Best ADIDAS Basketball Shoes: Lineup For Every Player (2021)

Let me tell you something right away – adidas has been low-key KILLING it with a lot of their basketball shoe releases for the past few years. I wanted to take the time to break it down for you and show you my personal picks for the 9 best adidas basketball shoes you can get right now.

I’ll quickly break down how I put the shoe list together and what you should know about it, break down 6 shoes that all excel in different categories, and 3 overall performers that provide everything you need, regardless of the player.

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Let’s be smart and choose our shoes wisely, no matter the brand


While most guys are still jumping on the usual Nikey/Jordan bandwagon (or whatever you want to call it), smart consumers are taking advantage of adidas’s fantastic releases that usually don’t break the bank. We can grab a legit long-lasting signature shoe for not more than $140 OR LESS.

So if it’s well-rounded performance, durability, and great value for the price you’re looking for, regardless of the logo on the shoe, I’m sure you’ll take some valuable gems out of this one.

But first, let’s go over how I put the shoe list together so we’re on the same page.

Main points of emphasis I stuck to when putting the list together. I believe it’s important for you to know these!


Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Research

I’ve chosen 9 adidas shoes in total (likely will be expanded), with the first six shoes divided into different categories and the last three as the best overall performers that don’t fit into a particular category.

I believe this will help you pick out what works best FOR YOU and your needs. And if you’re not yet sure – there’s always the overall picks & comment section down below where you can ask me anything! 😉

I. FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE, COMFORT & VALUE FOR THE MONEY

Like every other shoe list, I’ve put the focus on picking what I think are the best performing, most comfortable/best-fitting, and best bang for your buck shoes from the Three Stripes brand.

This means that each shoe, regardless of the category I’ve put it into, will be a solid all-around performer, it’ll provide a comfortable & secure fit and the price you’re paying should be worth it in the long run.

II. TRIED AND TRUE: NO SHOE LEFT ON THE SHELVES

If you’ve checked my other lists & shoe reviews, you’ll know I never put shoes I haven’t personally played in & tested for enough time to solidify a comprehensive opinion about them. I’ve wrecked each shoe for at least 2 months (mostly longer than that though). I’m a 6’1 guard at 175 lbs and got an explosive, attack-first playstyle.

If we’re talking shoes released this year or last year, all of those were exclusively tested outdoors. I think I don’t need to remind you why. For slightly older shoes, those were tested both indoors & outdoors since we were still living in a quarantine-free world back then.

III. NO OLD-SCHOOL SHOES HERE

I’m skipping old releases altogether for a couple of simple reasons. First, I don’t think you’ll be wanting to scratch your head over a 2012 shoe hunt.

All shoes in the list were launched in the last few years (with a few exceptions) which means you’ll still be able to find ’em widely available at the most popular sports retailers/places like Amazon.

And keeping up with the latest shoe tech & design innovations is never a bad thing. Particularly for adidas’s performance basketball products, the growth in tech & engineering has been huge over the years and it only makes sense to stay away from the old stuff.

IV. CHECK BACK LATER!

The grind doesn’t stop here! I’m always on the lookout for new releases and this includes adidas’s stuff. If I find and properly evaluate a possible banger of a shoe, I’ll most definitely update this list with better options. Check back occasionally!

With that, I obviously haven’t yet played in ALL shoes by adidas throughout the years. During the time you see this, there probably will be a few models I haven’t yet checked out or finished testing.

But I believe it’s better to put together a tried-and-tested list of stuff that really does work at the moment as opposed to jumping on the “latest” trend and shoving shoes that aren’t properly evaluated yet in the mix. Let’s take one at a time and by the end of the year, you might see a fully fresh list!

