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Adidas Harden Vol. 3 Performance Review

At a recent media event held in Houston, James Harden took questions from a group of reporters during an appearance at the Adidas store at The Galleria mall. Harden had been ruled out of the Rockets’ next two games at practice earlier that day, but was in good spirits when it came to discussing his latest signature shoe, the Adidas Harden Vol. 3. He took particular pride when asked about his level of involvement in the design.

“From materials, to the way it looks, to the colorways—everything,” Harden revealed regarding the process. “Business emails, conference calls, the Adidas team flying out to Houston or wherever I am, to when I’m in Portland going over it—it’s a lot. It’s a dope process to create and design your own shoe.”

Based on Harden’s unique style of play and innovative offensive game, it makes sense that he’d want to take a hands-on approach to the design. He might not have the experience in making shoes that the Adidas team has, but does have direct knowledge of what he needs in a shoe when it comes to things like creating space. “Your footwork, and how fast you can stop and go, how fast you change directions—it’s extremely important for my game,” Harden said. “That’s one of the main keys I have to have in my shoe.”

With that in mind, if the Harden Vol. 3 doesn’t perform, it falls squarely on him. For better or worse, it’s the shoe that he wanted. Can James Harden add sneaker designer to his MVP resume?

Hover over the dots for a full performance review.

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Fit

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Ankle Support

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Cushioning

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Traction

I can’t say that the Harden Vol. 3 excites me from an aesthetic, storytelling, or innovation standpoint in the way that a reigning MVP’s signature shoe maybe should, but in the only area that actually matters when it comes to a true hoops shoe—performance—it’s a standout. It checks all the boxes for comfort and fit, and does so at a relatively affordable $140 price point.

Don’t let its throwback design and construction fool you either—innovation for the sake of innovation has a tendency to have a bigger impact on a shoe’s price than its performance. The Vol. 3 may not do any new tricks, but it does refine some of the best existing practices, and brings them together for what’s probably my favorite air jordan 1 shoe since 2011’s original Crazy Light.

At that same media event, Harden explained that when he steps away from the game one day, he wants his line to be remembered for “how authentic it was.” He went on to say that that for others, it may just be putting their name on something that already exists, but for him, “It’s really me. I’m really putting the work in for this. That’s what makes it authentic and real. When you’re authentic and real, that lasts longer than anything else—not just in the shoe business, but in life.”

The Harden Vol. 3 is an easy recommendation based on value, but it’s also a great shoe, period. I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the reigning MVP’s latest signature, and if his involvement is all he says it is, then apparently we have him to thank for it.

nike kd 8 viii elite performance review

I did not like last year’s KD 7 Elite because I didn’t feel it embodied KD and his playing style. That and it was super stiff and had some serious heel slip just like the non elite pair. This year’s elite model actually looks like KD 11 with the long extended compression sock. Can it make me ball like him too?

Here is my original review for the KD8

KD 8 Review

Pros: traction, full length Zoom, fit, stability, nice materials upgrade

Cons: hard to put on, compression sock gets hot (although it is the purpose), Signature Zoom feel isn’t quite there, forefoot shell takes time to break in, lace pressure, pricey

Sizing: true to size (I went up half size with non elite), super wide footers may want to go up half size

Best for: guards but stable enough for bigger players.

Weight:

1 ounce difference due to materials and extra long ankle sock . The half size difference has a minimal effect on weight. Still very light regardless.

By the way, the box is enormous

Traction

Same rubber as before and works the same as before. Wiping is required but not like Kobe XI or anything remotely close to that.

Cushioning

Same set up as the non elite. If you didn’t like the non elite set up, you won’t like this one.

The plastic clips on the lateral side are in place to keep the Zoom stable and firm for cuts. Although this takes away from the feel of Zoom, it has a functional purpose of keeping the player stable on cuts.

Above: you can see the articulated Zoom in the forefoot

Below: articulated heel

Nike claimed they articulated the Zoom for enhanced flexibility but I really couldn’t tell a difference. Just a standard Zoom would have worked just as well or better. Let’s see how the KD9 works up in a few months.

Fit

I went half a size up with the regular KD and went true to size with these. I’m guessing that the materials and “forefoot shell” allow the shoe to fit a bit longer and wider at the toe box. If you have really really wide feet I suggest trying half a size up.

Left is size 11 and right is 11.5. I know it’s hard to see any difference in size just by looking at outside of shoe but just shows how similar in size they are.

Is the shoe hard to put on?

Yes, have you tried to put a condom on your foot?
I was literally sweating after putting these on the first few times but I figured out a decent way to get them on but needed to be sitting down. You can also pull the ends like a sock and slip into the shoe. The sock itself seems to be very durable.

Thankfully, all that sweat and effort is worth it as these are really a sock with a sole. You can see the little ankle pads in the compression sock in the pic above. These pillows sit higher up the Achilles than the regular KD and do a good job locking the heel in. I noticed my socks were soaked in sweat at the ankle and above due to the compression sock. I didn’t notice it until after playing but just something to note.

