Adidas’s #1 BUDGET Choice: DON Issue 2 Review

For everyone that missed this shoe or the fact that Donovan Mitchell has two of his own shoes now, let’s knock two birds with one stone! In this DON Issue 2 review, I’ll break down what I think is the best budget basketball shoe to get in 2020 or early 2021.

So, for those who are looking to spend the least amount of $$$ to get the best possible shoe to wreck around – the D.O.N. Issue #2 is a great choice. Not saying it’s the best shoe in the world but I thought I’d bring it up since I was recently playing in it a lot and this might help those who are on a less forgiving budget.

After 3+ months of outdoor play, we’ll be breaking down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, on-court performance, value for the price, and versatility.

Let’s go!

SPEC SHEET

Don Issue 2 Review

Model: adidas D.O.N. Issue #2
Build: Mid-Top
Weight: 15.89 oz / 450 g. (size 10.5 US)
Retail Price: $100
Cushion: full-length Bounce
Best Offer On: Amazon Finish Line adidas

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I. COMFORT & FIT

Don Issue 2 Review: Top

SIZING ADVICE: WIDE FOOTERS PAY ATTENTION!

Let’s start with the need-to-know first.

Even though the shoe’s got a wide platform externally, things are much more compact inside. The shoe is pretty narrow width-wise and about average length-wise. So no adidas fit quirks you’d so commonly see on popular lines such as Dame’s or D Rose’s.

Regular/narrow footers will want to go true to their regular size but don’t get it twisted – you should still expect a snug & compact type of fit. For those who prefer a bit more room for your foot inside the shoe and generally feel more comfortable with slightly looser fits – you can also go up 1/2 size.

Being a prominent wide footer, I of course went half a size up without second thoughts, and the fit’s pretty good. They’re right on the limit for me length-wise, so guys with regular/narrow feet shouldn’t worry too much about length getting messed up if you’re going up from your usual size.

They’re still snug and feel condensed even after a few weeks – nothing terrible or deal-breaking though. I generally prefer just a bit more room for my feet but this was just fine.

So bottom line: most people will generally be cool with their regular size (unless you particularly require a bit more room) and wide footers should surely go up 1/2 size.

If you’ve gone up half your size and feel like the shoe is just too small even after a while (3-4 weeks TOPS), so the shoe’s out of the window for you, unfortunately. I’d bet my money these would clearly fit too long in that case.

That’s why I’d generally, especially now dealing with the quarantine stuff, recommend ordering a few different options of the shoe online just to be sure if you’re not completely sure on the size to go with.

Don Issue 2 Review: Front

COMFORT: $100 CERTIFIED

In terms of comfort – nothing special, yet nothing straight-up bad either. There’s just about the same amount of internal padding you’d see on an average adidas sneaker.

The shoe doesn’t overly flex due to a midfoot shank being present, though they aren’t overly stiff either – step motions are pretty natural, and the ride is one you’d quickly forget about while playing.

Absolutely not a bad thing though – even though there’s no $200 experience here, there are no annoying distractions or things that might get into the way when your mind’s on the court. 

A secure fit, solid containment, they’re light and offer a distraction-free experience to play and forget you’ve got a shoe on. This is pretty much enough to get a pass for a basketball shoe and lay a foundation for other areas to work well performance-wise. 

And these are $100 – I’m satisfied.

II. TRACTION

Don Issue 2 Review: Outsole

Now, I haven’t played in the first D.O.N. Issue and I was only able to test these outdoors, so for anyone who’s looking to know how these stack up indoors – I’d suggest checking out older reviews by other people before quarantine hit us all.

I wasn’t impressed by the shoe’s traction but I wasn’t super disappointed either. The pattern isn’t your typical trusty herringbone and the use of multiple colors (meaning multiple paints) throughout the pattern can sometimes result in inconsistencies. Luckily, I haven’t experienced anything along those lines with the D.O.N. Issue #2.

The traction, in general, was fine – no crazy bite or stopping power, I wasn’t sticking to the floor like glue either.

On paper – these won’t make the list of the best tractions. From a practical standpoint – the shoe grips the floor fine I felt like there’s nothing to really complain about here.

Shifty or not – these should supplement and provide sufficient grip at all times – there’s enough bite to keep your mind solely on the game and not on the shoe.

I’ve experienced only a handful of slips on a rubber surface throughout the course of a few months. I’d imagine things might be even better indoors. Oh, if only…

The pattern is spaced out really well and the rubber compound isn’t the stickiest – what does this mean? This means that you can almost completely forget about wiping your outsoles.

I’m personally not a huge wiping person on the court and I love a shoe that doesn’t force me to think about the traction, as I’d need to halt and wipe it down to preserve 100% traction. Not the case with the DON Issue 2 – even outdoors.

OUTDOOR DURABILITY

As for outdoor durability – this isn’t an outdoor model so don’t expect years of reliability with these on concrete. I’m over 3 months in with the shoe and despite having some slips here and there, the outsole is still looking good.

I did notice I was sliding out just a bit more often lately but still, not to a point where it’s deal-breaking.

