After a subpar Dame 6, it looks to me that adidas and Damian Lillard have somewhat returned to what makes this shoe line so special. Here’s to my comprehensive 3-month OUTDOOR Dame 7 review!
The latest tech & solid build quality, outdoor capabilities, and a price not a lot of other signatures offer right now. These are the pillars of a Dame sneaker and something I was looking forward to getting with this one.
I’ll break down the shoe’s comfort & fit aspects, performance, build quality, versatility, changes from the previous shoes, and also give you some potential alternatives. Let’s begin.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- What’s Your Take on the Dame 7?
- Dame 7 Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
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BEST DEALS OF THE DAME 7 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those short on time: the adidas Dame 7 sets adidas’s most consistent basketball signature line back on track. For $110, this is a fantastic & reliable performer.
I had no issues with the traction and it’s great for outdoor play – something the Dame line never forgets.
Lightstrike cushion felt super comfy in the heel and a little lackluster in the forefoot but the overall experience was solid.
Just like most adidas kicks, security is top-notch without slowing me down or causing restrictions. The shoe sports a fairly basic mesh build but it’s reliable, breaks in quickly and gets the job done for just about anyone.
For alternatives, check out the D.O.N. Issue #2 if you’re looking for similar performance but want to save even more $$$.
For something more premium, check out the N3XT L3V3L 2020 which features an awesome knit upper, upgraded cushion and a laceless design.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
How’s the sizing? Should you go TTS? How comfy are they?
SIZING GUIDE: TYPICAL ADIDAS SHENANIGANS
If you had a pair of recent adidas basketball shoes, you’re probably aware of their sizing/fit weirdness. Well, looks like that’s not going anywhere, as the Dame 7 follows a similar trajectory.
For regular/narrow footers, stick with your regular adidas size (whatever that might be). For those who are unfamiliar, going true to size will be the best option.
However, adidas shoes, especially basketball ones have a knack for running a bit long, and the Dame 7 looks to follow a similar formula, although not as apparent this time.
So going with your regular size might present a bit of extra space length-wise, though not to a crazy extent. If you can live with a slightly roomier fit, you’re good.
But for those who are aiming for that sweet one-to-one ultra-secure fit with minimal dead space, going down half a size is recommended.
This will really come down to what you like more. If you can, I’d recommend ordering a few different size pairs and keeping the one that fits you best. If you’re able to d that though, sticking with the above recommendations will be your best bet!
Now, for wide footers such as myself, the situation’s a bit different. I went with my regular size 10 and they fit me pretty well after a short break in phase. I do feel just a tad bit more space length-wise than I usually would but honestly, that doesn’t bother me.
Width-wise, they’re a little tight but definitely acceptable. Not a top 5-level shoe for wide footers but something I can live with.
The shoe looks wide from the outside due to the outsole protruding laterally but it’s really not that wide fit-wise. If you’ve got an extreme case of wide feet, be aware of this.
So the only real option for wide footers will be true to size since going down will result in over tightness, while 1/2 size up will add unneeded dead space to a point where it might compromise containment.
COMFORT: SECURE AND SEAMLESS!
Alright, let’s touch on comfort. Once again, if you’ve had experience with a Dame shoe before – you’ll feel right at home here. Nothing stood out in terms of the Dame 7’s comfort but I don’t mean that in a bad way.
After first putting them on, the shoe felt a bit heavy and the midsole started off a little stiff but things normalized and molded into the usual Dame experience we’re now so accustomed to.
The Dame 7 prioritizes performance and security over fancy materials or “groundbreaking” tech and what you get is a package that plays seamlessly, to a point where I’d forget I’ve got a shoe on.
It’s secure, containment is excellent, the upper isn’t super stiff nor too flimsy and feels just right, there’s a TON of soft padding inside your achilles area which is always awesome, and step transitions are fantastic, thanks to the cushion setup we’ll touch on later.
The shoe is heavier than its predecessor though it doesn’t really feel that way. After you break in the upper (which doesn’t take long at all) and soften up that foam underfoot, you should be ready for anything with these.
Nothing outer-worldly, yet an awesome job so far!
Does it grip a variety of surfaces? Is dust/debris a factor? How long will the outsoles last?
A brand new pattern has been slapped on the Dame 7 with what looks like a bunch of Z’s all over the outsole. Z’s or not, the traction is awesome.