You can even fold it down but I think they look worse

The upper of the KD 8 was redesigned and is now a one piece upper composed of mesh with a synthetic shell at the forefoot

If you look closely at the pics you can see the Flywire throughout the shell. The shell is very similar to the Flywire upper found on the Kobe IV so it is plasticky and needs break in (it is thinner overall though). Nike states they are Kevlar which is nice to see them use again. Personally I don’t mind a little break in time but it isn’t as natural feeling as the Flyweave on the regular 8. Not a deal breaker for me but I know some people prefer knit uppers.

I had some lace pressure problems at the top eyelet the first few times but it went away as I played. The regular KD didn’t have this issue because the tongue was nicely padded.

The way the plastic straps come around the top help with the lockdown.

Support and Stability

The sock doesn’t do anything in regard to support; it is only there for proprioception purposes and to keep the ankle warm.

The rest of the shoe is very stable as I said in my air jordan 1. Probably one of the most stable low tops I’ve ever worn. The whole design of the shoe seemed to be centered around taking pressure off the forefoot especially after KD’s Jones fracture surgery. I never felt unstable in these or the non elites due to the wide sole design and heel counter

Containment

Despite having a Flyweave upper, the non elite KD did a great job with lateral containment and the same holds true for the Elites. I never felt my foot slide out of the footbed even on hard cuts or change of direction. Well done Nike!

Conclusion

The past few years Nike didn’t really make any “upgrades” with the Elite models, but this year’s KD8 Elite feels like a step up in terms of materials and looks. As far as performance, I don’t feel they are much of a step up; marginally better lockdown in the heel but stiffer forefoot make it a wash. Nothing really stood out with the Elite versus the regular KD 8 aside from the compression sock. Even KD himself is wearing the regular KD8 during the the Thunder’s playoff run.

In all honesty, I feel the Elite series of shoes is just a way for Nike to create new sales since the NBA season is almost over and the regular pairs have been sitting on shelves for over six months. By creating a new sales cycle sooner, shoe sales have shallower and shorter valleys (very smart move). Since the price difference isn’t exorbitant like prior years, it really comes down to looks and I think these are much better looking than the non elites. Expect these to drop in price because I know a lot of people aren’t digging the high cut look. $90-120 is what I expect these to get down to in price.

Nike Pippen II 2 Retro Peformance Analysis and Review

*Sorry I struck out again with the Kobe I Protro. Lebron Solider XII next possibly . Sorry been really busy*

You know it’s hard out here for a Pippen (Pippen ain’t easy is so passé… and if you don’t know that song, go watch Hustle and Flow, you won’t regret it)

As I continue my shoe purge, I pulled these retro Nike Air More Uptempo’s out of the closet and decided to start using them them again. I never really “analyzed”what made them special but after studying what’s under the hood, I understand why I loved them so much back in the day. Twenty years later, shoes can say they look different but not many can say they are better.

Pros: traction, true to the OG Zoom, fit, support, stability, containment

Cons: leather needs break in? Some wiping needed on dusty floors

Sizing: true to size

Best for: any position

Weight: 16 ounces which is about an ounce more than average for a modern mid. Twenty years and shoes have only shed an ounce of weight in most cases.

Traction

So simple and efficient. Full herringbone with a nice pliable rubber compound. Even a top 50 of all time player didn’t get story telling on his shoe. There are no stories about Scottie and his grandma or the zip code of his old house, just a normal herringbone pattern.

These work almost as well as the Curry 5 with minimal wiping and stick to the floor traction when clean. They do need an occasional wipe of dusty floors though due to the flat “outline” around the outsole.

Cushioning

Zoom in the heel and forefoot with no break in? Sounds good to me.

These actually have the almost same forefoot Zoom set up as the OG Air jordan 13 which explains why I love this cushioning set up so much. The XIV has four sections while these seem to “only” have three. Amazingly, this 2006 retro pair has the same set up as the OG while the Jordan XIV retros do not. Cheaping out JB, who’s the CEO of JB?

These feel awesome from the get go and still haven’t popped or deflated so yea, I’m sticking with these for a bit. I’d be really shocked if Nike retros these again and keeps the same set up.

Fit

True to size or half a size down depending on preference. There is enough padding to adapt to your foot in case you’re off by half a size.

A one piece bootie with a outer shell? Wait, is this from 2018 or 1998?

Oddly the “bootie” doesn’t connect at the bottom of the shoe.

Check out how many eyelets there are. Ten!! Adidas, are you listening ? I’m not sure if you really need this many rows of eyelets but better safe than sorry and sure as hell better than five.

Zero issues with the fit. The bootie upper hugs the foot out of the box and the leather upper just conforms to your foot after break in. This design pretty much set the precedent for almost every shoe you see today except this was done twenty years ago.

