Harden Vol. 3 Review from adidas: STILL The Best Harden Shoe

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.


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 with 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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: Angled 2Pin
image source: adidas.com

Model: adidas Harden Vol. 3

Build: low-top

Weight: 15.4 oz / 437 g. (size 10 US)

Retail Price: $140

Cushion: full-length Boost



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Harden Vol. 3 Review: TopPin
image source: adidas.com

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 in 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 in 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.

Harden Vol. 3 Review: HeelPin
image source: adidas.com

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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: Outsole 1Pin
image source: adidas.com

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.

Harden Vol. 3 Review: Outsole 2Pin
image source: adidas.com

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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: Back 2Pin
image source: adidas.com

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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: AngledPin
image source: adidas.com

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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: MidfootPin
image source: adidas.com

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.

Harden Vol. 3 Review: TonguePin
image source: adidas.com

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.


Harden Vol. 3 Review: Side 1Pin
image source: adidas.com

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.

The scores of the shoe are at the end!




As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Also, if a user clicks on any other product links and purchases a product, I earn a small commission.



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?









adidas Harden Vol. 3


Fit & Comfort


On-Court Performance


Value for the Price




Main Takeaways

  • 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

Recommended For

  • Ideal for most guards
  • Positions 1-3
  • Can work for a lighter big guy
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