Here’s to new beginnings! It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about an adidas hoop shoe but it seems like that time has finally come. Let me introduce you to my comprehensive Trae Young 1 review – Young’s first signature sneaker from adidas.
These are looking REALLY good based on the specs alone but we all know that’s just part of the whole story. How it plays on the court is what matters, so I’ve been playing in these (almost solely) for about 4 months since the release.
Is it a HIT or MISS? Let me give you my detailed thoughts.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. SPEC SHEET
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those in a hurry: the adidas Trae Young 1 impressed me. They were so close to being a top performer and one of the potential staples when I go to play basketball.
These should fit most guys true to their size but expect just a tad bit of room length-wise. Wide footers should be okay with TTS but the putting the shoe on will be a PAIN.
Traction is what caused most concerns. It’s great outdoors where there’s more abrasion or on a clean/high-quality surface but they start losing some of the bite when dust/debris comes into play.
The Boost & Lightstrike cushion was nothing short of awesome. It felt just right – not too much but still very comfy & bouncy in the heel. Ride stability is also on point.
I had no issues in the support department either. The cheap, scratchy mesh build left some to be desired but that didn’t prevent me from having a good time on the court.
If you primarily play outdoors or you’ve got access to a clean, pristine court regularly – the Trae Young 1 is simply awesome. Otherwise, I’d encourage taking a look at one of my provided alternatives.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
True to size or not? What about comfort & anything else fit-wise?
As you might’ve noticed, the Trae Young 1 features the most advanced, alien-like lacing system that’s tailored for maximum customization for the wearer. NOOOT!
Jokes aside, the shoe only features two eyelets per side. That’s right, two. It doesn’t take a detective to know that fit customization for any foot region other than the midfoot will be severely limited.
This means that what you get is pretty much what you’re stuck with here. However, I’m pleased to say the usual adidas sizing shenanigans aren’t present here.
I went true to size and there’s just enough room length-wise to fit my personal preference (~0.6 inches/~1.5 cm), things are a-okay width-wise and I never experienced any glaring issues like heel slippage or toe bumps. Not from the start, not anytime else.
It is a wide toebox these got – so narrow foot shapes could be left with a little bit of room.
In theory, I would say this is a better choice for wide footers but, honestly, I do think there’s not THAT much more room inside the toebox than one might think just by glancing at it from the outside. Most people should be fine.
image source: adidas.com
All foot shapes should go with their usual size option, if you can’t try the shoe on that is. Stepping a half size down would potentially result in over-tightness at the heel & midfoot portions, in my opinion.
Still though, if things are not right for you – it’s a bit of a delicate situation since you won’t be able to fix anything with those two eyelets and a sturdy one-bootie upper.
So, trying the shoe on is best if you think you’ve got an unusual foot shape. I’m a wide footer myself (and a huge one) and the fit’s just fine, albeit a little tight in the midfoot during the first couple of weeks.
BUT, there’s one little caveat we boat-footers will have to go through with the Trae Young 1. You guessed it, PUTTING THEM ON IN THE FIRST PLACE.
The ankle portion gives me close-to-zero stretch while trying to crush the feet inside the narrow collar. Pair that with a wide foot and things become explosive.
These are actually giving me Dame 3 vibes. I think those are a bit tougher to smudge my foot inside but full disclosure, I do not like putting the Trae Young 1 on. Every single time.
We’d even joke around in the gym how I literally need to slam these to the ground a few times before my foot jumps into the footbed. So yeah, takes a bit. Once you’re in though – I bet you’ll have no issues.
Sizing aside, the Trae Young 1 didn’t come off as particularly luxurious or anything crazy from a comfort standpoint but they were more than enough for me to play and not think about ’em. Always a good sign.
There isn’t a lot of padding around the ankle nor on the tongue area but I can’t say I missed it. My foot sat nicely inside, the one-bootie upper definitely cups it like nothing else and never lets go. Anything else becomes negligible at that point.
There’s a good amount of forefoot flex to accommodate smoother step transitions and nothing got in my way in the form of digging or pinching either.
adidas doesn’t really make the lightest hoop shoes on the market and on some of the shoes, you could really feel it. Not the case with these though. These aren’t the lightest on paper but never once did they feel bottom-heavy or clunky in general.