Materials

Leather!!

I will say that today’s knits do not need the break in time that leather does and in this world of On Demand, people would not have the patience to wait on breaking in a shoe.

Even during break in with the stiffer leather, it didn’t affect my play. I’ve said it before but you have a lot of muscle and weight to push through a few millimeters of material.

You won’t see leather much nowadays since synthetics and knits are saving the planet (which is a great thing) while making shoe companies more profitable. There is always a caveat to saving the world I guess.

Support and stability

A mid with just enough mobility in the ankle. Sounds good to me

Midfoot support comes from a large plastic shank. In retrospect, Scottie deserved a carbon fiber shank.

No issues with stability due a wide flat base with no tippiness.

It’s slightly wider than the Curry 4 which is ultra stable.

Containment

Leather and that plastic rail runs almost across the entire shoe.

As you guess, no issues

Conclusion

Another old shoe that outperforms the majority of shoes today. But this time the shoe is twenty years old, not twelve. Sure it’s simplistic looking, almost on the verge of following the dad shoe trend but don’t let its looks deceive you, it plays like a beast after all these years. The Pippen II, the Uncle Drew of kicks. Don’t reach Youngblood!

These get a first team rating even after twenty years. And could it be more appropriate?

Nike Pippen II 2 Retro Peformance Analysis and Review

*Sorry I struck out again with the Kobe I Protro. Lebron Solider XII next possibly . Sorry been really busy*

You know it’s hard out here for a Pippen (Pippen ain’t easy is so passé… and if you don’t know that song, go watch Hustle and Flow, you won’t regret it)

As I continue my shoe purge, I pulled these retro Nike Air More Uptempo’s out of the closet and decided to start using them them again. I never really “analyzed”what made them special but after studying what’s under the hood, I understand why I loved them so much back in the day. Twenty years later, shoes can say they look different but not many can say they are better.

Pros: traction, true to the OG Zoom, fit, support, stability, containment

Cons: leather needs break in? Some wiping needed on dusty floors

Sizing: true to size

Best for: any position

Weight: 16 ounces which is about an ounce more than average for a modern mid. Twenty years and shoes have only shed an ounce of weight in most cases.

Traction

So simple and efficient. Full herringbone with a nice pliable rubber compound. Even a top 50 of all time player didn’t get story telling on his shoe. There are no stories about Scottie and his grandma or the zip code of his old house, just a normal herringbone pattern.

These work almost as well as the Curry 5 with minimal wiping and stick to the floor traction when clean. They do need an occasional wipe of dusty floors though due to the flat “outline” around the outsole.

Cushioning

Zoom in the heel and forefoot with no break in? Sounds good to me.

These actually have the almost same forefoot Zoom set up as the OG Air jordan 13 which explains why I love this cushioning set up so much. The XIV has four sections while these seem to “only” have three. Amazingly, this 2006 retro pair has the same set up as the OG while the Jordan XIV retros do not. Cheaping out JB, who’s the CEO of JB?

These feel awesome from the get go and still haven’t popped or deflated so yea, I’m sticking with these for a bit. I’d be really shocked if Nike retros these again and keeps the same set up.

Fit

True to size or half a size down depending on preference. There is enough padding to adapt to your foot in case you’re off by half a size.

A one piece bootie with a outer shell? Wait, is this from 2018 or 1998?

Oddly the “bootie” doesn’t connect at the bottom of the shoe.

Check out how many eyelets there are. Ten!! Adidas, are you listening ? I’m not sure if you really need this many rows of eyelets but better safe than sorry and sure as hell better than five.

Zero issues with the fit. The bootie upper hugs the foot out of the box and the leather upper just conforms to your foot after break in. This design pretty much set the precedent for almost every shoe you see today except this was done twenty years ago.

Materials

Leather!!

I will say that today’s knits do not need the break in time that leather does and in this world of On Demand, people would not have the patience to wait on breaking in a shoe.

Even during break in with the stiffer leather, it didn’t affect my play. I’ve said it before but you have a lot of muscle and weight to push through a few millimeters of material.

You won’t see leather much nowadays since synthetics and knits are saving the planet (which is a great thing) while making shoe companies more profitable. There is always a caveat to saving the world I guess.

Support and stability

A mid with just enough mobility in the ankle. Sounds good to me

Midfoot support comes from a large plastic shank. In retrospect, Scottie deserved a carbon fiber shank.

No issues with stability due a wide flat base with no tippiness.

It’s slightly wider than the Curry 4 which is ultra stable.

Containment

Leather and that plastic rail runs almost across the entire shoe.

As you guess, no issues

Conclusion

Another old shoe that outperforms the majority of shoes today. But this time the shoe is twenty years old, not twelve. Sure it’s simplistic looking, almost on the verge of following the dad shoe trend but don’t let its looks deceive you, it plays like a beast after all these years. The Pippen II, the Uncle Drew of kicks. Don’t reach Youngblood!

