Cushioning – Boost vs Black Foam vs Unlocked Zoom vs Phylon Encased Zoom

*Quick Note: I used to own the Lebron Xs with Max Zoom, but I gave them away to a league teammate because I was not heavy enough to fully activate the Zoom and obtain court feel. If I acquire a pair of KD 9s on discount, I’ll create some kind of updated cushioning post =D

Alright, to be clear right off the bat, this is my own personal top cushioning list and specific to my needs. My needs include: a springy/responsive ride (think mini trampolines under-foot), court feel and impact protection. I’m still on a quest to one day – just maybe – get a windmill dunk down!

*Just for reference, this is where I’m at now and it took about 6 months of strength training with a slight period of injury at the 4 month mark (sprained pcl).  

Continuing on, here are a set of pictures below in the order, I believe, of best cushioning to least best (because it’s still better than rubber alone).


Unlocked Zoom: Keeping it short and sweet, Unlocked Zoom is springy. These follow Newton’s third Law of Motion to the ‘T’. Not only does the Zoom right underfoot return energy, it feels like like a bounced energy – perfect for my needs.


Boost: Pillow-y best describes Boost in my opinion. I utilize Boost on days that I want my joints to feel at ease. To further explain, Boost may not be obvious when first stepping in; but, running/jumping/cutting are all cradled by this extremely comfortable cushioning.


BlackFoam: Very Micro G-like (referring to my pair of Steph’s PE Clutchfit Drives in the white colorway) in the sense of being spongy. So, extremely good landing impact protection and great court feel because the BlackFoam compresses after impacts.


Phylon Encased Zoom: To be honest, this shoe never felt springy to me. The phylon was always a little too dense (even after breaking in) to really get any sliver of Unlocked Zoom feeling. Still good, but I play in these when I don’t feel like jumping at full potential.