6 picks divided into 6 categories & 3 best overall picks. I’ll break down each shoe’s strong suits, possible drawbacks, and additional things you should know before getting ’em


I. Best On a Budget

  💰 $100   ðŸ† 8/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: D.O.N. Issue #2

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

There’s nothing that remarkable or special about Donovan Mitchell’s second signature sneaker from adidas but given the price, the shoe might just save your wallet if you’re on a tough budget at the moment.

Bounce cushion is offered as a budget solution while still offering quality cushion that’s responsive, fast, and court-feel orientated but won’t leave you hanging in terms of impact protection and a small spring back feel that should get the job done for a lot of different players.

Built of various lightweight textiles & synthetic overlays for structure, it feels right at home with today’s material standards bringing you a light, mobile and comfy experience that doesn’t come at a cost of lackluster support. adidas has always been killing it making their shoes secure as hell while keeping comfort at bay.

The D.O.N. Issue #2 is a solid shoe that I never had major complaints about while playing. It might’ve not given me everything I wanted but it did give me all I needed to play comfortably, safely, and efficiently.

While its specs might not be sensational comparing it to $200 cushion setups & other tech, it’s got plenty for $100 to beat a lot of other “budget” shoes, adidas or not.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

The shoe gripped the floor well for me 97% of the time but this won’t be an ideal choice for constant outdoor play due to the questionable rubber compound use on the outsoles. Some use is fine and you won’t be spilling a lot of $$$ down the drain but there are more durable options out there.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • True to size for most foot shapes, up 1/2 a size for wide footers
  • Will need some time to soften up the Bounce foam
  • The upper tends to look weary fast due to the thin synthetics used

II. Best for Outdoors

  💰 $115   ðŸ† 9.5/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Dame 3

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

The Dame 3 is the most durable basketball shoe I’ve ever played in. Not an exaggeration – sure, I haven’t tried a lot of the older stuff but Damian Lillard’s stunningly consistent signature line peaked in the third model if we’re talking about a tank-like build that will last years, even on the blacktop.

I’ve been wrecking the same pair outdoors for nearly 5 years now – solid durability would be an understatement here. A blade traction pattern is used on the shoe’s outsoles along with incredibly durable rubber that simply refuses to fail on me.

And then there’s the Bounce midsole that’s extremely well-balanced (and a bit bouncier than the D.O.N. Issue #2’s) for just about anyone to keep those knees from dying on unforgiving surfaces, the FUSEDMESH upper which is built like a tank but I never felt stiff in these.

There’s enough support packing for even the most explosive guards or bigger guys, yet the setup is nimble enough for the shiftiest. A no-brainer for anyone who needs a trusty pair of outdoor hoop shoes.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

The only two nitpicks I’ve got on these are the lack of any real ventilation due to the structure of the upper and these are quite a nightmare to put on. Especially for a wider, thicker foot. The Dame 3 sports a one-bootie upper which means there’s no separated tongue.

Pair that with the upper that refuses to stretch and I get my fingers in some trouble each time I’m lacing these up. Not deal-breaking, sure. Just a little annoying.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • Runs long for most: 1/2 a size down is optimal
  • Wide footers should stick to their usual size
  • Most sports retailers don’t have these anymore – Amazon is the #1 choice currently

III. Best for Guards

  💰 $130   ðŸ† 8.5/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 4

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

Similarly to the Dame line, James Harden’s successful signature streak continues and the Harden Vol. 4 is an awesome shoe for those fast guards who need a little bit of everything: speed, quickness, court feel but also sufficient security & mobility to make every shifty move count.

Harden’s 4th iteration offers adidas’s latest Lightstrike cushion which is essentially a lighter, thinner, and more efficient version of Bounce. You can expect a very fast, responsive, and low-to-the-ground ride but Lightstrike is no joke.

For such a minimal midsole, the impact protection and cushion offered quite surprised me. It won’t blow you away but there’s enough to keep the games comfy and fun.

And forget about the days when low-tops were considered less safe. This shoe packs enough support features, a great fit, and a flat & stable platform to ensure you’re all good. If you love a mobile & minimal setup – the Harden Vol. 4 is a great choice on steroids. Support or mobility? Well how about both?