These get a first team rating even after twenty years. And could it be more appropriate?

adidas crazylight 2018 performance analysis review

This is a short and sweet review because the CLB 2018 is the 2016 version with a different upper material and less heel slip.

So a lot of people asked me to review this shoe but I chose to wait because I knew the 2018 was going to sit and I picked these up for $ 67.50 off during the Adidas 30% off sale. It really annoys me it when people say “Oh it’s $120 that’s a good deal” because it isn’t if you have just a little patience and understand supply and demand or if you just read my blog. Chinese heart attack is real people #aliwong

Pros: traction, cushioning, improved heel fit from 2016, stability, containment, one ounce lighter than 2016

Cons: cheaper feeling materials if you’re into that, some lace pressure at top eyelets

Sizing advice: runs long, same as the 2016, half a size down except wide footers

Best for: any position

Buying advice: $67.50 on sale and I’m happy. Bottom around $45-50 range Adidas did a poor job marketing and differentiating shoe

Weight

15 ounces which is one ounce lighter than the 2016 version. I’m guessing using the thinner mesh upper and less plastic shaved off that one ounce of weight.

Traction

Very similar to the 2016 but it did require some breaking in before it gripped like the 2016. The pattern is different but the result is the same. Very nice pliable rubber with very deep grooves.

Where did the all “important” Continental rubber go? Adidas must be reading my blog

So simple to do and execute but it’s barely down nowadays. Well done Adidas!!

Cushioning

Same as 2016 which is a good thing. Adidas has quietly firmed up the Boost in various shoes from 2016 to 2018 . DRose 6 was very soft, CLB16 and Rose 7 a little firmer, Harden V3 a little lower yet still comfortable, Harden V2 much firmer. This is a just nice blend just like the 2016. I think most players will like this set up.

Fit

These run long just like the 2016 and play even even longer by a touch because of of the thinner materials vs the 2016. I advise getting the same size you got in the 2016 especially wide footers.

I couldn’t go down half size due to wide feet so I had to stick with my normal 11. There is over a full thumb width at the toe which only took a little time to get used to. I think the majority of players will want to go down half a size

Eyelets

There is some lace pressure at the top eyelets so you have to adjust your lacing to get it right or wear thick socks. More padding would have helped

The biggest change from the 2016 to 2018 is a actually a very subtle change. Adidas basically did what I did with the CLB16 project and the stock heel fit is definitely improved. However it takes an hour or two to break in the midsole and plastic parts so it’s more flexible and starts to conform to your foot and heel.

If you just try these on in the store and walk around or don’t let them break in, you will be disappointed with the heel slip.

You can always accelerate the break in like I always do by bending them with your hands. The extra eyelets puts the top laces higher up along the foot so it helps pull the foot down AND back.

It isn’t quite kryie 5 lockdown in the heel since Nike tends to use denser/spongier and more padding that Adidas and UA but it is more than acceptable and very playable.

I’d also guess going down half a size would help even more but as I said earlier I need the width. (That’s what she said too)

As for the rest of the shoe, it fits well with a touch of dead space over the toe box

It doesn’t affect play at all either but I know shoe geeks are super anal (that’s what she said too!)

Materials

A stretchy mesh upper sounds like a my worst nightmare but this upper didn’t really let me down since they used a raised midsole in the forefoot and a pretty long heel counter to keep my foot from sliding around on hard cuts. In my article Why Knits Mesh Wovens don’t work, I spoke at length about why these mesh and knit uppers didn’t work and companies are actually implementing ways to contain the foot. For the most part, shoes like the Brandblack JC 2 and 3 which had no such raised midsole seem to be a thing of the past although it looks like the KD XI didn’t go that route. Of course it makes sense given KD’s penchant for sock like comfort.

Support and Stability

Same as the CLB16 so if those didn’t work out for you, these won’t either. Although the external heel counter is smaller than the 2016, Adidas put in an internal counter as well similar to what you find on Nike’s.

Not overly firm but still helpful.

Same exact plastic midfoot shank

Stability is exactly the same as the 2016 almost down to the forefoot nodules. Same width and notched in almost the exact same area.

Overall I had no issues with support and stability.

Containment

Another non issue just like the 2016. Raised midsole that runs along one third of the shoe.. Way to go Adidas !

Conclusion

So what’s the verdict? I think Adidas read my blog and fixed the issues the 2016 had when they could’ve done it right the first time. Four eyelets have increased to six while they moved the top eyelet back to where I put mine in the 2016.

I think for $67.50 it’s a great shoe that almost any player will enjoy but it does require a little break in time to get the most out of it. If you’re a fan of fancy named uppers, you will not like the CLB 18 but if you do like fancy names like Jacquard, buy the 2016 off eBay and poke some extra holes in it. They go for around the same price as the 2018 anyways.

