The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Ultimate Hooper’s Guide

adidas’s Harden basketball shoe line has always been among the most well-rounded and consistent in not only the brand’s catalog but among the entire hoop shoe market. Today, we’re talkin’ everything about the best Harden Basketball shoes to get for any hooper.

I’ll break down what you should generally expect when it comes to sneakers by the Beard, give you a retrospective on the guy’s entire sneaker lineup, and provide a regularly-updated Harden hoop shoe rotation. This is your ultimate Harden sneaker cheat sheet!

SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Best Harden Basketball ShoesPin

I. THE BEST HARDEN BASKETBALL SHOES: QUICK LOOK

Looking to get straight to the point? Here are your best Harden hoop shoes at a glance

SHOE NAMECATEGORYRETAIL PRICERATING
adidas Harden Vol. 3Best OverallπŸ’° 140 USDπŸ† 8.5/10
adidas Harden Vol. 4Best Overall Runner-UpπŸ’° 130 USDπŸ† 8.4/10
adidas Harden B/EBest Overall on a BudgetπŸ’° 125 USDπŸ† ~8/10
adidas Harden Vol. 6Best for OutdoorsπŸ’° 140 USDπŸ† ~8.5/10
adidas Harden Stepback 2Best for Outdoors on a BudgetπŸ’° 80 USDπŸ† ~8.2/10
adidas Harden Vol. 5Most SupportiveπŸ’° 130 USDπŸ† 6.6/10
adidas Harden Vol. 1 LS PrimeknitMost ComfortableπŸ’° 160 USDπŸ† ~8/10
adidas Harden Vol. 1Best for Wide FeetπŸ’° 140 USDπŸ† ~8/10
adidas Harden Vol. 2Best for Flat FeetπŸ’° 140 USDπŸ† ~9/10

II. WHAT YOU’LL GET FROM A HARDEN SHOE

Here are the most common qualities, pros, and cons you can come to expect from a Harden basketball sneaker

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: FeaturesPin

background image source: adidas.com

Performance hoop footwear from James Harden is primarily guard’s shoes.

However, unlike other guard shoe lines from signature athletes like Kyrie Irving or Steph Curry, each and every release from the Beard seems to strike a very nice balance between a quick, nimble sneaker and a viable option for just about anyone else.

This is why his kicks are among the favorite according to regular buyers. I’m also a big fan of his stuff as well ever since I got into adidas’s performance offerings.

So, don’t rule out these shoes JUST for point guards or stepback virtuosos like James himself.

Regardless of that though, most releases share a few things I’ll break down so you know what to generally expect from a Harden model.

STREAMLINED LOW-TOP DESIGN

Every since the Harden Volume 1 – all the Beard’s flagship releases share a low-cut construction. If you’re a fan of lows – this is your jam.

Most shoes still vary in the height of the ankle cut slightly but you’ll still find all the models not fully covering your ankle. I don’t know if this will ever change but if it does – I’ll update this one.

WIDER CONSTRUCTION

Do you notice a pattern among Harden sneakers? I’m talking about the widened forefoot and a generally wide platform the shoe is built on.

You see, James is a very quick, explosive, and nimble guard that needs to be able to pull off blazing fast movements while staying slapped low to the ground and stable laterally.

This is why you’ll notice a particularly wide front portion on most of his sneakers. This allows the foot to cover more ground and greatly improves lateral & medial stability.

This is also why a lot of Harden hoop shoes are solid options for wide footers like myself.

USUALLY GREAT OUTDOOR OPTIONS

adidas is no stranger to using strong, tacky rubber on their basketball releases fairly consistently. *cough Nikey cough*

This is why you’ll see that a good portion of Harden kicks will offer quality outsoles that will last longer than your average indoor model.

A lot of adidas shoes, including James Harden’s, are not only solid all-around performers but also reliable choices for the outdoor hooper.

ADIDAS’S TYPICAL SIZING SCENARIOS

If you had an adidas basketball sneaker or two – you probably already know what I’m referring to here. The sizing. Simply put – it’s all over the place, and Harden models are no exeption (with some exceptions, lol).

This is why you see some people recommend long time adidas shoe buyers to stick with their adidas size as it often departs from what is your usual size choice.

But I wouldn’t personally recommend you to follow this mantra. I’ve had some adidas sneakers fit me true to size near-perfectly, while others required stepping down half a size or the opposite – going up from my 10 US. Like I said – it’s all over the place.