Solid job – no real complaints thus far!
How’s the grip on a variety of surfaces? What about sensitivity to dust/debris? Are they good for outdoors?
The adidas Trae Young 1 features a herringbone traction pattern throughout the forefoot, a radial pattern at the heel, and some straight lines laterally & medially to accommodate quick changes of direction.
Yeah, I know herringbone and radial combined into one shoe should provide god-like traction. On paper that is. Anything can sound cool or promising before you actually take it for a spin and put some mileage into it.
Indoors, I play in a high school gym that features a rubber surface that mimics hardwood. Weak outsoles really do expose themselves on this particular surface. Well, that’s partly because the court isn’t cleaned that often. It’s fine but it can definitely be better.
The best way for me to describe the indoor traction performance of the Trae Young 1 is just strange. The initial few minutes are just fine in terms of bite. Then dust creeps into the pattern and I’d start feeling a decrease in responsiveness, although not to a level where it’s unplayable.
I’d then wipe the outsoles off and sometimes it would help, sometimes it wouldn’t. This of course also depends on how well I wipe them off since I can’t always afford to stop and start scrubbing the soles off for a few minutes.
But other times, I’d be able to grip the floor just fine for a long period of time before needing to wipe. I’m starting to think it’s particularly the forefoot portion that noticeably gets worse if dust creeps in there.
I guess if you’d really take the time to get used to wiping these off (literally every 1-2 minutes), you could get away with it. Not my cup of tea though.
I feel like the two biggest factors that go into messing up the traction here are floor dust and linear movement patterns.
One more thing that’s important to take into account – I’d always get slightly sharpened-up grip in about 15-30 minutes. The rubber heats up and starts to give in a bit more, giving you more bite.
This is especially noticeable on non-abrasive surfaces like hardwood since the actual rubber needs to do most of the work and not the surface.
And of course, you might be playing on a cleaner court or a more classic hardwood surface that doesn’t get dirty as fast. People report that playing on clean courts is just fine with the Young 1.
Perhaps some of you guys have tried other colorways of the shoe with a translucent outsole or a different color rubber? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m a big advocate of hooping outdoors when it’s summer/spring time, so you could imagine how happy I was when the Trae Young gripped the ground well outside.
Yeah, abrasive surfaces can save a shoe’s traction and this was the case for me. Rubber or concrete – I barely had any issues outdoors. A few occasional wipes kept the bite healthy but I wouldn’t be sliding all over the place even if I wouldn’t be wiping them at all.
Debris still does get inside the pattern and the outsoles look pretty damn nasty after a blacktop session but that didn’t stop them from providing consistent traction. Not the best in the world but still solid.
Solid rubber + thick herringbone & radial = outdoor hoops for months. That’s right – you shouldn’t have any issues with taking the Trae Young 1 outdoors regularly. Probably even for multiple seasons. This rubber doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.
Just make sure to clean out your outsoles, ideally after every session in the park but occasionally will also provide some longevity and tackiness for those outsoles.
How are the impact absorption and energy return properties? What about ride height, comfort, and stability?
A large Boost puck sits in the heel of the Trae Young 1, while a lightweight Lightstrike midsole accompanies the rest of the foot. It’s a really nice cushion setup, no other way to put it.
It took me a couple of sessions to really start feeling the full potential of the foam used but since then, things are just awesome.
adidas really does make super well-balanced setups that are fantastic for guards but can also work for just about anyone.
The heel offers stellar impact protection thanks to a generous slab of Boost but I didn’t feel mushy or overly slow due to it.
The forefoot and midfoot portions feel lower to the ground and faster but there’s still some pop underfoot and the overall heel-to-toe stride just feels ultra-smooth.
Visually, it might seem there’s going to be a huge difference in how the heel feels vs. the forefoot but that was not the case. It was nicely balanced, stable, quick, and to the point. Not a Dame 7 scenario where the heel would feel a little too mushy while the forefoot felt firm.
Could the heel feel too much for you? I don’t think so. It’s got good compression but Boost rebounds back into shape extremely quickly. The same idea goes for the forefoot – could it be too firm for you there? Hardly a scenario.