Just like the modded Air More Uptempo, the fit is good but not great while everything else I enjoyed. Improve the fit a touch and you’d have a first team shoe but second team isn’t too bad either especially at $67.50.

adidas Crazy Explosive PK 2017 Performance Analysis Review

I know everyone and their mothers loved the Crazy Explosive 2016 last year but they just didn’t work for me due to the placement of the cored out section and thin Boost in the forefoot. I wasn’t very hopeful for the 2017 but some slight tweaks ( international or not) in the cushioning made my neuroma pain a little more tolerable. As for the rest of the shoe, I feel the 2017 is superior to the 2016 but not everyone will feel the same way. Luckily, you can still buy the 2016 for less.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stabilty, containment

Cons: shoe starts off stiff but breaks in quickly, outsole needs wiping on dusty floors, outsole prone to wear and peeling

Sizing: most players will want to go up half a size since these run slightly short and narrow. Wide footers will definitely want to go up at least half a size.

Best for: guards or lighter bigs

Buying Advice: wait, they made a lot and they aren’t going anywhere. $100 is fair and what I paid, $75-85 range should be the bottom. Finishline has them for $112.50 after one month.

Weight

16.5 ounces in an 11.5 US. Pretty much the same as last year.

Traction

Power Coral, Ready for action!

Same as last year. Works great on clean floors but requires a fair amount of wiping on dusty floors. More than acceptable but still not top tier since it doesn’t have that strong bite and needs wiping to stay glued to the floor. Also it is still prone to peeling and wear so not really recommended for outdoor use. Swap out the Rose 7 traction and you’d have a beast of a shoe.

Cushioning

Similar to but slightly better feeling for me than last year’s set up.

Last year the forefoot felt thin to me and I didn’t feel it much but this year feels better for me in the forefoot. The set up feels ever so slightly firmer than last year’s which is great for me since I don’t bottom out quite as much. If it wasn’t cored out exactly where my neuroma sat, I’d have no issue but oh well at least it’s tolerable this time.
Just like last year this ridge is where the Boost actually starts.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if it’s supposed to feel that way or if it’s Adidas’s quality control. I actually bought the Black White Neoprene pair last year and was planning on writing about the improved traction but got sidetracked and never did. I actually bought four different pairs of the same shoe and they all felt different; Some felt great in the heel while others felt stiffer than the rest. I’ve had similar experiences with other Boost models. Don’t get me wrong it feels great underfoot pretty much no matter what but they do feel different.

Okay back to the actual cushioning on the CE17. Overall, the cushioning is slightly stiffer than the 2016 but still feels good heel to toe. Forefoot is still thin feeling due to the heel toe drop as well as the Infinity Shank. Cushioning is still softer than the Harden Vol 1, Rose 6 (in the heel) and CLB16 but just not as wide of a margin as last year’s.

Sizing
For reference I went true to size with the 2016. With the 2017, wide footers should go up half a size maybe even a full size because these run tight. Regular and narrow footers can go true to size or half a size up as well because these run a little short. I advise regular and narrow to try them on if possible.

Fit

Yes a real improvement!!

Adidas finally got the shoe sock (SHOCK) trend right. The fit on the CE 17 is fantastic and really gives a one to one sock like feel. The HD 2016 FK had a similar idea but I had some heel slip in those due to the placement of the top eyelet. This is one of the big reasons the fit works is because Adidas actually put the top eyelet where I need it to pull my ankle back and keep it there. They also made five sets of eyelets this time around (I told y’all it was a dumb gimmick last year!)

Another reason the sock works well is because Adidas padded the sewn in tongue well and kept it elastic.

By keeping it elastic, it keeps the tongue from bunching up and allows it to actually fit like a sock.

Overall the fit is excellent, well done Adidas!

Materials

Primeknit is back again but it isn’t as soft and flexible like last year’s. If you liked the softness of last year’s Primeknit, buy last year’s. Forged Primeknit is what Adidas calls it and it’s basically Primeknit with “forged yarn” plus some light glue on 95% of the upper. Adidas left out the “forged” portions along the medial forefoot to allow it to flex more naturally. It takes only a few runs to get the upper to break in. No issues here for me but if you liked the Primeknit of the 2016 version, get the 2016 version.

Support and Stability

Support comes mostly from the fit and the internal heel counter. At first glance it looks like the CE 17 sock is just there for proprioception only but only the very top of the collar is sock like so you do get a touch of support if you call padding support. You can see how thick yet flexible the padding is below.

Thankfully stability is once again excellent on the Crazy Explosive thanks a large flat outsole, low ride and infinity shank. I’m not sure if Adidas firmed up the shank but the 2017 starts out much stiffer underfoot than 2016 but breaks in nicely.

Just like the Hyperdunk 2017, I feel the combination of flexibility around the ankle with a very stable base is the best of both worlds. Great job Adidas!

Containment

My dream come true !!

Look at that roll cage.. heel to toe coverage. Containment is fantastic on the CE17. Awesome job Adidas!

