Don’t get me wrong – I love me a Harden Vol. 4 (and the Vol. 5 is on the radar too) but if we’re talking pure performance and ability to offer balance to MANY different players, the third shoe is still the king for me. Let’s break it all down in my comprehensive Harden Vol. 3 review – the 2018 hit from adidas.
BEHIND THE REVIEW
I’m a 6’1 guard at around 175 lbs and play explosively. If you’d like to know how these perform when pretty much pushed to the limit – this review’s a solid option. All the hooping was done outdoors and I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, performance, value for the price and see it stacks up to the latest Harden models right now.
I was playing around in these for a long time now but the last 2 months were focused on really testing it to put together a review, so you could say these have been in “the lab” for a few years now.
Let’s jump in!
Model: adidas Harden Vol. 3
Weight: 15.4 oz / 437 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $140
Cushion: full-length Boost
I. FIT & COMFORT
If you’ve had some adidas hoop shoes in the past – these should feel right at home with how the sizing goes.
The Harden Vol. 3 might fit some people a little long but it all depends. Regular/narrow footers will still be okay with their regular size for the most part but I’ve seen people recommend going down half a size at some instances.
Truth is, it’s impossible for me to accurately pin-point which size you should go with but most people will end up just fine with their usual size. If you’d like a very snug, one-to-one type of it with zero space at the front, going down half a size is also an option. Just NOT for a thicker, larger foot that is.
Chances are, most of you will have a little bit of space at the toebox area but it wasn’t anything terrible for me personally. But if you absolutely can’t stand that, ordering a few different size pairs will be the safest option here.
Wide footers should all go true to size, which is what I did and I have no complaints after a break-in period. It’s not THE best shoe for a wider foot, sure, but definitely not a terrible choice. The shoe is built on a fairly wide last and the materials do stretch out in time, so don’t overthink this part too much.
Due to the shoe being slightly long for some, there might be some heel slippage at first but that usually goes away. I haven’t experienced this at all but that’s likely due to my huge feet. And I mean huge.
COMFORT: ON POINT!
There’s nothing special about how the Harden Vol. 3 fits or feels comfort-wise but in this case, this is absolutely a good thing. You can already tell what The Beard and adidas were going for with these – simple, minimal, and straight to the point. That’s exactly how the shoe felt for me.
The main point of emphasis with these is to give these some time to adjust to your foot shape. Sure, you could say that about most shoes but particularly with the Harden Vol. 3, it went from questionable to awesome for me in a matter of a couple of weeks.
The shoe felt a little stiff at first, my foot was kind of suffocated in the upper and the midfoot torsional plate also gave an impression that there won’t be any flex torsionally. Well, all that changed after giving these some playtime.
They’re nowhere near as stiff now, the midfoot shank does provide strong torsional structure but there’s some flex now to accommodate better step motions, and all that internal padding & exaggerated achilles heel piece made for a comfortable, no B.S. ride.
The Harden Vol. 3 is a light-feeling shoe and it sure does play that way. The upper wraps around the feet very securely, there are no unneeded features or gimmicks, just a “lace-up and go play” mentality. I like that a lot.
Will these make a top 10 most comfortable list? No. But they will deliver in making you forget you’ve got a shoe on while hooping. In a good way.
A classic herringbone traction pattern all over the place.
The end result is just as expected – deadly multi-directional traction that’s consistent and makes all your shifts, stops, and stepbacks feel that much more responsive.
You can go with a translucent or a solid rubber option. I have the solid rubber pair but I’ve heard pretty much one-sided feedback on the translucent option – those work just as well.
As you can see, the pattern is quite dense which has become a common tendency among adidas’s basketball stuff. It sure does grip all kinds of courts well but debris will get into those tight spaces of the outsole.
A quick wipe-down or two will be enough to keep the traction fully healthy every once in a while. Nothing deal-breaking here, so nothing to complain about.
Those guys who aren’t accustomed to wiping their soles down won’t be left in the water though. The rubber is tacky enough and there’s enough volume of the pattern to catch your plants even if there’s a lot of crap stuck onto it. But in an ideal scenario, I do recommend getting into such a habit of wiping lol.
I do have to mention that things got a little sloppier on one particular court I’ve played on. I took ’em to an old concrete park with all kinds of nasty stuff lying on the ground. Wiping more frequently was needed there and I did slip from time to time when there was too much dust where I planted.
But that’s a very extreme case though – you could imagine how that court looks like. I don’t usually play on something like that and I’m sure a lot of you aren’t either. But if you do though – just know that you’ll need to wipe these down a little more often and expect some slips here and there. It’s still fine.
Now, I’ve had these for over two years now, and the solid rubber pair is pretty banged up now. There are a bunch of frays along the lateral & medial sides of the outsole and the rubber looks weary. HOWEVER, things aren’t as bad performance-wise as they are looking visually.
This is not an outdoor model but still having fairly solid traction 2+ years later, including playing outdoors, is something I didn’t expect. No, the overall bite isn’t as deadly as it was out of the box but it’s still to a point where it’s acceptable for me personally.
Perhaps much shiftier, Kyrie-like players might not find it suitable but for the average player, this is still fine.
I’ve been thoroughly cleaning the outsoles every few games and that did help preserve the tackiness of the rubber. But to put things into perspective, you’d ideally want something more durable if you’re solely looking for a heavy-duty outdoor model that will last several years.
For someone like me, I’m mostly playing outdoors during the spring and summer, while I shift to indoor gyms during the autumn & winter. Well, since the world is anything but normal at the moment, I’ve been playing more outdoors than ever.