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

I’m sure most other guys who tried the shoe would bring up the midfoot band issue. The little elastic band that goes through the midfoot area is supposed to pull the shoe down and provide further lockdown but every time the shoe flexed it caused discomfort for my foot.

It wasn’t too bad for me personally as it did go away eventually but some users reported more severe cases. This will of course depend on your foot shape but most people report it does break in eventually.

Also, this isn’t a real outdoor shoe so similarly to the D.O.N. Issue #2, keep outdoor action to occasional. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • Wide footer-friendly: true to size for most foot shapes
  • Wipe the outsoles down periodically for optimal grip
  • Comes in two options: knit & leather or mesh & suede

IV. Best for Bigmen

  💰 $130   ðŸ† 8.1/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Marquee Boost

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

I tried to keep expectations at a minimum for this one but when there’s Boost, there’s always excitement. The Marquee Boost provides a very well-rounded experience for a competitive price, including adidas’s flagship cushion. And it also happens to be a solid fit for a bigger guy.

Full-length Boost is the shoe’s midsole and if you know something about Boost, it can do so much for so many different players as the actual implementation is key. This setup gave me tons of impact protection & softness at the heel and response at the front, making it a versatile choice.

There’s plenty of support for all positions and the reinforced mesh upper offers good enough structure to keep a heavier player’s foot contained. And if you’re wondering about the higher cut, the ankle collar is actually very nicely padded and cups your heel in a pillow-like manner.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

These can feel somewhat bulky or heavy-footed for some. Heavier & bigger players will enjoy these the most, as opposed to shiftier, lighter guards. Aside from that, I noticed the outsoles on these were especially sensitive. Frequent wiping will be required to keep the traction consistent, especially if you’re on a dirtier/older court.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • Runs long: narrow/regular footers can go down 1/2 a size
  • True to size is optimal for wide footers
  • Outdoor-ready if you can deal with the sensitive outsoles

V. Most Secure

  💰 $115   ðŸ† 9.4/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Dame 5

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

The 5th Dame is among those bangers I always keep close to me. Take the earlier mentioned Dame 3 but make it an even sturdier tank by toning down the material choices & ramping up support features, all without taking away comfort.

No price changes, no gimmicks, just a straight-up solid shoe that offers well-rounded performance and especially great for those who are looking to take security to a whole new level.

There’s an internal heel counter for ankle & heel lockdown, a flat & wide forefoot platform for stability, a one-to-one fit, TPU lateral wings for additional support, and a few upper variants that all offer a base level of containment & structure. It’s a tank, people.

Bounce cushion is again used and brings more of the same versatility we’ve come to expect and the outdoor-ready traction is as deadly as always.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

It’s tough to find drawbacks for this one. Lackluster ventilation on most upper variants could be one of ’em but that’s not much of a throw-off for most.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • Runs long: regular/narrow footers can go down 1/2 a size
  • Wide footers will be okay with their usual size
  • Give the upper some time to break in, might feel a little stiff at first
  • Comes in a leather or a mesh upper. Go with a solid rubber outsole for outdoor use

VI. Most Comfortable

  💰 $150   ðŸ† 9/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Crazy Explosive 2017 Primeknit

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

There’s something about this adidas’s 2017 hit that makes me come back to these even several years later. Oh wait, I know what does. It’s the Boost and the Primeknit all throughout the build. Those two combined with a great fit makes these still the most comfortable adidas shoe for me personally. 

One of the most fun implementations of Boost to date, you’ll have the bounce of your life in these. All this bounce, softness, those buttery-smooth step transitions, and impact protection are all fun and games but it’s also gotta be stable. The TPU caging handles that part for us, making sure the foam doesn’t over-compress.

