Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: OUTDOOR Performance Breakdown

The Beard’s latest offering is here for a while now, and since we’re in quarantine anyway, I thought I’d bring you my Adidas Harden Vol 4 review. From an outdoor perspective.

Gyms are closed, courts aren’t available and I’ve been playing in this shoe in my local park ever since it launched back in October, along with rotating other shoes as well.

THE REVIEW CONCEPT

For those who are just like me and still hoop outside when possible, this review’s for you, especially when the Harden line has been going super strong ever since the first shoe!

Here’s what we’ll break down:

  • The shoe’s fit & comfort from a wide footer’s perspective
  • Outdoor performance
  • Build quality & value for the price
  • Versatility & what players it suits best

Let’s go!

SPEC SHEET

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Side 1

Model: adidas Harden Vol. 4
Build: low-top
Weight: 14.9 oz / 422 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $130
Cushion: Lightstrike
Best Offers On: Amazon Finish Line adidas

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I. COMFORT & FIT

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Top

Even though I feel like adidas hasn’t been on such a phenomenal roll these past couple of years when compared to the Crazy Explosive/D Rose 6 days, I still think the Harden line has been super consistent in providing a comfy, secure, and fast shoe to play in.

The Harden Vol 4 follows the same formula with some tweaks to appeal more to different players. And I love it.

First off, don’t get disturbed that these look HUGE on feet. Literally. The tooling is unusually very wide and I dig that a lot for a couple of reasons.

The first one being that this saves hassle for wide footers – I have very wide feet myself and the forefoot & midfoot areas are wide enough for me, especially after about a week of adjusting.

SIZING ADVICE: TRUE TO SIZE OR 1/2 UP!

So, regular/narrow footers – going true to size is the #1 option without a doubt. Wide footers like myself – it would be best to order two pairs (one TTS and the other up 1/2 size) to be safe and return the unneeded one.

I actually went true to size and I believe I’ve got a pretty extreme case of wide feet, so this should tell you going true to size shouldn’t be so scary. Unless your feet are even wider than mine, which would mean you should have the feet of a clown at that point.

This resulted in me feeling super secure, there’s zero slippage in the heel or anywhere else, containment is great too.

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Back

Going up half a size could’ve messed with the overall lockdown as I feel like they’re now perfect length-wise, so any extra space could’ve compromised the sense of security and that one-to-one fit feel. That’s why I’d suggest ordering two pairs just to be sure.

One thing I want to touch on is that midfoot elastic band thing that pulls into the midfoot and ankle areas when lacing ’em up for enhanced lockdown. While it does help lock down the fit, that strap took the longest to get it out of the way in terms of breaking in.

It was pretty terrible for me during the first week (partially because of my huge feet I presume) since that area was pressing into my feet to the point where it was painful at times when the shoe flexed.

Don’t worry though – through multiple reviews and user feedback I’ve heard people having the same thing but it mainly goes away for all. And it should go away quicker for you than for me as well.

COMFORT: FAST, LIGHT AND SMOOTH

Let’s touch on comfort. The shoe feels light as hell as well. Even though it’s not among the lightest shoes in terms of pure numbers, the most important thing is how they actually feel in action.

And the Harden Vol 4 feels as fast & light as ever.

Lastly, let’s talk about the internal padding. It’s everywhere. And there’s a lot of it. While that might take away some space and condense your foot, man it’s comfy in there!

Soft and buttery smooth is the best way to describe it. If you feel like these fit you properly but your foot’s really cradled in there, give ’em some time to fully break in, or go up half a size if you prefer a roomier fit.

II. TRACTION

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Outsole 1

adidas loves to switch things up almost every year when it comes to the outsole and even though I’d prefer all brands to just stick with solid/XDR rubber & good ol’ herringbone, I wasn’t disappointed with the Harden Vol 4’s traction.

As you can see, the heel and forefoot portions are separated pretty distinctively – the heel portion uses a more spaced out pattern while the forefoot area is denser to cover more ground for stops, cuts, changes of direction, etc.

I’m not sure how these would’ve performed if a consistent pattern was used all throughout the outsole but the traction on these was great regardless.

The rubber used on these is almost ridiculously sticky, so that also helped with how quick and effective each stop or shift was. And sticky also means A TON of squeak. Get your ears ready.

However, tacky rubber also means dust sticking to it very easily. Even though the pattern is properly spaced out and there’s room for dust to escape, the glue-like rubber catches all of it, so occasional wiping will be needed to keep the traction consistent.

Not the worst scenario there was at all though – the traction never dropped to a point where I’d feel a decrease, even when I’d skip a wipe where I’d normally do it, such as during longer, more intense stretches of a game.

And I was playing in a park – all kinds of debris is surely a factor there.

Speaking of which, how’s the durability for outdoors you ask? While the shoe is clearly not an “outdoor” model so to speak, the outsole does hold up well.

I’m just under three months in with the shoe and I do see frayings mostly in the medial and lateral areas of the pattern where it shapes out to those lines.

Still though, not enough to where I’d feel a noticeable impact. I really can’t tell you how long these will last since that’s kinda impossible to measure accurately but don’t be afraid to take these outside, even for a whole season.