What I would recommend doing instead is simple – ALWAYS (I mean it) check multiple reviews on the adidas sneaker you’re looking to get. Most of ’em, including mine, cover the sizing aspect.

COMPETITIVE PRICING

You won’t need to lash out half of your salary on a Harden basketball sneaker. Thank god.

The Beard’s signature shoe pricing ranges from 80 bucks for the takedown models to 140 dollars for the top-tier stuff.

While some of the LS (lifestyle) versions of his shoes do cost a bit more (like the Primeknit versions), those aren’t exactly made for the hardcore hooper and the pricetags are STILL mostly lower than your average Nikey or Jordan signature model.

III. THE HARDEN CATALOG BREAKDOWN

Here are ALL of the Beard’s signature shoe lines and models in retrospective

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: CatalogPin

It’s time to zoom out and take a look at the Harden basketball shoe archive in its entirety.

Unlike some of the more pompastic signature lineups that offer a plethora of different models every year – the Beard & adidas keeps it pretty simple.

We have 3 signature lines with shoes that are supposed to be released every year. Let’s break ’em all down.

THE HARDEN LINE
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: The Harden LinePin

background image source: adidas.com

James’s top-of-the-line series of shoes are his main Harden line, with each shoe representing a Vol. (Volume) number every year.

For a flagship signature model, they’re pretty damn affordable. $140 is what you’ll mostly peak at when shopping for a Harden sneaker.

You’ll find adidas’s best tech here: Boost or Lightstrike cushion, reliable build quality, and usually strong outsoles for outdoor hoops.

These are also some of the most well-rounded low-top basketball shoes not only from adidas but among the entire shoe market across the brands we know and love.

There are also LS (lifestyle) versions of the first two models that are essentially stripped-down versions of the regular performance models for added comfort and less of a focus on support/stability.

You’ll also find Primeknit variants of the same first two iterations which bumps up the price to $160. These come with a soft, stretchy knit upper that requires no break-in time and excels in comfort.

announcement
MORE DETAILS

PRICE RANGE: $130-$160
BEST FOR: primarily guards but viable for just about anyone
SHOES AVAILABLE: 6 models (and counting): Harden Vol. 1 – Harden Vol. 6
PROS: βœ” affordable for a signature βœ” versatile βœ” extremely stable βœ” good for outdoors βœ” comes in different upper variants
CONS: βœ– can get a little heavy βœ– Primeknit versions are tough to find
MY FAVORITE SHOE: adidas Harden Vol. 3

THE HARDEN STEPBACK LINE
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: The Harden Stepback LinePin

background image source: adidas.com

The Stepback sneakers from Harden are direct takedown models of the flagship lineup. So, essentially the same Harden shoe, just stripped down in certain areas to save costs and offer a cheaper option.

This is the most affordable Harden line out of the three. If you’re a budget baller and want a decent shoe that doesn’t break the bank – these are viable for that.

These are also strictly low-tops that usually have Bounce cushion and are solid options for outdoor play due to reliable outsoles and fairly sturdy synthetic builds.

However, I’d be lying if I said there aren’t better options for the same price range. Nikey’s Renew Elevate line, the KD Trey 5 line, and Under Armour’s SC Zero line are all awesome choices for essentially the same cost. But you usually get more than the Stepback series.

The 2nd sneaker is the only logical option to go with, in my opinion.

announcement
MORE DETAILS

PRICE RANGE: $80-$95
BEST FOR: Harden fans on a tight budget; outdoor hoopers; casual shootarounds
SHOES AVAILABLE: 3 shoes (and counting): Harden Stepback – Harden Stepback 3
PROS: βœ” very cheap & fairly durable βœ” decent all-around performance βœ” outdoor outsoles on a budget
CONS: βœ– only 1 shoe is worth your time in my opinion (currently) βœ– you can get better options from Nike/UA for the same price
MY FAVORITE SHOE: adidas Harden Stepback 2

THE HARDEN B/E LINE
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: The Harden B/E LinePin

background image source: adidas.com

B/E stands for Bounce Edition. This is basically a mid-tier option that’s equipped with Bounce cushion. They’re not direct takedown models like the Stepback shoes are.

I don’t honestly have a lot of good to say about these besides the first shoe as well. The rest after that didn’t even look appealing to test in the first place. Mainly due to the negative reception.

