It took them almost 15 months to develop & release the continuation for the Harden line – the Harden Vol.2. That‘s a long damn time adidas. However, the waiting is done and I‘m ready to throw some knowledge on you about how they did on-court and if they were worth the wait.
So without further ado, let‘s dive into the adidas Harden Vol. 2 Performance Review!
WEIGHT: 455 g / 16.05 oz
TECH: BOOST, Forgefiber
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $140
BD RATING: 9/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE
Even though the leather era is gone on the Harden Vol.2’s that old-school layering itself didn’t go anywhere. So let’s start from the inside, shall we? There you can find adidas’ one of the comfiest stuff in the material department right now – Neoprene. The full-length Neoprene sock (you can call it however you want to) is the very first thing that touches your damn foot. And oh boy you’re lucky.
That Neoprene sock acts like a spandex material or something like those diving costumes – it’s just hugs your foot nicely and gives you that gently tight fit to feel like these joint were made special for you. Althought it doesn’t. Get back to the reality young blood.
Taking the eyes off the interior, we can find a very familiar piece sitting on top of the Neoprene sock and that’s the toe cap. This time around, the toe layer is covered with a brand new Forgefiber Mesh material which is simply AMAZING. It might be not as durable a synthetic leather toe cap on the Vol.1’s, but it’s damn close. Thanks to these embedded heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers, the whole Mesh material brings drastic improvements upon durability & support, while keeping comfort on a high level.
And to finish thing off, the midfoot area has that custom lacing system borrowed from the Dame 3, which is also acts like a cage to keep your foot tightly upon lateral movements.
The Vol.1’s do offer the lowest BOOST cushioning in the business for those who want to rock more guard oriented stuff but still think BOOST is life. The 2’s, on the other hand, received a few major updates that made this a single thickest BOOST tooling on a basketball shoe, period.
That extra thickness didn’t bother me on court at all since responsiveness and that nice amount of impact protection was still there. You only give way a tad bit of lower ride but it’s nothing major, so guards shouldn’t feel unstable or uncontrolled in these.
The heel area is where BOOST is the thickest, however, that doesn’t mean it offers some crazy bounce. In this case, adidas put more compressed BOOST compound to eliminate some of the bounce and make it more responsive & stable, yet keeping that bounce alive. And that huge outsole cup in the back is doing a great job by helping to achieve it.
Still, you can’t get away from adding a bit bulkiness to the heel, which would be more noticeable if not that nice mold that gives some Kyrie line vibes to it, and make the toe to heel transition smooth as butter. So it’s was all good to me.
Now, the forefoot sits pretty low to the ground, offering that low-profile ride to satisfy those heavy forefoot strikers, including me as well. It’s not as low as its predecessor but it’s pretty damn close.
Upgraded version of Fractal traction pattern made its way on the 2’s – I like to call it the Fractal 2.0. The pattern itself remained pretty similar, yet it’s now noticeably tighter, which isn’t a good indicator (that was me thinking before hitting the court for the first time). Unfortunately, I was right.
On clean courts you own it – stopping power was great, lateral move coverage was there too, everything seemed to work as it should. I didn’t receive any problems whatsoever.
However, all of this disappears once you step on a dirty court. I’m probably a little bit exaggerating right now. It wasn’t something terrible. It was UNCONSISTANT. Yeah, that’s right. And those small indentations were the main reason why I was half-slipping so much. Dust was clothing up like crazy in those small grooves, eliminating them from gripping the hardwood. So those bigger grooves were picking up the slack and that’s why I was half-slipping. The only way to avoid it is consistent wiping. You have a free sec – you better wipe those joints.
The rubber does feel pretty sustainable for an outdoor use, not as durable as on the 1’s, but they still should serve you quite a bit.
Nowadays, the struggle is real for wide footers to find a proper fitting ball shoe. The Vol.1 was one of those super rare options with wide construction to fit basically any type of foot. Unfortunately, adidas decided to make a yet another snug fitting silhouette, leaving our wide footers under the radar. I’m not a true wide footer, so it’s all good to me. However, I know there’re plenty of people that are pissed even more right now. BUT… You should definitely want to try them out nonetheless, by going ½ size up. For everyone else – true to size is what you need.
Again, the Neoprene sock was straight up heaven for my lovely feet – super stretchy, super comfy (over lvl 9000), yet nicely contained. Also, this brand new Forgefiber Mesh thing was yet another banger by not only maintaining that high level of comfort, but also keeping your forefoot solidly contained upon any unnecessary moves. No break in time is needed as well.
Obviously, heel was the only part that did feel a bit too clunky but it’s definitely not a deal breaker for me since it did break in pretty nicely. You just need a few runs in them to get used to it.
With all of those layers covering your foot & a nice support package that we have there, there’s no physical way to feel unsupportive in these bad boys.
So what’s so impressive about this Forgefiber tech? Correct me if I’m wrong. This is the very first ball shoe that features Forgefiber system. The base contains of simple Mesh, but then comes this stitched TPU-coated yarn that does all the magic. It’s strategically embedded into the most force-receiving areas to eliminate any unwanted side to side action, while performing heavy cuts. In bonus, it actually adds a solid amount of durability to keep the Mesh from tearing apart. So again, outdoor use is welcome.
Looking at the forefoot, there you do have a custom lacing system which is basically self-explanatory. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the stock lacing combo which comes straight out of the box. So what I did was lacing up my laces two rows lower to really fell that strong containment and eliminate a small amount of heel slippage that I did have before. That’s why if you do experience some kind of slippage or other support problems; spend some time playing around with the laces.
Other than that, I feel like this is the strongest point of the shoe. By the way, the heel area is straight up tank on your ass – pure heel lockdown once you adjust the laces, yet buttery smooth heel to toe transition.
I would love to say that the Vol.2 was a better overall performer than its predecessor, but that delicate traction is what holds me back from saying it. Obviously, if you’re a heavy wiper and maintaining those bottoms from debris every two or three positions isn’t a problem, then you should definitely pick them up.
Putting traction aside, they do look and play very much like a finished product – lots of new & old tech, materials were great and most importantly, the overall performance was there as well. So if you can overcome that issue with the traction being sensitive to dust, the Harden Vol.2 is without doubt a yet another successful signature sneaker from adidas.
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the ADIDAS HARDEN VOL.2. Will you be picking them up? Let me know!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment down below!