Adidas Harden Vol 2 Review

Adidas Harden Vol 2 Review: Should You Get It or Not?

Is James Harden as great as Kobe, Michael, or LeBron? Is James Harden the greatest offensive player there ever was? Will James Harden go down in history as one of the GOATs?

James Harden is a divisive character. Pose any of these questions to a random group of basketball fans and you are likely to get wildly differing answers.

It’s not hard to see why he would have his own signature shoe – you don’t get to be the reigning MVP without earning it. One of his popular signature shoes is the Adidas Harden Vol 2. The following is a Harden Vol 2 review.


  • Lightweight, flexible uppers
  • Good traction on clean courts
  • Very comfortable
  • Have ventilation holes and made of breathable fabric
  • Stitching on mesh improves durability
  • Great lockdown


  • It lacks bounce
  • They may be tight for wide-footers

Features and Benefits:

Mesh Uppers

The first thing we look at in this James Harden shoes review is the upper. The soft materials that comprise the inner part of the upper (stretchable mesh, neoprene liner, and an ankle collar that hugs your foot) fit your foot perfectly and comfortably like a snug sock. A neoprene sock hugs your foot gently, and you feel quite comfortable.

The materials used in the uppers feel lightweight and flexible, enabling you to be nimble and quick on the court. That gives you immense freedom when you are running or want to make sudden starts and stops James Harden style with minimal lag.

Traction Pattern

The Harden V2’s have rubber soles with a beautiful traction pattern which Adidas calls the fractal pattern. The pattern looks random, but is actually based on the pressure points scattered around James Harden’s feet and his tendencies on the court. The design team pressure mapped his foot, and used that to develop this unique fractal pattern.

James Harden is all about rapid starts, stops, and changes in direction. He has the best deceleration in the game – no one can slow down faster than him. The V2’s fractal traction pattern enables you to make quicker start and stop movements.

This step-back technique has been called Harden’s superpower. It’s a tactical weapon no one else has, and Harden wields it very effectively. He has been deliberately using it to make step-back three-pointers, a tricky move but which he, more than anyone else has mastered. What is inspiring is his ability to maintain balance after this abrupt stop and jerk-back.

Adidas tapped into this with the Vol 2. Its popularity is unsurprising – everyone wants to emulate this braking ability.

Furthermore, when it comes down to the meat-and-potatoes business of giving you good traction on the court, the Vol 2 does not disappoint. The traction is phenomenal on clean courts.

BOOST and Cushioning

BOOST is the best foam in the basketball shoe industry. It is widely believed that BOOST technology (and Kanye West) saved Adidas, making the company a serious competitor against Nike. The cushioning given by this foam is comfortable and sneaker heads can’t get enough of it. It is also very resilient and gives a great energy return.

Given the amount of time James Harden stays on his feet during a game, the Vol 2 design team decided to make a shoe that would give him extra underfoot comfort. They went wild with the BOOST.  They gave the shoe full-length BOOST, and about 15% more, making the Vol 2 the shoe with the highest BOOST level.

The idea was to make the most comfortable shoe they could, so as to keep James as fresh in the last quarter as he is in the first. On that regard they succeeded, and the rave reviews everyone has given it in regard to comfort are proof of that.

However, if you like your shoes to have bounce, you might be disappointed.  The high boost-level means that the shoe has a very thick, dense cushion and less bounce.

Holes in Mesh Tongue

Imagine being in the sun playing, or in a gym at two in the afternoon, with all the heat in there so thick you could cut it with a kitchen knife. Of course you are going to perspire.

If you have sweaty feet, the Vol 2 attempts to help you out with large holes located on the shoe’s mesh tongue. This should give you enough ventilation. Furthermore, mesh is a breathable fabric.

Forgefiber Technology

Forgefiber technology uses TPU-coated yarn which is compressed and stitched to the mesh at a variety of layers and angles. The intention is to give the uppers of a shoe ultimate strength when a player is in motion.

The Adidas team that created the technology studied how organic cell structures grow, and in the process created uppers that are more aligned to what our natural body movements require.

Weak materials tend to rip when you are running or jumping, for instance. Given the primacy of the James Harden step-back 3-pointer, his signature shoe has to have a strong upper that can withstand the pressure caused by the jumps.

The TPU-coated yarn is stitched strategically to give flexibility and support only in targeted areas – to ensure the shoe doesn’t become too heavy. The stitched mesh helps contain your foot when you are making quick cuts or movements.

Thanks to this use of Forgefiber technology in the forefoot, the shoes are rather durable, and many who have used them report that it was months before they saw any signs of wear and tear.

Data-driven Design

The Vol 2 is made to suit James Harden. James, who is currently the MVP, plays a game that involves a lot of quick direction changes, lightness of foot, and is one of the best shooting guards ever. His offensive game is incredible – he is a terror to defenders.

The James Harden Adidas shoes are like stories which unfold in volumes – the narrative of the Vol 2 is Harden’s evolution as a player. The focus is on three of his signature moves: his step back, euro step, and jab step. To make the best shoe for Harden, a data-intensive approach was key.

Data-driven technology was central to the design of the Harden Vol 2. Harden wanted a shoe that gave him a holistic fit, midsole cushioning, and cushion in the upper. To achieve this, the design team used data based on the pressure mapping of his foot, and made the shoe’s traction pattern.

The outsole traction pattern is completely inspired by James Harden’s tendencies and the various pressure points around his foot. The idea was to make a shoe that would help James play at his best and also remain relevant to consumers in terms of performance. With James Harden being the best shooting guard in the NBA, and his reputation as one of the GOAT offensive players, we think this is pretty cool.

Lacing System and Lockdown

The last consideration in this Harden Vol 2 review is fit. If you are a wide-footer, we’ll give you the usual line of first try the shoes out in a store before coming back online to make your purchase. Otherwise, they fit true to size, quite snug.

Lockdown is great, but adjustable. The Vol 2’s design incorporates an adjustable lacing system, which enables the shoe to adapt to the size of your foot.

There is an area of the shoe where the mesh and the synthetic fiber meet that might give you a pinch. It’s supposed to give you a sense of snug fit and stability.

The excellent lockdown keeps your feet held in place. There is nothing more annoying than when your foot keeps sliding and shifting within the shoe as you hustle up and down the court. Lockdown in the Vol 2 is better than in the Vol 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I have wide feet. Is that going to be a problem?

This shoe fits true to size for people who have regular size feet. We would advise you to look for them in a store and try them out, then come online and order the size you found fits you best.

2. Where do I use them: indoor or outdoor?

A: We wouldn’t call them the best shoes for outdoor. The rubber is not too soft, but it’s not like Continental rubber. You can technically play with them on outdoor courts and still have alright traction, but we can’t guarantee durability. Furthermore, though the traction is good on clean courts, you might slip and slide on dusty ones. Periodic wiping is required.

3. I like shoes with a lot of bounce in them. Do these have that?

No. They prioritized BOOST, so the cushion is quite thick, but the bounce is minimal.

Final Verdict

James Harden is famous for his deceleration ability and his unique back-step three pointer. The Harden Vol 2 shoe was made for him, and is supposed to give wearers some of Harden’s advantages. The question this Harden Vol 2 review poses is: is it worth it?

After testing them and doing our research, we conclude this James Harden shoes review by saying that yes, it actually is.

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