I was also surprised about the uncommonly drastic heel-to-toe offset compared to an average modern basketball shoe. Sitting at 15 millimeters, once again, I did not notice this taking into practical effect.
There was nothing strange about my stride. No slappy step transitions, no unnatural difference that would feel like one while performing movements.
This is the Lightstrike adidas actually advertised and not the rock-solid stuff we got on a Harden Vol. 5.
I’d say this is a mix of the Harden Vol. 4 and adidas’s laceless project, the N3XT L3V3L. Minus the bouncy Boost puck in the heel – that one is its own beast here.
One of the more comfortable adidas shoes in a while. Any position could rock these. Literally. 1-up for this cushioning system that’s for sure!
How much all-around support does it provide? What about lateral stability and foot containment? Any trade-offs?
In fact, I actually prefer my hoop shoes to be in low-top fashion IF the support features are in place, the upper holds my foot in place nicely and there are no apparent restrictions as a result.
The Trae Young 1 ticked all these boxes for me.
The shoe features S-shaped internal heel counters for ankle & heel lockdown, foam sidewalls medially and laterally to keep the foot in place, a plastic midfoot shank to stabilize you torsionally, and a kick-ass fit that locks down the foot like there’s no tomorrow.
The shoe also feels like it’s lower to the ground than it actually is. The cushion offered here is nice and plush but that usually comes at a cost of extra elevation from the ground.
Not the case here – Lightstrike is an amazing compound when done right. It’s lightweight and minimal, yet comfy and gives everything you need performance-wise. Pair that with a platform that almost looks outrageously wide in the forefoot portion and you’ve got yourself a quick, comfortable, and well-thought-out machine.
No unnecessary features or gimmicks – just what you need to keep things secure but still mobile. I really like that. Although no surprise there – adidas rarely fails to satisfy hoopers in this category.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the build’s materials and how do they perform? What about build quality & long-term reliability?
The Trae Young 1 utilizes a mesh build that looks like textile visually and also genuine suede pieces all over the upper such as on the midfoot, toebox, and heel.
This mesh is quite cheap-looking and it’s very scratchy to the touch. There’s barely any stretch either but that can be a good thing security-wise. Nothing unexpected for a debut signature model here.
The midsole coming up laterally and medially is all foam encased in TPU, while the bottom portion is all rubber. The shoe features a one-bootie construction which means the whole upper feels like one single piece of continuous material, even the tongue.
Each pair also comes with an extra set of laces. The laces on the shoe are flat while the included set offers the same color but they’re rounded design. A nice touch if your first set breaks down.
Based on what I’m seeing, looks like most of the budget making the shoe was spent on the cushion tech, while the upper was kind of just an afterthought.
Brands usually do cut costs in the material department, so, again, no surprises here since they need to play it safe with the 1st release.
However, don’t get too worried: there’s really nothing wrong with the build if we’re talking performance on the court. The synthetic-based upper doesn’t take long to start moving better with the foot, it’s lightweight and does just about what you expect it to do.
Maybe I would’ve liked a bit more forefoot flex during a forward motion. I feel like that could’ve improved mobility in the forefoot upon quick accelerations or linear/vertical jumps when you need to do it quickly and the material moves up to par with your foot.
But that’s only if I’m nitpicking – I was not at a loss of my game all of a sudden. Just something I noticed but not something that clearly affected me.
Foot containment is solid since the upper’s got some structure and doesn’t stretch at all.
My feet were a little crowded in there during the first few days but that shortly changed after the mesh started heating up and breaking in.
One little downside is that there’s no ventilation here. Zero. No perforations, no open design, or anything like that – it’s all structured mesh. If you play in the park when it’s 80+ degrees (25 C°+) outside and the sun’s right in your face, your feet WILL get hot in these.
I don’t personally have a big sweating problem so I don’t really care but if your skin sweats fast, you’ll probably feel it a bit with these.
4 months in, I’m not seeing anything terrible happening to the build but there are a few details I’m a bit concerned about.
I don’t like how the midfoot suede piece is sewed to the upper. It looks nice from afar but I already started seeing some fraying along the area where it connects to the upper. Also, the laces look like they won’t last too long as a few of them are already looking pretty banged up.