Conclusion
I am probably the only “reviewer” who didn’t give the Crazy Explosive 2017 tons of praise and love. I get all geeked out over new tech like everyone else but not if it doesn’t translate onto the court it’s a simple pass for me. The 2017 made minor tweaks to the 2016 formula and the result is a better performing shoe due to a better fit and containment. I think most players will enjoy these because it does everything well if not great and really gives the player an excellent one to one fit with a low to ground yet well cushioned ride. If the cored out section wasn’t cored out and traction was improved I’d undoubtedly love these (I am a traction lover what can I say).

And if you loved the Nike Air Foamposite 2019 them again. 2016 is soooooooooooooo long ago so it’s time to clear them out of inventory and make room for the newer models. If you ever wondered why I don’t like top ten lists for a calendar year, well that’s why. Limiting your kicks to what’s new for the season really confines you to what the manufacturers make and market for the year. Keep your eyes open and you won’t have to open your wallet as wide while getting the shoes you actually want.

Adidas Ball 365 Performance Review and Analysis

Last season, Adidas created the Ball 365 to cater to outdoor ballers. I was really excited last year about this shoe coming out but it was only available overseas and thanks to Adidas’s wanky sizing, I really didn’t want to spend $150 plus on a shoe that could be way too big or way too small. I guess I wasn’t the only one since no “reviewers” reviewed them.

Thankfully the new season is here and everything is on sale so I felt I could justify the risk for almost half the price. In hindsight I wish I didn’t.

Pros: traction, cushioning, decent fit, stability, containment, durable outsole

Cons: thick layers and use of Climawarm will suck for outdoor use during summer months, super thin tongue and dumb design leads to discomfort, some heel slip, rides a little high off the ground, pricey for what you get

Sizing: take a wild guess.. typical Adidas or is it atypical Adidas?

Best for: outdoor players who have to have Adidas

Buying Advice: buy something else

Weight:

Adidas likes to keep them over one pound I guess. Similar weight to the Rose line or CLB16.

Traction

Now this application of Continental rubber makes sense. During my test of Continental versus Regular, I felt Continental would be more durable especially outdoors so it makes sense to put these on the Ball 365. Works great outdoors and indoors as well. Not really much wiping required even on dusty floors indoors. This is the best part about the Ball365

Cushioning

Bounce wins the award for consistency. It has that distinct feel across a lot of different lines of shoes. These feel a little firmer than the Lillard 4 but still feel like Bounce.

I think this set up is great for outdoors even though it sits a little higher up than I’d like.

Sizing

Good thing I’m a good guesser..Before you read this, which way do you think sizing went ? True to size go up half a size go down half a size other? Tough question to answer isn’t it? Fix this issue Adidas.

Well I went half a size up just based on pictures and I was right. There is a lot of padding in the Ball 365 and it runs shorter and narrower than Adidas hoop shoes in general. I had a finger width of space from my biggest toe to the end of the toe box which is my preference and what podiatrists actually recommend.

Fit

In all honesty I wanted the mids but I couldn’t find a pair in my size for a good price. However these lows do a decent job in regard to fit. I had serious heel slip to start but after some workouts and runs the heel fit got better but never got truly locked in. The laces don’t sit high enough or far enough back for me and I really didn’t feel like poking more holes in shoes. Plus the design as a whole didn’t help either (more below). Yes, my feet are very fickle when it comes to lows that’s why I like mids because I usually have zero issues like this with them.

The lace “eyelets” are similar looking to the Rose 8 but the string is actually one continuous piece. If you break it you’re SOL

I could have gone down half a size and it would probably would have improved the fit but then the shoe would have been too tight.

No issues with movement side to side since these run pretty narrow. Overall, I find the fit to be slightly below average due to the heel fit. Miss would probably do a a better job on this department.

Materials

The Ball 365 is mostly just mesh similar to the Fusemesh of the Lillard 3. Nothing great but it feels right as an outdoor material. There is some protection around the toebox for toe dragging which is a plus but if you don’t drag on this spot get ready for some fraying or holes. More coverage across the forefoot would be ideal.

There is also a thick underlay of cloth which I believe is Climawarm but it doesn’t impede flexibility. It’s there to keep your feet warm during winter months while keeping them ultra moist during summer. Yuck

Climawarm -when you really want a bacteria farm growing in your shoes.

I get it’s called the Ball 365 as in 365 days a year but during the hot swamp as* summer this is not what you want at all. And during the winter months, your feet don’t need Climawarm because your feet naturally get hot. Trust me I’ve played hours upon hours of tennis during the winter months and keeping my feel warm was the very last thing I was worried about. Maybe next time throwing in a headband or ski mask would be better than Climawarm as a material in a shoe with no ventilation. One of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever seen unless I’m going skiing or hiking in the freezing cold.