But if you are interested, expect low-profile Bounce cushion, average quality synthetic uppers, and designs that are in-your-face. The latest one looks like a damn boat with a strap.

announcement
MORE DETAILS

PRICE RANGE: $100-$125
BEST FOR: budget hoopers; low-profile players
SHOES AVAILABLE: 4 shoes (and counting): Harden B/E – Harden B/E 3 + Harden B/E X
PROS: βœ” affordable βœ” decent overall performance βœ” unique designs
CONS: βœ– only 1-2 shoes are worth your time (currently) βœ– not a consistent yearly release
MY FAVORITE SHOE: adidas Harden B/E

IV. THE BEST HARDEN BASKETBALL SHOES

Last updated: April 29, 2022

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The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 3Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 3

FULL REVIEW  πŸ›’ AMAZON 

Best Overall

There’s nothing like the Harden Vol. 3 for me. No other Harden model felt right at home from the moment I stepped into these.

Not saying other models are bad but the 3rd one just hits different. While there’s nothing quite extraordinary or super innovative about these, everything that’s here just works to every inch and that’s exactly what hoopers need.

I got a comfy, secure fit from these while being a wide footer, incredibly well-balanced Boost cushion, outdoor-ready outsoles, and stellar stability & support. Yes, this is a low-top we’re talking about.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $140
MY RATING: 8.5
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: textile w. nylon

SIZING: true to size (wide forefoot)

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 4Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 4

FULL REVIEW   πŸ›’ AMAZON
Best Overall Runner-Up

Coming as a close second, the 4th sneaker is no slouch either. Yes, I do prefer the 3rd shoe’s Boost cushion but other than that, the Harden Vol. 4 is simply just as good.

Once again, these will offer a wide foot-friendly fit, a nice low-profile Lightstrike midsole, great support, and two upper variants depending on the colorway.

I did experience some discomfort due to an internal elastic midfoot band getting in the way that’s supposed to lock me in. That did go away after some playing time though.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $130
MY RATING: 8.4
CUSHION: full-length Lightstrike
UPPER: knit w. synthetic leather + Fuse toecap OR mesh w. synthetic suede + Fuse toecap
SIZING: true to size

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden B/EPin

ADIDAS HARDEN B/E

πŸ›’ GOAT
Best Overall on a Budget

For those looking to get a solid all-around performer for a bit cheaper, the very first B/E shoe is the way to go. Skip the 2nd and 3rd releases.

For $125, these offer a nice Bounce midsole that might not be as fun as Boost but it still got the job done with no issues. Traction was also great AND these are decent for some outdoor hoops.

The Harden B/E sports a classic build: mesh with a bunch of leather to go along with it. That and plentiful support features make it among the most secure shoes to play in.

If you can get by with a slightly heavier weight: you’re in for a locked-in experience.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $125
USER RATING: ~8
CUSHION: full-length Bounce
UPPER: foam-backed mesh + midfoot leather
panel
SIZING: true to size (snug fit)

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 6Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 6

πŸ›’ STOCKX  πŸ›’ GOAT
Best for Outdoors

Not only the Harden Vol. 6 works well outdoors, it actually works BETTER outdoors than anywhere else.

I’m still testing these but I can tell you that they strike a very nice balance between modern performance and outdoor reliability. I’ll go as far as saying these do that better than any other Harden shoe.

Fantastic Boost cushion returns & a reliable pair of outsoles will also greet you but make sure to give these some time for the rubber to soften up before judging the traction.

The upper isn’t super tank-like but it’s lightweight and strategically reinforced with overlays, so you’ll be good to go for multiple seasons.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $140
USER RATING: ~8.5
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: textile w. synthetic panels

SIZING: true to size

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Stepback 2Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN STEPBACK 2

πŸ›’ GOAT
Best for Outdoors on a Budget

The only SOLID Stepback shoe in my opinion – and it happens to be a strong option for outdoors.

For just 80 bucks, you’ll get a decent Bounce midsole, grippy traction with some really thick rubber, and decent support without overly restricting you.

The material choices aren’t the best in the world since it’s just an $80 shoe but they do break in and feel good on foot. It’s a no-nonsense shoe that isn’t going to impress you too much but it’ll handle mostly everything you throw at it for a low price.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $80
USER RATING: ~8.2
CUSHION: full-length Bounce
UPPER: mesh w. synthetic panels

SIZING: true to size (snug midfoot)

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 6Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 5

πŸ›’ ADIDAS  πŸ›’ AMAZON 

Most Supportive

Listen, you can say what you want about the Harden Vol. 5 but you simply cannot deny that the shoe is a damn tank. This will simply won’t break down on you, nor it will compromise in support in any way.