The rest is just fine though – no apparent damage to the upper, all pull tabs are in place (in spite of me literally killing myself to put the shoe on every time) and the foam doesn’t feel like it’s deteriorating.
You should definitely be able to rock these for a few seasons. If your laces start breaking down – I recommend getting a new set of performance flat laces because rounded ones don’t usually like to stay tight for long.
At least that’s my experience with adidas’s hoop shoes when they feature rounded laces.
Rounding the Trae Young 1 review up: is it a good buy for the money? Who it’s best for?
The adidas Trae Young 1 is a surprising package that won’t likely get that much attention but really does deliver in everything I needed from a performance basketball model for my preferences.
Yes, you can make the argument that Dame’s and Donovan Michell’s signature lines are just over $100 and this one’s $140 but you are getting a generous puck of Boost along with an awesome Lightstrike midsole that was well worth it for me.
None of the mentioned signature lines have super high-quality materials anyway, so you’d be paying that extra $20-$30 for the upgraded cushioning system.
The sneaker surprisingly fit me very well while sticking with my usual size (I’m a wide footer!) and I think most people should stick with TTS.
Traction was the main letdown if we’re talking our usual indoor courts that aren’t always clean or don’t feature high-quality hardwood. Outdoors, you’ll be a-okay.
The Boost & Lightstrike setup was nothing short of fantastic and I had no issues with security either.
For $140, the upper could’ve been more premium but I’m not too mad since they work well on the court. And you are getting a few genuine suede touches if you value that sorta thing.
Damn, I really like the Trae Young 1. I’m lucky though since I primarily play outdoors when I’m not testing a shoe for indoor performance. For those of you that play in good-to-excellent condition gyms or outside, chances are you’ll dig this one a lot too!
🛒 BUY THE ADIDAS TRAE YOUNG 1
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IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not quite sure on the Trae Young for one reason or another? I’ve cooked up some potential alternatives for you
ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 4, $140FULL REVIEW 🛒 AMAZON
Yes, rewind for a few years back to the 4th Harden shoe. One of the best adidas basketball shoes TO DATE. Full-length Lightstrike, a super comfy upper, outdoor-ready build & outsole, and everything that a guard needs + more.
If you’re looking to fix that inconsistent indoor traction of the Trae Young 1 but if you want to achieve a similar experience to that shoe, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out an older model. Mind you, an older model that’s still a killer all-around shoe.
ADIDAS N3XT L3V3L, $180🛒 AMAZON
For those looking to step things up a notch – take a look at the N3XT L3V3L. The reason why I included these is they originally were the go-to shoe for Trae Young before his signature debut. The cushion setup actually feels so damn close to the Young 1’s.
I don’t think there’s a shoe out right now that feels as similar as this one. The outsoles almost come straight off the Harden Vol. 3 and work well both indoors and outdoors.
It’s also a laceless design. Forget the two eyelet construction – this time you’ll get none. However, to my surprise, these actually work! If you can afford to lash out $180+ that is.
Note, I highly recommend getting the earlier version, the regular N3XT L3V3L from 2019, not the N3XT L3V3L Futurenatural. Those were built on the basis of the Harden Vol. 5. I’ll pass.
X. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
Sharing your thoughts will undoubtedly help the future reader
That concludes the Trae Young 1 review. I greatly appreciate your time if you stuck ’till the end! I truly hope it was as informative as I intended it to be.
However, the conversation doesn’t have to end here. The shoe has been out for a bit now, so I’m super curious to hear how you feel about it. Perhaps you’ve got a different color outsole or a translucent option and the traction indoors was better for you?
Or maybe you’ve got some additional questions I haven’t answered in the review? Every single thought you post is what will ultimately add to helping the future reader decide on his/her next purchase, so don’t hesitate!
Drop a comment down below – I’ll reply ASAP!
XI. TRAE YOUNG 1 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
adidas Trae Young 1$140
- True to size for most & including wide footers
- Iffy traction on dusty/weary indoor courts
- Fantastic all-around performance & comfort
- No serious damage 4 months in
- Guards, nimble forwards
- Explosive/athletic styles
- Side-to-side movements
- Wide footers