With the release of the Air Jordan 33 & Nike Adapt BB featuring what it seems to be our upcoming future – the laceless design. It was a matter of time before Adidas came up with their own take on the future game. It didn’t take a long time… Welcome to the Adidas N3XT L3VEL performance review.
“The future of the game is laceless…No chargers. No buttons. No Phones. No laces”
Let’s see if adidas can beat its rivals with this one.
WEIGHT: 341.8 g. / 12.06 oz
TECH: PRIMEKNIT, LIGHTSTRIKE FOAM
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $180
BD RATING: 8.2/10
Since the top portion of the shoe is mainly constructed out of a sock, there’s not much going on rather than Primeknit & a few touches of fuse to protect from toe drags, I guess. It’s a freaking 5-inch-long & one-inch-wide curved line of fuse. Can’t imagine it actually protecting something but, hey, it’s there.
Anyways, this stuff heavily reminds me of a more rigid version of Primeknit found on the adidas NMD CS1. It has the same type of knit paneling which allows knit to stretch around your foot for one-to-one fit but stays contained upon lateral movements. Yeah, it sounds rather crazy but it works.
With BOOST cushioning getting away from our radars in the ball game – it’s about damn time adidas came up with a brand new cushion system – the Lightstrike foam.
Straight away, it wasn’t something groundbreaking or wow-worthy, like BOOST back in the day. Nah… Not this time… However, this stuff will definitely find its way in their line-up and on some’s feet, no doubt about it.
Talking about its performance – the midsole started off quite stiff. Not going to lie, I was damn pissed at that time since the only positive thing was its lightweight construction. But the more time I spend with them, the softer they got. It took me roughly three days to bypass the break-in process, afterward, just all-around solid performance, much like BOUNCE stuff. It literally does feel like BOUNCE – just way lighter.
You get that lightning fast response within each and every spot of the midsole, as well as a ton of court feel in-front & some impact protection in the back. Personally, some more action (impact protection) in the heel would have make it near perfect.
Despite the fact that the bottoms of the N3XT L3V3L are reminiscent of the stuff we saw on the Harden Vol.3 – it actually isn’t the same thing. Compared to the Vol.3, here you do have a much tighter version of herringbone which, unfortunately, wasn’t so excited to play within certain court conditions, since dust was clothing up every so a few positions. Though, there was nothing annoying about it – no extra maintenance is needed. Just do your regular wiping routine, and you gonna be money for a few positions. Clean courts – straight up glue.
When it comes to outdoor hooping, I wouldn’t recommend them at all, especially, for the money you’re paying. The rubber is fairly soft and that upper is definitely not the strongest thing on earth as well.
If talking about comfort only, it’s up there in the sky, definitely one of the most comfortable hoop sneaker you can grab right now, if you choose the right size. The thing with all of those laceless designs is that fit is the main factor that can make or break the whole performance of a shoe. That being said, true to size is what you want to go with. I don’t care if you’re a regular or wide footer – true to size it is. Or maybe if you happened to have that KD like skinny foot, you might want to go ½ a size down. Just a quick heads up for all of you – don’t get scared of them being tight at first. The shoe is freaking laceless, so it needs to compensate it somehow in order to offer enough stability within the upper.
Looking inside, there you do have a rather thick pillow set-up around the ankle area for making the fit as contained as possible without making your foot feel uncomfortable or suffocating. Yet, while still in braking process, you will be sweating your ass off trying to put them on or off after you are done playing. Luckily, the primeknit gets just a tad bit looser specifically around the ankle area, so then it’s as easy process as it could possibly get. I actually fall in love with this stuff – just pop-in & play.
Support is straight up trash… SIKE! Haters would love to hear that though.
Giving that the shoe is completely laceless & full-on primeknit – overall support is truly impressive. Not completely on the same page as a few elite options out there, but definitely something that can compete with the rest of the game for sure. Lateral coverage probably being the #1 highlight of it.
Starting off with the bottom section – you do receive a rather wide platform, no outrigger this time, but the midsole itself protrudes in that area so it offers even more ground clearance & stability than with an outrigger in-place. While that foam frame found on the side of the upper makes its presents felt in his region by producing enough lateral coverage atop to keep your foot on the footbed at all times.
Primeknit itself, excluding the one around the ankle area, is way denser than you tend to see on a regular basis. That being said, you don’t get a lot of side-to-side extensions while putting force, which is always a huge plus in my book. The same thing applies to the back – thicker knit, an internal heel counter – no problems.
The world is changing. The sneaker game is changing with it. I guess, we’re now in that awkward transition phase where one thing slowly pushes the other away, as I still do prefer the traditional lacing system over not having them at all. Yeah, it’s tons of fun to try something completely leading-edge. Yet, we still don’t feel that comfortable with it.
Anyways, the adidas N3XT L3V3L has a ton of room for feature improvements, at the same time, it’s surely a REALLY solid performer, to say the least. It’s fast. It’s super light-weight. It’s responsive.
Yeah, 180$ is a lot to pay for a sneaker… I guess that’s the price to be paid to own a piece of the future.