Design

So yea ..about those TPS reports

Maybe I just need a explanation from engineers but this space makes no sense and give me lace pressure irritation and pain. I mean really why? Ventilation ? You have a super thin tongue covering the space so it can’t be for that.

This little thin tongue let’s me feel all the lace pressure I could ever want. And why is the tongue on top of the shoe ? It just looks like n extra piece of fabric.

That space doesn’t help with the fit either so it really makes little sense. Basically my foot foot acts as wedge some every time I run my ankle can push further and further into the “V” cutout making the fit worse with each step. If you’re going to keep my feet warm, a traditional tongue or bootie set up would have worked much better while keeping my feet nice and toasty.

Support and Stability

Support comes from the heel counter and fit so I had no issues with support. Those nubs do nothing except give the appearance of durability and to prepare you for battle with the Whitewalkers. See the Ball365 would be great when #winterishere #gameofthronesdork

Actually the real reason the nubs exist is to add accessories to the shoe but I thought we were done with shrouds and lace covers back in 2001.

Stabilty is good as well with an outsole similar to the Lebron 16. No tippiness in the heel either. Nice job overall Adidas!

Containment

Good containment since my foot sits well below the raised midsole. Sorry this is so brief, just want to finish writing this review.

Conclusion

I really liked that Adidas made an outdoor shoe basketball shoe since not everyone plays indoors. The Ball 365 should really be called Ball 245 because I would not advise wearing these during summer months due to the thick underlays and Climawarm.

IF I ignore the heat retention and weird painful cut out that led to Crazylace pressure and heel slip, the Ball245 is an okay shoe and feels sturdy for the outdoors. But at a retail price of $120 (I think) not including shipping costs, you’d be better served buying older models with Continental rubber for half the price like adidas nmd or Lillard 2. I usually don’t feel sorry about buying a shoe at $80 but this isn’t even aesthetically pleasing to me so pretty much just a big L. I could have bought two Lillard 3’s at the outlet for less than I paid for these and had a better fit, ventilation, and looks. Oh well live and learn and move onto the next one. I hope this review saves someone some money!

adidas Harden Vol 3 Performance Test

The adidas Harden Vol 3 performance review is here and its one of the best basketball shoes of 2018.

Herringbone. Herringbone everywhere! My only complaint here is that the grooves of the herringbone are a bit too tightly spaced. When you’re on a floor that has a good amount of dust you will need to maintain wiping the soles. This happens to be something that a lot of players do whether they need to or not so it wasn’t a huge issue for me. One benefit to having tightly spaced grooves is that they were able to pack on a lot of the pattern from heel to toe. So, when there was dust and you would be in a situation where you are unable to wipe, there was enough coverage to eventually get that bite you’d expect from this type of setup.

As one would suspect, on clean courts the traction was nothing short of awesome.

Outdoors they performed really nicely as well. The rubber is soft and they’ve begun to fray a bit, I only played outdoors for about 2 hours, so if you wanted something that works then this will do. If you wanted something that will last then I’d probably opt for the Harden Vol 2 instead.

Full length Boost makes up the midsole and its the most well-balance ride adidas has been able to come up with since implementing the cushion into its basketball line.

Heel to toe transition is smooth. Court feel is perfect. Impact protection still exists despite the latter. This has been my favorite version of Boost in basketball.

It’s not too bouncy. It’s not too firm. It’s just right.

While knits can be a hit or miss, when the material is able to mimic leather without the break-in process then that’s when it truly shines.

The setup here is very similar to what was used on the Nike LeBron 16. Despite the build being comprised of fabric, its thick and strong. Perfect just just about anyone. There is no dead-space within the shoe and they just feel awesome on-foot.

What’s with the elastic band? Does it do anything? No. Nothing at all. I think it’s just there as a design piece. While I thought it was strange at first, it does give you something to look at when you look down.

I went true to size and have no issues with the decision. In fact, these have been the best fitting adidas shoes I’ve worn in quite some time.

Lockdown was great as well. Once laced up they remind me a lot of the Nike Kobe 5. Only with a knitted upper. Pretty awesome, right?

Everything on the Harden Vol 3 works perfectly with one another. From the internal heel counter to the way the upper wraps around your foot. The flat stable base and the torsion spring plate running from the heel to the forefoot.

The adidas Harden Vol 3 might not look like much, but its performance on the court is nearly perfect. I’ve said this recently in a video — I wish I could remember which one — but sometimes simplicity garners the best results. There is nothing special about the Harden Vol 3, but the Harden Vol 3 is a special shoe. Its so simple that it does everything right. Some would say they played it safe, but if all you want is a shoe that hits every aspect you could want on a shoe then playing it safe might’ve been the best way to go.

If you end up with a pair, or have already been playing in a pair, I’d love to hear what you think about them. Do you feel the same way I do or was there something on the shoe that didn’t work out for you?

The adidas Harden Vol 3 Deconstructed

Does simplistic aesthetic of the adidas Harden Vol 3 carry over into its internal design? Thanks to the always-informative team over at FastPass we can find out in this latest breakdown.

