James Harden Shoes: Ranking the Best Adidas Harden Shoes

Adidas Harden Vol 3 (Core Black), the signature shoe from this season
Avdhi Bhalgat

Signature shoes to an NBA player are like the veil to a wedding dress, one is incomplete without the other. Since his MVP season, James Harden has really been pushing hard on the signature shoe looks on the court.

Alongside this, his own fashion has also been pushed up a notch. James Harden first made iterations of the shoes he wore on court in 2015 as a part of the all-star collection that released that year. Though Harden started off his career wearing Nikes, he quickly shifted to Adidas when they signed a 200 million dollar contract together.

Starting with the 2016-17 season, The Beard and Adidas have made a signature shoe each year, representative of who he was as a player. These shoes have been a huge success and here are the top five Adidas-Harden shoes ranked.

#5 Adidas Harden Vol 2 LS Lace

Adidas Harden Vol 2 LS Lace (Black)
Adidas Harden Vol 2 LS Lace (Black)

The Adidas-Harden Vol 2 first released as a part of the 2017-18 season. This was one of The Beard's ventures into lifestyle shoes and turning his signature on-court look into something people could wear every day. Here is a rundown on why they're good and why they're not


  • There are lots of colour options, ones that are representative of Harden being MVP and others that could fit into an everyday lifestyle.
  • Quality is of the utmost level
  • The Boost in these shoes is of the right shape and size


  • The shape and mesh can make these shoes look a lot like water shoes
  • A little high on the price considering these are for lifestyle, not sports
  • All the stretchable materials do not offer enough overall support

All in all, these are some great shoes. They are definitely not built for play but can be classified as premium casual footwear.

#4 Adidas Harden Vol 2

Adidas Harden Vol 2 (Lift Off)
Adidas Harden Vol 2 (Lift Off)

The Adidas Harden Vol 2 at first glance is an odd looking shoe. Released as a part of the collection for the NBA 2017-18 season, the shoe is actually quite comfortable and offers a variety of designs. Here are the reasons why to and why not to buy a pair.


  • The Boost on this shoe is higher than ever. However, since the pellets are packed closely together it gives stability, not bounce
  • The cushioning set up on this shoe, upper, at the front, and lower is far superior to anything else on the market
  • The shoe's mesh makes it very breathable
  • It is quite resistant to wear and tear
  • The variable lacing system helps the shoe fit people with both narrow and wide feet


  • The traction, which was mechanically engineered to be an upgrade from volume 1 just didn't make the cut
  • On dust, the shoes cannot perform at all
  • The plastic-like materials inside the shoe do not react well with skin
  • The shoe is not wide foot or high arc friendly due to the tight band in the middle

Overall, other than the traction problem, this is a high quality, high endurance basketball shoe and is one of the best at protecting players from an impact-related injury.

#3 Adidas Harden LS

Adidas Harden LS (Fast Life red-black)
Adidas Harden LS (Fast Life red-black)

The Adidas Harden LS is the lifestyle rendition of the Adidas Harden Vol 1. this shoe is made for everyday use and is the first Adidas Harden shoe that uses the Primeknit technology to make the shoe more breathable. These shoes can be played in but it is not advisable to do so. Here is why and why not you should invest in a pair of these.


  • The Primeknit technology is better than the performance version and the shoes are soft straight out of the box
  • The fabrics used, allow the shoes to fit every foot like a glove
  • the shoes are versatile and are good for everything from walking and running to working out and cross fit
  • The uncaged boost is an asset to all wearers and feels really good


  • The traction easily picks up dust and dirt, the shoes need to be wiped down frequently
  • Since it is a lifestyle model it seems to lack support
  • The laces are slippery and don't stay tied

In conclusion, apart from the problematic traction and lack of support, the shoes are great. They deliver on everything they promise. Though they are a little expensive for the price point they are a good investment to make.

#2 Adidas Harden Vol 1

Adidas Harden Vol 1: showcasing how Harden changed his brand and his game
Adidas Harden Vol 1: showcasing how Harden changed his brand and his game

These were the first shoes that were made from a data-driven formula with regards to how James Harden moves. This was seen as an initial problem as very few people move exactly as Harden does, however Adidas who were killing it that year did extremely well on these shoes as well. Here is why these were not THE BEST Adidas Harden shoes till date.


  • There is a balance between the bost and other sole-based elements providing the optimal amount of impact protection and court feel
  • The unique style of this shoe allows it to double as a lifestyle shoe
  • The shoe's lacing and shape allows for a good fit for many different types of foot shapes
  • The heel and tongue areas are well padded
  • The ankle support is very good for a low top shoe


  • The shoes take exceptionally long to break into
  • The shoes are a little heavy and clunky to people not used to the toecap
  • The traction pattern is inconsistent

Overall, for the first time designing a signature shoe, Adidas has done well for James Harden and while it may only excel for players who are guards and don't run too much it is a well-structured shoe.

#1 Adidas Harden Vol 3

Adidas Harden Vol 3 (Core Black), the signature shoe from this season
Enter caption Adidas Harden Vol 3 (Core Black), the signature shoe from this season

James Harden, who now seems to know more of what he wants from his signature shoe, seems to be allowing his shoes to evolve with him. With hell to toe Boost, this shoe is one of the best basketball shoes of 2018. Here is what James Harden and Adidas did right this year and here is what went wrong.


  • The rubber outsole of the shoe keeps the dust out
  • The new herringbone traction pattern fixes the problems with the previous shoes and allows for huge stopping power
  • The technology of the Boost throughout the shoe and at the forefront is optimal
  • The break-in time is little to none
  • The shoes are very light and are easy to put on due to the new leather tabs.


  • This shoe is only suited for indoor use. The grooves tend to wear off outdoors
  • The elastic band seems to only serve an aesthetic purpose and does not aid lockdown
  • The shoe looks a little like a soccer/football shoe

While this shoe may not look like much and does not have anything absolutely new, it has almost perfect on-court performance. What it does is make each of its features perfect and thus is not only the best Adidas Harden shoe till date, but one of the best basketball shoes you can get your hands on.

Edited by Abhinav Munshi


Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...