III. CUSHION

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Front

The usual Boost midsole seen on the first three Hardens is now replaced with Lightstrike – adidas’s latest foam compound.

Even though I love Boost more than anything, the actual implementation of the foam is extremely important too. After giving it a serious go with Lightstrike, I have to say I like it. Quite a bit.

Lightstrike is meant to be this very thin layer of lightweight foam that keeps you quick, responsive but also offers impact protection and actual softness while keeping a very low profile.

I say this pretty rarely but I feel like this is EXACTLY what I’ve got from the shoe. One of the rare occasions when the marketing claims are kind of accurate. Spot-on to be precise.

Now, I know this isn’t going to be for everybody – nothing is. But if you appreciate a setup that delivers pretty much everything you need performance-wise to play safely & efficiently, this should absolutely satisfy you.

If tons of bounce and springs underfoot are what you’re looking for instead – the shoe might not be for you. Go check out the Zoom Rize or the KD 13.

But seriously, I’m very impressed by this foam and its implementation. It’s thinner than even a lower profile variation of Boost that you’d usually see, it’s lighter, yet I could still feel it at all times.

The only foam compound that comes close to this type of balance (being super thin & light, yet comfy and there’s impact protection) is Nikey’s React. In my opinion of course. But Lightstrike wins it for me in this case.

So, to wrap it up – expect a quick, responsive ride that’s very stable, low to the ground, offers no distractions but still provides adequate impact protection and you’ll actually be able to feel it underfoot. Not to an extreme level but enough to keep things comfy and smooth while playing.

I think it’s a fantastic setup – solid job!

IV. SUPPORT

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Heel

I usually never expect weak support from an adidas basketball shoe. And my expectations are usually met.

The Harden Vol. 4 is very supportive and I would really like to emphasize that since so many people still have this notion of “a low top means it’s not safe while a high top means better ankle protection”.

For those people, my guide for basketball shoe support is something I encourage you to check out.

This is not true anymore as support comes from the shoe’s many different areas and have to work all together to bring a secure experience and one that’s also comfortable enough to play in.

For the Harden Vol. 4 – I feel like this is as supportive as it can get for such a light & compact shoe. Yes, there are shoes available with stronger support which usually means more restrictions to your foot.

But if you’re looking for that for one reason or another, the guide I’ve mentioned also has my favorite shoes with the toughest support compiled as well.

The Harden Vol. 4 has got an internal heel counter for heel lockdown, adidas’s usual in-your-face midfoot shank for awesome torsional support, a traditional lacing system along with an additional midfoot piece with extra eyelets if you’d like to customize the lockdown fully to your liking. Reminds me of the Dame 3.

The shoe’s platform is also very wide and almost totally flat. Pair that with a very thin midsole & the outsole coming out acting as an outrigger and you got yourself a super stable package.

And of course, the fit is where it all starts and the shoe provides a very secure one if you get the sizing right. The upper poses no issues in terms of containment, so everything works beautifully.

How’s that for an unsupportive low top?

V. BUILD & MATERIALS

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review: Midfoot

There are two main variations that the shoe comes in – some colorways come with a knit upper & synthetic leather overlays, while others come in a mesh variant & synthetic suede pieces as overlays.

I’ve personally been playing in the knit variant and I like it. No real complaints here either performance-wise. I’ve also heard the mesh variant feels pretty much like this one, so you’re not doing yourself a disservice if you’re getting that one instead.

The upper breaks in virtually right away since it’s a knit and it’s fairly breathable too – for people whose feet get really hot quickly, this shouldn’t cause even more issues.

There are Fuse overlays in the toecap and several other areas for more structure which is something you usually see on a knit shoe. The real nitpick performance-wise is the midfoot band as mentioned earlier. That thing caused some pain but it went away after one solid week of playing.

Something I’d like to mention is the shoe will look a little banged up after a while. It’s one of those uppers that have flex and give to it, as it’s just a knit.

If you’re one of those people who absolutely need to have your sneakers looking fresh & hate when a shoe looks worn visually quickly – this might not be for you. But I’m only speaking aesthetically.

Durability-wise, I think the shoe will hold up for quite some time. Sure, a knit upper might not be the #1 for constant outdoor play but if you’ve got nothing else in your gym bag – the Harden Vol. 4 will hold up.

For how long? I really don’t know. Probably best to ask me that in a year’s time from now.

VI. OVERALL

Adidas Harden Vol 4 Review

The adidas Harden Vol. 4 is a banger of a shoe, no other way to put it! I’ve got what I needed from it – and that’s comfort, security, and performance, all in a compact form factor.

The shoe doesn’t do anything incredibly spectacularly to make me jump out of my chair, not does it innovate with all kinds of unseen marketing claims. But it does deliver in bringing an efficient experience on the court. All I ever need personally.

If you’re a fan of low tops – this one should put a smile on your face.

The final scores of the shoe are below!

CHECK ON AMAZON CHECK ON ADIDAS

CHECK ON FINISH LINE

Why buy on these retailers? Click to find out!