Sometimes less is more, and that may possibly be the case for the adidas Harden Vol 3. Starting with the side profile, the bootie construction has been shaped into a tongue construction that hopefully adds a little more customization to the fit in the midfoot. In addition, there is ample padding around the heel that should provide some comfort around the Achilles.

The Boost midsole rides at a more balanced offset that the two Harden predecessors at around 10mm with the forefoot profile running closer to the Jordan Legacy 312 and the heel thickness leaning towards the Vol 2. beneath the midsole, a thinner evolution of the TPU shank can be found for support in the arch and throughout.

In case you were planning on copping the Harden Vol 3 bear in mind you should have a little more control over forefoot lockdown than forefoot band appears to give. Underneath the lacing system are nylon straps to make up the first two points of lacing on each side, so if you are able to rig them you should pretty much be able to get your preference of fit in the forefoot.

Other details in the deconstruction include a look at the rubber outsole structure, an up close look at the forefoot caging and further comparisons to the Harden Vol 1 and 2. For more, check out adidas Harden Vol 3 Performance Review.

What do you think about this Harden Vol 3 deconstruction? Anything you didn’t expect to see or expected to see but didn’t? Let us know what you think with a comment down below.

Jordan Jumpman Hustle PF Performance Review

Every day I’m Hustlin’! air jordan 33 has brought some nostalgia back bringing back a team shoe, for this case, the Jordan Jumpman Hustle PF. This particular Asia release model adds the sticker of PF (Performance Fit) and XDR rubber traction outsole. Is it a massive change compared to the US release? Well, we’re about to find out…

The only difference between this model and the US release is mainly the XDR rubber solid rubber outsole. Traditional herringbone traction is used and sometimes it’s the simple things are what work best. I’m very glad it’s used here. On clean courts, the traction was awesome, but once you get those pesky dust particles roaming about then the shoe needed more wipes than a baby’s behind (but that generally goes for most shoes).

Again, as long as you’re on nice, clean courts, you’ll be game ready no matter if you’re indoor or outdoor. I find that the XDR version seemed to grab the ground a lot more on outdoor courts, so that definitely says a lot about the compound used on the shoe. Although the rubber still felt a bit soft. No matter what I threw at it, this shoe traction really held it’s own.

The Jumpman Hustle PF features forefoot Zoom Air along with a very lightweight Phylon midsole. For a big buy like myself, that needs that extra impact protection, these felt really good. Really, really good. For a shoe that has such a soft and lightweight Phylon midsole, I really felt the feedback under foot. This is most likely because I’m heavy footed. However, as much as I dislike comparisons, the shoe plays similar to the PG 2, just with a bit more responsiveness upon impact. So for those that land heavy on rebounds, or those that require a little more impact protection, the Jumpma Hustle has you covered no matter what position you play. For the price, the shoe is one of the most comfortable currently on the market.

The Jumpman hustle utilizes Synthetic and fabric textile upper — this is the other aspect that differs from the U.S. version that utilized a vinyl enclosure. Nylon lace loops can be found under the shroud as well as patent leather-like material surrounding the midfoot and around the toe. While the material combination is nice, I do wish there was a little bit more strength behind the materials/build. I found the shoe to have some minor stretching depending upon my movements — especially with hard cuts. I didn’t find this to be a major issue, however, you can feel when it stretches which would cause me to second guess some of movements.

True to size, even for a wide-footer like myself. This is likely due to the this being the overseas release version. The PF models tend to be built on a slightly wider last to accommodate the Asian market. I don’t see it as an issue overall with anyone else because the lockdown of the shoe is nice, however, lateral containment might cause minor instability due to the lack of structure backing the materials on certain parts of the shoe. If you’re a wide footer and prefer to not size up then it’s best grab an overseas edition of Nike/Jordan models.

Support was good, not great, but good. Lateral support from the materials are slightly lacking which is what I felt was the biggest downside. It wasn’t a deal breaker as I love playing in the shoe, but if you wanted more strength within the upper then this might not be for you.

Overall, the Jordan Jumpman Hustle was a delight to play in. And the price point is perfect as well. They have almost everything you can want in a basketball shoe without breaking the bank. They’re super comfortable (even for a big man like myself), very lightweight, yet plays really well on the court (even outdoors). For those looking for a soft ride, that looks nice on court, and caters to your fast pace up and down game, then this shoe will fit your needs.

It’s definitely nice that Jordan Brand brought back a team shoe not only for the nostalgic purpose but it gives consumers options. Not saying that we don’t want to play in signature models, but it’s nice to have a choice to pick any shoe given, and not have to worry if it will perform on the court or not, because these shoes, they perform well. This is it chief.

I look forward to seeing if there are future generations of the Jumpman Hustle because if the designers can continue to create shoes like this, at these prices, then it’s definitely something I’ll be looking forward to in the future.