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Fit for a Prince: The Nike LEBRON 12 for Young Athletes

The LEBRON 12 for younger athletes has been thoughtfully engineered to address the specific needs of the Grade School, Pre-School, Toddler and Infant age groups as they grow in life and in basketball. 

"Across the range of LEBRON 12 shoes for young athletes we used Nike research to better understand the anatomy of the young athlete's foot  and focused on delivering performance not just style," said Michael Saranthakos, Nike's Senior Footwear Designer for Young Athletes."We're extremely proud of the whole range of LEBRON 12 for young athletes. They represent the kind of innovation and passion that is the hallmark of our commitment to inspire and improve all athletes." 


The Grade School version of the LEBRON 12 has been designed for the young basketball player who demands the best performance footwear available. Born of dedicated research, data capture and wear-testing with this age group, the Grade School LEBRON 12 is everything the young athlete needs and nothing more. 

Borrowing visual elements from the adult version there are five visible, hexagonally-shaped EVA foam cushioning units in the forefoot of the outsole to provide lightweight responsiveness where it's needed most. For the young athlete, Nike designers replaced the Nike Zoom Air bags with EVA foam to provide responsive cushioning that holds up to the rigors of daily use. 

A Nike Zoom Air bag in the heel delivers the great cushioning it is know for since first introduced to basketball footwear in 1995.

The lightweight Megafuse upper provides great stability and a locked-down feel. It has the added benefit of durability to handle general wear from home to school to the playground to the court. 

Traction is also an incredibly important feature and both the Grade School and Pre-School versions share a tacky clear rubber outsole with delta nodes to improve grip on a all surfaces.

The Grade School version has a standard tongue but uses a half-bootie construction for easier entry, versus full inner sleeve on the adult shoe. Hyperposite molded wings on the shoe deliver precise support to the ankle, and the shank in the mid-foot was adjusted to be less rigid so the younger athlete’s smaller foot can flex better. 


The physiological and physical realities of the Pre-School athlete require a rethink of how Nike innovation is applied to a basketball shoe that truly enables younger athletes as they learn the game.

The most important attribute is uncompromised flexibility. Kids need shoes that promote natural motion and support aggressive changes of direction and hard impacts consistent with learning and playing basketball.

The rigidity of the Hyperposite wing was modified to be more flexible while retaining the aesthetic of the LEBRON 12. The phenomenal traction offered by a full rubber outsole is carried over from the larger versions and the Megafuse upper provides the same great support and durability.


The Toddler-sized LEBRON 12 continues to use the durable and lightweight Megafuse upper found on the Grade School and Pre-School sizes as well as laces for a locked-down fit.

The new shape of the footbed for the toddler LEBRON 12, including a visibly wider forefoot, went through rigorous development to meet the support needs of this age and size range 

The outsole uses a full rubber cup sole instead of foam to enhance flexibility and provide superb traction on all surfaces.


Infant sizes 1C to 4C, also called crib booties, are for the youngest athletes between one month and 18 months old. 

The design of the Infant LEBRON 12 features materials specifically chosen to provide comfort, breathability and maximum flexibility for those early months that involve learning to crawl and walk.

A hook-and-loop closure gives a great fit and makes sure the shoes stay on, and the booties celebrate the visual elements of the adult LEBRON 12.


The initial seven LEBRON 12 colorways are inspired by James’s game, physical attributes, and the analysis that went into the development of his latest signature shoe: 

LEBRON 12 NSRL – James wasn’t made in a lab, but he is made better by Nike’s research, testing and analysis. The LEBRON 12 lead colorway reflects the process of turning data into design to create superior performance footwear. Launch: Oct. 1 in China; Oct. 11 globally.

LEBRON 12 Heart of a Lion – James has demonstrated the courageous heart of a lion while being tested both physically and mentally over his 11-year professional career. Launch: Oct. 30.

LEBRON 12 Dunk Force – Inspired by the power of James’s statement tomahawk dunk and equated to the speed and force of a helicopter rotor blade. Launch: Nov. 11.

LEBRON 12 Instinct – James’s keen 20/20 eyesight combined with his uncommon speed and agility translates to pinpoint, instinctual decisions, much like the way a hummingbird sees and navigates. Launch: Nov. 22.

LEBRON 12 Six Meridians – A key component of James’s training recovery and preparation is massage therapy. The ancient Chinese practice of reflexology releases energy to different points of the body, or meridians, when massaging pressure points in the feet and hands. Launch: Nov. 29.

LEBRON 12 Trillion Dollar Man – Are we looking at the athlete of the future today in LeBron James? Inspired by James’ legendary work ethic and physical gifts combined with Nike’s finest performance technology. Launch: Dec. 1.

LEBRON 12 Data – James is arguably the most dominant player in the game today, with the statistics to support that claim. Launch: Dec. 20.

The LEBRON 12 will be available in both adult and young athlete sizes globally on and at select retail locations. It is available for customization on beginning Oct 6.