It’s simply insane how sturdy this upper is. Pair that with a wide base and critical support features and you got yourself the most secure Harden shoe to date.

But these aren’t without their flaws either. Coming as one of the most controversial Harden shoes, A LOT of wearers, including myself, found these not up to par comfort-wise.

Check out the full review for the whole story.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $130
MY RATING: 6.6
CUSHION: drop-in midsole (Lightstrike + Boost)
UPPER: reinforced textile w. nylon

SIZING: true to size or down 1/2 size (long & wide)

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 1 LS PrimeknitPin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 1 LS PRIMEKNIT

πŸ›’ AMAZON  πŸ›’ GOAT
Most Comfortable

The LS Primeknit version of the first Harden sneaker took out some of the bulk and made it more comfortable, and more fun to hoop in. It’s technically a lifestyle shoe but there are people who regularly played basketball in these and had a ton of fun.

The Harden Vol. 1 LS Primeknit offers a fully uncaged Boost midsole (it feels as good as it sounds), a pure Primeknit upper (yep, once again), great traction, and lightweight support.

I don’t recommend these to heavier or particularly explosive players due to stripped-down support but anyone who’s lighter on their feet will find these sufficient.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $160
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: Primeknit

SIZING: true to size

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 1Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 1

πŸ›’ AMAZON  πŸ›’ GOAT 

Best for Wide Feet

The very first Harden shoe was a dream come true for me. A shoe that fits my extremely wide feet PERFECTLY right out of the box? Sign me up.

Along with a wide foot-compatible fit, the shoe also has fantastic Boost cushion, deadly traction that should be good for outdoors, solid support features, and a little bit of a throwback build.

Yes, the independent leather forefoot might sound weird for some but you gotta try it to understand it. It’s awesome.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $140
USER RATING: ~8
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: mesh w. nylon + independent leather forefoot
SIZING: true to size OR down 1/2 size (wide & long)

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Harden Vol. 2Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 2

πŸ›’ AMAZON  πŸ›’ GOAT 

Best for Flat Feet

I don’t honestly think you should mainly be looking at Harden’s shoe lineup if you’re a flat footer but if you do – the Harden Vol. 2 is your best bet.

These offer comfortable Boost cushioning but it’s stabilized, giving a flat foot that controlled comfort. There’s also a strong TPU shank plate that goes all the way to the forefoot – that can be very beneficial for one’s arch support.

Heel-to-toe transitions are smooth, and the build shouldn’t weigh you down too much.

build
QUICK SPECS

RETAIL PRICE: $140
USER RATING: ~9
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: knitted mesh + synthetic rear panel

SIZING: true to size

V. WHERE TO BUY HARDEN SHOES

Here’s all you need to know in purchasing Harden sneakers from the older models all the way to the latest iterations

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Where to BuyPin
FOR CURRENT MODELS

Most Harden shoes are very quick to be sold out on the manufacturer’s website. But they’re also very quick to show up in outlets and discount stores which is always a plus for the cost-conscious consumer.

The latest two releases will remain available for up to two years after the initial release on adidas. If you manage to track down the shoe during this period, the most logical place to shop will of course be the adidas website.

Adidas likes to put up discounts VERY quickly after the release, so always watch out for that.

Some sports retail stores like Finish Line, Footlocker, or Eastbay tend to keep the stock alive a bit longer than adidas, so check those out as well. From my experience, DICK’s Sporting Goods actually has stock the longest out of all the U.S sports retailers.

I’d almost always find a shoe that’s 2-3 years old there while other stores are off the list at that point.

FOR OLDER MODELS

If you’re aiming for an older model that isn’t available to snatch from the manufacturer OR any sports retailer anymore, you still have some options. I’d check on three places in this case: Amazon, StockX, and GOAT.

StockX and GOAT are your main options for deadstock sneakers, so the chances that you’ll find an older sneaker there are pretty much always 99%.

Harden’s hoop shoes can’t exactly be put into the hypebeast category, so don’t worry about outrageous pricing either.

As far as which one to go for, I don’t think there’s as big of a difference as some people like to claim. If we REALLY had to compare though, StockX definitely has a richer history of customer complaints.