And if you can get your hands on the Primeknit version of the shoe, you’ll be in for a lightweight, soft, and premium experience that your feet should thank you for. The compression sock-like ankle sleeve hugs your ankle nicely and a large amount of internal padding just adds the icing on the cake.

But make no mistake – there’s a reason the shoe is so well spoken-of and it’s not just comfort. They’re supportive, traction is deadly & durable, and regardless of which upper you go with – all provide a contained fit that should last you a while.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

Not a huge con but the laces loosen up fairly quickly in these. No matter how hard I pull down on these, I still find myself re-adjusting every 20+ minutes.

Another thing I should mention is the Boost foam deteriorated a few months in for some people. While it never happened for me, some users report that the midsole started feeling dead just a few months with the shoe. It’s no secret all foam compounds do this sooner or later but it might catch you off guard with the CE 2017.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • Wide footer-friendly: all foot shapes can go true to size
  • Comes in several options (mesh or Primeknit & a low cut or a high cut): Primeknit is the best comfort-wise
  • Occasional wiping down the outsoles is needed to keep the traction at 100%
  • A little tough to find due to the older release date. Amazon is still an option

VII. Best Overall #1

  💰 $140   ðŸ† 9.3/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: D Rose 6 Boost

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

Despite being several models behind the latest in the D Rose line, the 6th shoe is still my favorite – I just can’t help it. Boost at its peak, stellar support and traction, the properties of an outdoor shoe that should last you a long time, and several upper choices available to tailor to what you like best.

The D Rose 6 displayed what Boost can really do and similarly to the CE 2017 – it’s a TON of fun. Probably a tad bit more subdued compared to the Crazy Explosive but still among the best in delivering explosive energy return, comfort underfoot, fantastic heel-to-toe transitions while keeping things fast & still retaining some court feel.

It’s an insane setup that goes all-out with Boost but implemented in a very stable & efficient manner. You’ve gotta try it to believe it. Boost is the king of efficiency, period.

And on top of all that, the shoe was mad comfortable back when it released and I think it still is even for this year’s standards. Tons and tons of internal padding that cups your foot, a secure fit that’s as close as to a 1-to-1 as they come but if you can find the Primeknit version, you’ll max out how comfortable these can be.

Not saying the other options aren’t comfortable but the PK build is the way to go if you can find it.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

Derrick Rose’s sneaker lineup has always had a knack for heavier, slightly bulkier shoes. While the Rose 6 isn’t a particularly heavy shoe, it might feel a little sluggish for those who are lighter and/or used to playing in lower-profile, more minimal shoes.

You’ll get used to it though, I personally don’t mind the heavier bottom of the build as the comfort & the midsole makes up for it for me.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • True to size is recommended for most foot shapes
  • Comes in different upper options: nubuck and leather are the most common
  • A little tough to find at the usual retailers. Amazon still has some available

Best Overall #2

  💰 $140  🏆 8.5/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 3

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

While the Harden Vol. 4 is a great choice for a lot of players and especially guards, the Vol. 3 wins it by a tad bit if we’re talking versatility. A great low-top that feels and plays super fast yet comfortably, and keeping a similar adidas pattern, doesn’t break the bank too much.

The shoe packs full-length Boost for the cushion setup and, well, here we go again. I won’t repeat myself over and over again, so let me just tell you that this version of Boost is the most balanced among all the shoes mentioned. It’s super fast and feels responsive, yet there’s enough shock absorption even for a bigger guy.

Court feel is still there as the midsole is thin and there’s just enough bounce underfoot to keep things explosive. Not crazy explosive like on the CE 2017 but still fun. Absolutely the most well-rounded choice among the Harden line and a lot of shoes in general.

But Boost is unstable by nature, you say? Well, the shoe is low to the ground, the platform is nice and wide, torsional support is excellent and the fit is near-perfect if you get the size right. There’s enough firepower to support a big guy but the shoe plays like a quick guard. Engineering on point!