You can cry a whole river on adidas’s rare use of classic herringbone but you’ve gotta give some credit to them – most of their patterns and rubber used works REALLY damn well, including outdoors.
The Dame 7 gripped the surface well at all times, multi-directional traction is on point as always, you can fully stop with these anytime you’d like and the outsole will handle it.
Probably not Dame 3 level traction but let’s be real. Do you really need that kind of grip to effectively play?
As far as dust/debris goes, I really didn’t have major issues here either. The pattern isn’t too dense nor super spaced out – kind of an in-between case here.
This means that dust can pile up but it can also escape on its own rather quickly. I’m not a huge wipe guy myself and the shoe didn’t irritate me – an occasional wipe here and there did wonders for the outsole. Nothing more needed.
I did have a few slips but I highly doubt it was purely due to the outsole. Especially when I remember a couple of slips happening right after I wiped my outsoles down. Likely just a pile up of nasty stuff on a few spots in the park.
Pretty normal stuff when you’re hooping outside.
Now, if you’ve seen my 2020 best shoe list – you already know this. I’m happy to say that a Dame shoe is once again a great option for regular outdoor play. Yes, regular and long-term.
The rubber on these isn’t the stickiest I’ve seen but it feels very tacky and sturdy to the touch, and I haven’t yet seen any visible damage to the outsole.
I’m talking not even small frays. At least not where it matters – the pattern outside the foot-shaped outline seems to be seeing some wear but that’s not affecting my traction at all.
A great job once again!
How’s the impact protection? What about ride comfort, energy return & height?
Lightstrike is back and it’s more apparent than ever. The Dame 5 had a very well-balanced Bounce setup that felt just right for just about any player out there. The Dame 6 was still very good though more on the softer/bouncier side of things.
Well, looks like the Dame 7 went all-in with a hybrid setup that attempts to deliver the best of both worlds. What do I mean by this?
The heel area of the midsole is almost ridiculously soft and compresses a lot, while the forefoot area is much firmer and lower to the ground.
I feel like not everyone will enjoy this type of ride. I personally loved it and feel like it’s a pretty good fit for outdoor games that introduce stiffer and higher impact when it comes to movements such as jumps, landings, cuts, etc.
But speaking as subjectively as possible, I do see things that could be tweaked to appeal to more players.
For those bounce and “clouds under your feet” feel lovers – this is your dream shoe. It might not feel that way at first but give ’em a few days and a simple jog will be enough to show you just how crazy soft this heel is.
Tons of impact protection in the back, moderate spring back, and just pure comfort. For fans of heel-dominant cushion setups, this is the way to go.
Step transitions are also very smooth even though it might not seem that away due to the crazy contrast of heel and forefoot areas.
And if you like to keep things super quick, responsive, and low to the ground up at the front – the Dame 7 has got you as well.
Now, is it an ideal setup in my eyes? No. If we’re talking versatility and pure performance for outdoors, I would’ve added just a tad bit more cushion to the front and subdued the heel slightly.
Most aggressive movements happen with the use of the forefoot and a concrete park can be very unforgiving at that. Sure, heel cushion is nice but we require forefoot protection as well.
Things still need to be speedier and lower to the ground there but a slightly better balance between the two areas would’ve been perfect in my eyes. Hell, you can leave the heel cushion as it is but just make the forefoot a bit softer. Just my two cents.
So, is it a bad setup? Hell no. It’s great. Feels comfy, there’s bounce at the back, there’s response at the front, it’s stable all throughout and definitely doesn’t feel like a cheap setup.
I’m not saying the forefoot area feels dead. But if we’re speaking about a perfect outdoor shoe – just a tad bit more forefoot cushion could’ve made things even better than they are right now.
How much all-around security does it offer and what’s the cost in return? What about stability and lockdown?
I feel like I’ve been repeating this on all my adidas shoe reviews but adidas pretty much never fails in the support department. There, I said it again.
The Dame 7 features an internal heel counter, the midsole comes up to the upper laterally and medially to cage your foot and provide protection, the upper is reinforced with Fuse and stitching to hold your foot in (a.k.a. better containment) and the outsole extends on the sides, acting as outriggers.
That is not it though. The shoe features a standard lacing system though with a twist.
It’s highly customizable – there are extra cable loops provided at the back in case you’d want even more lockdown and pulling the laces also pulls the internal cables they’re connected to, promoting killer lockdown.
