to get away with it in the pre-season," he said.