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

I found the outsoles to pick up debris from the court rather quickly, even on a newer park surface. Prepare to wipe these down periodically to keep the traction at 100%.

Also, not the most durable choice if we’re talking about playing outdoors all the time. Not the worst either, so occasional games here and there should be fine. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • True to size is recommended for most foot shapes

Best Overall #3

  💰 $110   ðŸ† 8.8/10

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: Dame 7

WHAT’S PACKING INSIDE

Dame’s latest sneaker, the Dame 7 continues on the awesome consumer-friendly signature line. With reworked tooling, new material choices, and some other details tweaked, the shoe is once again a versatile package that doesn’t come at a fortune. It almost seems like Damian Lillard truly cares about us.

The adidas Dame 7 packs Lightstrike cushion and it’s an interesting setup. RIDICULOUSLY soft at the back and firm at the front and despite the big contrast, my step transitions and flow of the ride were nothing short of awesome. You might not be used to such an amount of cushion in the heel but the least you can do is try it out. It’s hella fun!

Along with cushion, the shoe grips the floor well and blows a lot of other signature lines out of the water by always making sure the shoe is ready for outdoor action. A season or a few of ’em – these should last you a while.

The Dame 7 also features a robust build for support but comfort isn’t sacrificed. The upper is mostly made of mesh along with some Fuse overlays for more structure. Nothing fancy but for $110, it absolutely gets the job done performance-wise.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS

Similar to the Crazy Explosive 2017 – I’ve run into the lacing issue, where I had to re-lace the shoes every few plays. Not sure why is this not caught in the testing phase but something we’ll have to deal with for now.

These also pick up dust & debris quite fast, though it’s not as bad as on the Harden Vol. 3. Occasional wiping will be the most you’ll need to keep the grip at maximum.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
  • True to size for regular/narrow footers, or 1/2 a size down for a snug fit
  • True to size is optimal for most wide footers
  • The cushion setup might take a little bit of time to get used to

Best adidas Basketball Shoes: End

That’s a wrap for the list! I truly hope you’ve found it interesting and will be able to take something useful from it. Don’t sleep on adidas!

But wait, that’s not all. If you’re looking to get more specific or possibly even further your basketball shoe knowledge, make sure to check out my guides & other shoe lists! You might find the ones below interesting.

And as always, I’m super excited to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps you’ve played in some of these and feel differently about it? Or you’ve got a question I haven’t answered here? Let me know!

SHOW ME THE SHOE LISTS & GUIDES

Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!

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4 thoughts on “Best ADIDAS Basketball Shoes: Lineup For Every Player (2021)

  1. A very extensive review on these basketball shoes, Julius. 

    Once you find the proper shoe for your foot and activity, it’s easy to appreciate the difference in shoes. Many people get hooked on the “brand” and don’t realize that there may be a better shoe for them in a less popular name. 

    Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all. Today’s sport’s footwear has evolved into a high-tech science competition. 

    Everyone is trying their best to stay ahead of the competition. The action on a basketball court is savage, and wearing the wrong shoe, or even a lesser quality shoe can leave you in the dust.

    Paul

    1. You’re absolutely right Paul, even though plenty of people look at adidas as one of the kings of sports shoes, you’d be surprised how many guys and basketball players underlook adidas by going with that’s popping, a.k.a. mostly Nikey or Jordan.

  2. When it comes to shoes I think every man gets excited when they get some new sneaker. Am thrilled to say the last three sneakers have caught my attention. Because the architectural design and style of the D ROSE 6 BOOST, HARDEN VOL. 3 and DAME 7 are classic and also the D.O.N. ISSUE #2 looks cool. I personally think these are must-have sneakers.

    1. Yeah, if you’re going for all-out looks, all of these are dope and can totally be worn casually! But for someone who’s also looking to get solid performance, you’re getting that as well.

      I can’t stop rocking the D Rose 6 even after all these years. Something about ’em!

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