But the pricing is very similar, so are the shipping times, so you’re not exactly missing out regardless of your choice.

I’d also highly encourage you to always check out Amazon even if StockX or GOAT has ’em. While the sneaker pricing isn’t usually ideal compared to sports retailers, sometimes it so happens that Amazon offers pricing that’s better than any other retailer at that moment.

That’s why you should always make sure not to miss that chance.

As a bonus, be sure to check out my complete budget buyer’s guide for basketball shoes. I talk about the best practices and methods of always making sure you get the best possible price for a silhouette you desire.

VI. HOW I PICKED EACH SNEAKER

It’s important for you to know my approach & rules I stick to when choosing each pick

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: How I ChosePin

Here’s all you need to know about how exactly I pick the shoes for the list. I believe that it’s just as critical for you to know as the picks themselves.

You’ll get to know what kind of player I am while wearing the shoes, what rules I stick to when choosing, and what I rule out.

THE PLAYER & SETTING
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: The PlayerPin

I’m a 6’1 guard at ~175 lbs. I’m primarily an outdoor hooper but I do like to throw in some hours of action in a gym when the climate’s not right outside.

I usually play on a rubberized outdoor court or a classic blacktop. Indoors, I hoop in a high school gym on a softer rubberized court but there can be a few instances where I get to play on the hardwood.

I’m a pretty explosive two-guard that excels in slashing to the rim, driving and kicking to the 3-point line, and shooting mid-range jumpers.

I do give my shoes a good run for their money since I generate quite a bit of torque every time I play.

ALL KICKS ARE TESTED OR PROVEN
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: TestedPin

Each shoe that’s on the list is either extensively tested by me or there’s a very positive reception from other players if I didn’t have the chance to play in it.

However, it’s very rare that I include a sneaker that I haven’t touched at all. The ones that don’t have full reviews on – mostly I played in them for a bit and didn’t have the chance to properly test ’em out for a dedicated analysis.

For this list, in particular, I haven’t hooped in the Harden Vol. 1 LS Primeknit and the Harden Vol. 2.

ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE IS STILL KEY
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: PerformancePin

This one wasn’t hard as I’m putting together Harden shoes. Balanced performance is always the key no matter the shoe list for me but the Beard’s models are almost always versatile choices for just about anyone.

RELEVANT & SIMPLE TO GET
The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: RelevantPin

Once again, specifically for Harden’s shoes, this one wasn’t tough to meet either.

I’d always pick the shoes that are still available to get somewhere, and for a decent price. 95% of Harden sneakers are in fact available somewhere and for a good price, so we’re good there.

VII. IT’S TIME FOR YOUR OPINION!

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and questions – I’m excited to chat with you!

The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Your TakePin

That’s a wrap for the best Harden basketball shoes! I hope it was as informative & interesting for you as it was fun to put together for me!

While I personally think the Harden lineup has somewhat become stale, most of the releases are still fantastic for literally any position on the court.

The 3rd Harden shoe is still the closest to my heart and I believe it’ll stay that way for a bit. However, I’m excited to hear YOUR thoughts.

Which model is YOUR favorite? Perhaps you’ve got a question I haven’t answered in the guide? Or maybe your list of Harden shoes is different?

Leave a comment below – I’ll get back to you ASAP!

ENJOY HARDEN SHOES? CHECK THESE OUT

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2 thoughts on “The Best Harden Basketball Shoes: Ultimate Hooper’s Guide

  1. These would be ideal for me. I, too have a wide foot that flattens out when I’m standing up. The cost seems very reasonable for basketball shoes. 

    I gotta ask though, what is the difference for different styles for different positions – So why are these primarily Point Guard shoes?

    Not sure it would matter, I always love the light weight and comfort able soles from basketball sneakers over cross-trainers. Would you agree?

    1. James Harden is a point guard, so the shoes are primarily made for him, which is why the shoes are primarily a guards’ shoes.

      However, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t suit anyone who isn’t a guard. As I said in the article, the lines between positions are blurred now more than ever and this is reflected even in the shoe market.

      But to answer your question specifically, a guard’s basketball shoe will generally be lightweight, focused on delivering the most mobility and flexibility while still supporting your movements and also keeping you low to the ground.

      Yeah, I’d agree to that Stephen! I personally wear basketball shoes casually very often simply due to the fact of how comfy they are. 

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