What I can say confidently is that the Harden Vol. 3 should last you at least a couple of seasons of hardcore outdoor sessions.
Full-length Boost. I could probably end it there for some. But for those who are unfamiliar – Boost has been one of the flagship foam compounds providing some of the most fun and efficient rides there is to date.
This particular implementation of Boost might not be the bounciest or the most FUN but it sure is among the most efficient and balanced. This is seriously engineering at its finest and it shows.
The setup is perfect for a player like James Harden – the shoe is very low to the ground so court feel is retained. There’s a ton of response as Boost contorts and then springs back extremely fast. The ride is stable as the shoe’s platform is wide & flat, plus there’s the forefoot cage to suppress Boost over there from getting all crazy on us.
But for someone else who isn’t as quick or shifty, or perhaps much heavier/more athletic, this midsole is STILL a great fit.
This foam, usually regardless of implementation, always provides some of the best impact protection while keeping a low profile, and the bounce sensation underfoot is something that never gets old with Boost. You get the best of both worlds. Or should I say all worlds.
Bottom line – most people will like this setup for one reason or another. Or for all the reasons.
While it doesn’t go all-out in one aspect (like the LeBron 18 cushion-wise or the Kyrie 5 responsiveness-wise), it provides all the qualities most player types will find extremely enjoyable. And does so in a Boost-like fashion. What more is there to ask.
The Harden Vol. 3 is a supportive shoe for what it offers.
Say what you want about a low top and its ability to support player’s movements as well as a higher cut shoe would, but the Harden Vol. 3 does everything it can in its power to provide a secure experience.
Yes, it’s a low top and it’s a pretty minimal feeling shoe but adidas has always been known for pushing security to its limits while keeping a small footprint. And this one’s yet another successful attempt at just that.
There’s an internal heel counter for ankle & heel lockdown along with an extended achilles piece for a more secure feel around your, well, achilles. There’s also a midfoot plate going from heel-to-toe which provides torsional structure. A decent choice if you’re a flat footer and need a new pair.
But since the shoe is as compact as it is, overall support & containment mostly comes from the fit & the upper. If you get the size right, you can definitely expect a secure fit and the upper has enough structure to hold your foot in and wrap around it very nicely.
Lastly, the shoe’s platform is definitely wider than average and it’s almost entirely flat, so stability is on-point with these. If you need a mobile shoe that feels fast but still retains the security that you need, this is a great option.
V. MATERIALS & BUILD
The upper is some kind of rough, strong textile-based synthetic material that’s heavily backed up with nylon for structure. The end result is pretty damn good.
Now, this won’t feel like a “premium” setup to the touch but it does play nicely. Since it’s a textile at its core, we’re getting comfort and it doesn’t take ages to break these in. But the material is reinforced rather heavily, so containment and durability are also intact.
The shoe is actually built very well and unlike the outsoles, the upper still looks a-okay 2+ years later. Since this fabric is pretty tightly threaded, proper ventilation is nowhere to be found, so your feet will get pretty hot under the sun. I don’t really mind that though – I’d take structure and comfort over breathability any day of the week.
The shoe sports a standard lace-and-loop lacing structure and there’s a large tongue for easy entry. Forget about all the one-bootie stuff, while some of those do work, I’d always prefer a traditional construction.
The little extra piece at the top of the tongue and the heel portion with the adidas logo look like leather but those are actually synthetics. It does feel like leather upon touching it, which is a nice detail.
Similar to the Dame 7 and the Crazy Explosive 2017, my laces loosen up pretty fast, no matter how hard I pull them down. Not as fast as on the Dame 7 though – those were a little crazy with that. Nothing terrible obviously – just had to stop and re-adjust occasionally, if I felt there wasn’t enough lockdown.
Overall, once again there’s nothing so special about the build and the upper – it works. It’s durable, it’s comfortable, and it holds your foot in at all times.
Sure, there are cheaper options that provide about the same thing and there are always much pricier options that have a “luxury” feel to them but if you’re here for performance and practicality, there’s nothing wrong with the build of the Harden Vol. 3.
The adidas Harden Vol. 3 is a fantastic shoe that might not look like it. It’s got a pretty boring design (lest’s be honest lol) and there are no fancy features/tech packed and marketed as some amazing stuff you must try out.
But behind all that is superb all-around performance, a fairly competitive price for what you get, durability for some outdoor action, and versatility. Most people could pick these up and play safely. It will all depend on your individual needs as perhaps you’d like more support or firmer cushion.
But whatever the case may be, the shoe delivers in providing a little bit of everything for virtually anyone to cover comfort, efficiency, and security.
Why Amazon or adidas? Click to find out!
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.
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
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.
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
Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!
That’s a wrap for the Harden Vol. 3 review! I’ve gotta be honest – the 4th Harden might be a little more comfortable but if we’re talking performance AND versatility, the third one just hits home for me.
adidas has been killing it for a while now, mostly. I’ve put together a list of the best adidas hoop shoes in recent years which should get you up to speed with the brand’s top offerings. Check it out below!
But I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps you’ve got the shoe and feel different about it? Do you have a question? Suggestion?
DISCOVER MORE FROM ADIDAS:
adidas Harden Vol. 3$140
Fit & Comfort8.0/10
Value for the Price8.5/10
- True to size is optimal for most & wide footers included
- Can fit long for some: 1/2 a size down for a small foot and a tight fit
- Make sure to wipe the outsoles down occassionally for optimal traction on dirtier courts
- Laces loosen up rather quickly
- Ideal for most guards
- Positions 1-3
- Can work for a lighter big guy