WHY AMAZON?

I’ve been ordering a solid 70%-80% of my hoop shoes from Amazon and can confidently say it’s almost always the most trustworthy and convenient option to buy your shoes.

Why Amazon?

Yes, it’s great to find the shoe you’re looking for on an original retailer such as Nike or Adidas but the reality is a bit different – a lot of times, especially for shoes older than 1-2 years, it’s a very small chance you’ll find the shoe or better yet find it in your size & color.

You’ll mostly find the latest releases directly from the brand’s store but the period is usually pretty short until they’re out of stock.

This is where Amazon comes in.

Amazon is not strictly one retailer giving you the products, it’s a whole chain of thousands of different sellers, all supplying different products, including basketball shoes. You will mostly find more color and size options on Amazon for your desired shoe than on an original retailer or even a general sporting goods store.

Sure, there will be exceptions where Amazon won’t have a particular shoe but that’s on the rare side.

And the best part is the pricing – you can find older shoes and at times new shoes priced under retail, sometimes at crazy low prices, which is something you’ll never see on Nike.com, adidas.com, and other retailers (except during discounts/sales of course).

To sum things up and give you a generalized idea of why Amazon beats other stores more often than not, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the most notable advantages the massive store chain has over its competitors.

  • Usually, higher stock, size & color/edition availability compared to other stores
  • Blazing fast shipping times (sometimes delivered the SAME DAY if you’re close to the seller’s stock)
  • A good chance to find shoes priced under retail
  • Extremely convenient return/refund policies

Affiliate link (if only one store)

WHY ADIDAS?

Despite Amazon usually being the best and most convenient place to get your shoes from, there are times where getting the shoe directly from the manufacturer is a better idea.Why Adidas?

One, there will be times where the shoe is not available on Amazon. If the shoe is relatively new (not older than 1+ years), it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be able to find it on the original manufacturer’s website.

In this case, both options are available, so if you’ve never bought from Adidas.com before and you’re considering it, let me give you a bit of insight.

The main strong point of getting your shoes straight from the retailer is the fixed pricing. You’ll never spend more than you should’ve, as the price of the shoe will always be the manufacturer’s set retail price, which does not change at any point (except during a discount/sale).

So, if you’re seeing the shoe priced at $135 on Amazon and $120 on Adidas for example, this means $120 is the retail price and you should, of course, be getting them from Adidas to save some cash. This doesn’t happen too often but always make sure to check just in case it does.

You’ll also find more frequent and usually larger discounts/sales on the brand’s site. Shoes that aren’t the latest and greatest anymore are often times discounted to clear out the stock and that’s always a gem for us customers.

Once again, I’ve made a quick list of the main advantages original retailers’ stores have over other options.

  • You’ll never find a shoe priced higher than retail
  • More frequent discounts and sales that are usually pretty big
  • Buying straight from the manufacturer means no hiccups 99% of the time
  • You can find more detailed and relevant reviews left by buyers

WHY FINISH LINE?

Finish Line is my usual #3 option to get my basketball shoes from if Amazon currently doesn’t have it and the brand’s retail store (Nike.com, adidas.com, etc.) might be out of stock or doesn’t have my size.

I find them, along with a handful of other sports stores, to bring in new major and also lesser-known releases just as quickly as the main brand retailers, most of the time.

Very similar advantages to manufacturer’s stores here: very quick shipping times (and it’s free), convenient return & refund policies and you’ll never find any shoe priced over retail.

For some reason, Finish Line seems to be good at keeping a healthy stock of products, as there’s always a wide variety of sizing for most mainstream models. Something you can’t say about Nikey, Adidas, AJ, or Under Armour stores.

Of course, there will be exceptions and rare shoes that are hard to find globally won’t magically be available in large quantities here either.

Buying from the store will only be applicable for U.S. residents, so not an option for international users (unless you’re using a third-party service to ship internationally from US stores as I do).

Overall, I consider Finish Line to be the top pick out of the US’s popular sports retailers. Or perhaps I’m a little biased but regardless, I think I’ll be sticking to it for quite some time.

    • All shoes priced at retail
    • Good stock most of the time
    • Fast & free shipping for the U.S
    • Convenient refund & return policies
    • You can find quite detailed and relevant reviews left by buyers

Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!


 

DO YOU LIKE THE HARDEN VOL. 4?

That’s it for the review! I gotta say, I’m impressed by the Harden line so far. Nothing “out of this world” but all shoes have been solid all-around kicks and at a competitive price. Adidas still got it!

I want to know how you feel about these though. Will you be getting them? Maybe you already got ’em and have a different experience? Or you’ve got a question?

 

THE VERDICT

adidas Harden Vol. 4

$130
8.5

Fit & Comfort

9.0/10

On-Court Performance

9.0/10

Value for the Price

8.5/10

Outdoor-Ready

7.5/10

Main Takeaways

  • Wide platform: true to size is recommended for everyone
  • Midfoot elastic band might cause discomfort for some time
  • Compact low top, though provides strong support even for a bigger guy

Recommended For

  • Most positions
  • Quicker/lighter players
  • Shifty guards

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