I’ll also clean my outsole thoroughly soon which will likely restore a bit of that bite since there’s still some dust buildup that has stuck to the rubber. Happens all the time, regardless of the pattern.

III. CUSHION

Don Issue 2 Review: Side 1

Bounce cushion is used for the D.O.N. Issue #2 which is typical for a budget adidas shoe. I gotta say I felt similar about the cushion just as I did with the traction.

It’s nothing crazy but nothing terrible either. Bounce is usually a very well-balanced compound that doesn’t stick out due to its lack of FUN factor or crazy bounce. It’s there to provide a little bit of everything to supplement just about every player properly from a performance standpoint.

But it’s a little more low-key in this shoe. Yes, there’s still a little bit of softness felt underfoot but you’d feel more cushion on something such as the Dame 5 or even the Dame 3. From what I experienced, this setup felt closest to 2019’s Pro Bounce for me.

So, a little more focus towards responsiveness, court feel, and speed this time. Don’t get it twisted though – you won’t be blowing your knees out either, Bounce still provides a layer of impact protection so even though you might not feel like you’re jumping on clouds, it’ll get the job done safely and efficiently.

So bottom line – lighter, low to the ground type of guards or spot-up shooters will love this setup the most. For anyone else – I think this is still a solid setup, though it will depend on what you prefer.

If you absolutely require tons of cushion underfoot, I’d skip this one and look for an option in this list.

IV. SUPPORT

Don Issue 2 Review: Heel

Support and overall foot security is something adidas so rarely fails on. I feel like I’m repeating myself each time an adidas shoe review comes up but I’m always impressed by it. I can’t help it.

These guys love to use modern materials on their shoes these days – textiles, lightweight synthetics, and various types of mesh.

With that comes the responsibility to make the shoe supportive since the upper won’t really do that for you due to the nature of the materials.

There’s an internal heel counter for heel & ankle lockdown, a midfoot shank for torsional support, there are upper overlays on key areas for more structure and better containment as well.

The foot also sits within the midsole which promotes stability and as mentioned earlier, the shoe’s platform is flat & wide. All this makes up for a very secure package that never makes you worry about your foot sliding out of the footbed or lack of confident lateral coverage.

It’s all there, it works well and works for just about everybody. There are no apparent restrictions or things that might hinder your experience – the shoe is a safe haven to play in. No complaints here, especially for a hundred bucks.

V. BUILD & MATERIALS

Don Issue 2 Review: Toebox

The shoe uses a few different textiles along with a few synthetic pieces of overlays for more structure. Once again, nothing spectacular that might give that premium feel but it ain’t bad either.

For those who are looking for pure performance and just need a shoe to play basketball in comfortably – I think you’ll appreciate the D.O.N. Issue #2’s upper just as I did.

For those who are looking for a luxury experience, raw materials, or extreme durability – you won’t find that stuff here.

So the main advantages of this upper are mobility, ventilation, a very short break-in period, and lesser weight. Durability will take a hit but it’s not horrible in this case.

I’m seeing some frayings around the toebox area but it’s mainly just cosmetic damage. This is one of those uppers where you’ll quickly see these are actively being played in.

I’m not saying these will break down on you a couple of months in but it might be a good idea to keep these as your “occasional” outdoor choice.

I’d imagine the outsole and the upper will start deteriorating a couple of seasons in. But then again, there’s no way to know that – only time will tell. For $100, this is a solid build though.

VI. OVERALL

Don Issue 2 Review: Midfoot

The adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 is the most cost-effective basketball shoe of 2020 in my book. Sure, there are some other great picks if you’d throw an extra $15-$50 but if we’re talking about pure performance per every dollar, I think this is the one.

The shoe has solid traction and you won’t be needing to wipe these every two seconds, the cushion setup is low-key but still good enough for most people to play, support is just as awesome as you’d see on most adidas hoop shoes, and the upper’s nothing short of the modern material trend.

The outsole and the overall build aren’t the most durable in the world but enough to keep you going for a while. All we got is outdoor parks at the moment and the shoe did the trick for me for at least 3+ months.

Nothing revolutionary or that stood out but everything worked. Money well spent, job well done adidas!

The scores of the shoe are below!

CHECK ON ADIDAS CHECK ON AMAZON CHECK ON FINISH LINE

Why buy from these stores? 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!


 

Alright, that’s a wrap for the DON Issue 2 review! I hope you’ve found it informative as always!

2020 is FINALLY over so it’s now the time to check out the nominees for the best basketball shoes of this crazy year. Find them here!

As always, I’m super curious to hear what you think about these. Will you be getting them? Perhaps you’ve got a different experience? Or you’ve got a burning question?

 

THE VERDICT

adidas D.O.N. Issue #2

$100
8

Fit & Comfort

8.0/10

On-Court Performance

8.0/10

Value for the Price

9.5/10

Outdoor-Ready

6.5/10

Main Takeaways

  • Wide footers: 1/2 size up
  • Expect the cushion to feel a little dead at first
  • The upper starts looking banged up rather quickly but should last for a while

Recommended For

  • Most guards
  • Lighter players
  • Spot-up shooters

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