Everything you’d need is here and works well. There are no apparent restrictions that slow you down or make you uncomfortable and if you got the fit right, this is a serious setup in terms of security for just about any player.
One thing I’ve seen people report is the laces loosening up almost right after you lace these up. I’ve also seen people complain about this regarding the Dame 6 as well.
While I never experienced that issue with the Dame 6, I am now aware of it with the 7 and it’s a little annoying.
Nothing deal-breaking but if you’re looking to keep your lockdown and desired fit precisely how you laced them up, you’ll have to lean down and redo the laces pretty damn often.
Something I’ve last experienced on the Crazy Explosive 2017. Thanks for reminding us of your quirks adidas.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the materials choices and how do they perform? How’s the quality & reliability of the build?
The Dame 7 features a mesh upper with small Fuse overlays and stitching on top of it for more structure. Nothing fancy but once again – gets the job done, a recurring theme for Dame’s kicks.
The back area and the tongue feature synthetic nubuck.
The build sports a traditional lace & tongue construction – no one/half-bootie stuff here. These are quick to put on and something a wide footer appreciates in today’s “as light as possible, everything’s a one-piece” era of sports footwear.
PERFORMANCE & RELIABILITY
The main advantages to this type of upper are usually a short break-in period, solid ventilation, pretty good comfort, and durability, as long as it’s properly reinforced and has some structure to it.
This is kind of an “in-between” option of all things. Nothing crazy soft or stiff, nothing super light or super heavy.
This version of mesh doesn’t feel cheap. No real stiffness while playing, everything molds to your foot moderately well. Sure, we won’t achieve that sock-like feel a knit would offer but this is definitely a good option for $110.
The toecap area is what feels the cheapest as it doesn’t really mold or conform to your foot there.
It feels the most plasticy there – granted, that helps prevent damage during toe drags or when someone steps on your feet but if the fit’s not perfect up at the front for you, chances are it will stay that way.
That would be my only real nitpick about the build of the shoe. The rest is solid. It’s performance-friendly, doesn’t take long to break in, and looks like it will last for a while outdoors.
Recapping the Dame 7 review: are they versatile? Who’s best suited for it? Is it a good buy?
What can I say, adidas doesn’t seem to have forgotten the values we truly appreciate about a consumer-friendly basketball shoe. In the dark times we’re currently in, the shoe should get the job done and then some.
The Dame 7 has fantastic outdoor-ready traction, a solid cushion setup for most players, killer all-around support without apparent restrictions, the upper isn’t anything special but surely gets the job done and the shoe’s just $110.
Show me another signature shoe that offers this much value at this price. I’ll wait.
GET THE DAME 7 🛒
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IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not completely convinced on the Dame 7? Check out these shoes that might just work for you
Perhaps you’re not exactly feeling the contrast between the abundance of heel cushion and lack-there-of in the forefoot of the Dame 7? Or you’d be better off saving even further? Take a look at adidas’s D.O.N. Issue #2.
Another affordable signature model from Donovan Michell, the shoe won’t exactly impress you with its tech or feel but it’s super well-rounded, reliable, and gave me no headaches for $100.
Those looking for a step-up in terms of tech and materials, check out the adidas N3XT L3V3L 2020. Yes, particularly the 2020 version which proved to be the most reliable and well-rounded.
For $150, it’s packing Lighstrike + Boost cushion, a super comfy knit upper, and an innovative laceless design that doesn’t actually suck this time.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE DAME 7?
Share your thoughts below!
That’s a wrap for the Dame 7 review! I hope you’ve found it informative as always! 2020 is coming to an end but make no mistake – the year has brought us some awesome kicks to fool around in the park during this annoying quarantine.
And of course, your opinion is ultra-valuable here. The more feedback you drop on the shoe, the better it is for the future reader looking to pile up information and experiences from different angles. It’s the only way to really research a shoe before getting it.
Lastly, if you got any questions, suggestions, or would like to share your own experience,
Drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
X. DAME 7 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
adidas Dame 7$110
Fit & Comfort8.0/10
Value for the Price9.5/10
- True to size for most & down 1/2 a size for a snug fit
- Wide footers: stick with your regular size
- Occassional wiping recommended
- Laces loosen up quickly
- All positions
- Heel-dominant players
- Heavier/explosive players