adidas Dame 3 Performance Review

A worthy successor to the D Lillard 2, the adidas Dame 3 is an absolute beast on-court.



adidas dame 3 performance review traction
Traction /// Blade traction replaces the storytelling design featured on the D Lillard 2 and this setup works beautifully. Much like herringbone, blade traction offers multi-directional coverage for almost any move you can think of. No matter what your feet are doing on the hardwood, the blade traction should have you covered.

When dust is present you’ll need to wipe periodically, but nothing like what you may have experienced with the D Lillard 2. Interestingly, this blade setup is also telling a story. The designers mentioned that Dame’s grandfather would nail a milk crate to the telephone pole outside of their Oakland residence where he would learn how to shoot the ball — functional and tells a story. So it is possible…

Yes, that last bit was sarcasm.

adidas dame 3 performance review cushion

Cushion /// Bounce makes a return to Damian Lillard’s third signature model and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t know how adidas is able to make such a well cushioned foam and have it retail for as little as it does. It really makes me wonder if I’ve been getting ripped off by competing brands that charge premium prices for foam cushion that isn’t all that expensive to manufacture. However, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that.

If you’re looking for a cushion setup that adds a spring to your step, while still maintaining plenty of court feel, then Bounce is one of those options that you should heavily consider. I don’t say this because of the Dame 3’s price point. Bounce cushion works, plain and simple. It works without breaking the bank — that’s just an added bonus.

adidas dame 3 performance review materials

Materials /// Fuse mesh makes its way onto the adidas Dame 3 and it’s a pretty cool material choice. The areas where you’d usually see an overlay are heat welded together with the mesh itself as it’s coated in TPU. This reduces layers and weight without giving up any durability or structural support. At first, I was slightly worried that I’d feel as if I was wearing a shoe made of plastic in the same fashion that I do when I wear other TPU-based materials, but I quickly realized that was a non-issue. Yes, the mesh is made with plastic. No, it doesn’t feel like your wearing plastic.

The midfoot overlay that houses the lacing structure, or what I like to call “the napkin,” works well. I know it doesn’t look pretty, but it works remarkably well. It allows the wearer to customize the lockdown of the shoe no matter the foot shape. It’s a really great addition to the upper, despite what you might think about it’s aesthetic appeal.

adidas dame 3 performance review fit

Fit /// I would recommend you go with whatever size you wore in the D Lillard 2 for the Dame 3. I loved how the D Lillard 2 fit with a 1/2 down. Wide footers were generally good to go going true to size.

The Dame 3 I wore during testing was my true size and the length was slightly longer than I’d like in the toe. However, the napkin held my foot in place so well that the tiny bit of additional length was something I never noticed. The same could not be said for when I played in the D Lillard 2 in my true size. That napkin was a perfect addition to the shoe and aids in lockdown to the point to where I wanted to give it a WearTesters Hall of Fame badge, but because the fit is just a tad long I stuck with the Starting 5; the Starting 5 badge is nothing to complain about, for those of you that wrongfully think that if something doesn’t get the absolute best grade or badge possible then it must not be worthy.

adidas dame 3 performance review support

Support /// The support of the Dame 3 is greatly improved when directly compared to the D Lillard 2. It features all the typical support aspects that you’d require in a shoe: TPU midfoot shank, internal heel counter, great lockdown, and a nice stable platform to work with. Where the shoe surpasses the D Lillard 2 is within the midsole itself — quite literally, within the midsole.

This area of the shoe cups or cradles the foot and it’s something that most shoes should do. Maybe not to the extent that the adidas Dame 3 does, but the midsole should engulf the foot a bit to ensure that you and the shoe are one. Otherwise, you risk having the feeling that you’re riding on a platform that just wasn’t made for you or your movements. If you were one of those that complained that the D Lillard 2 felt like it rode too high, this is the shoe that will remedy that feeling.

adidas dame 3 performance review overall

Overall /// The adidas Dame 3 is a great sneaker. It’s very well rounded in every category and it will accommodate most players and foot shapes. For those reasons alone, the Dame 3 has quickly become a go-to in my lineup when I’m not testing something, or for those nights that I wind up testing something that sucks — *cough* Kobe A.D. *cough*.

From the traction, to the plush and bouncy cushion, to the materials that balanced durability without the need for break-in time — the adidas Dame 3 has it all. It isn’t the Three Stripes’ lowest priced sneaker, but it is the brand’s lowest priced signature sneaker. It just doesn’t play like it’s the lowest priced. Competing brands should take note. This is how to make an affordable signature sneaker without leaving out all the good stuff.

adidas dame 3 performance review scorecard

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52 Comments

  1. Glad to see adidas being consistent with their new models. I thoroughly enjoy playing in the Dame 2. However, how is the traction on dusty courts? My gym’s court isn’t always clean. I don’t mind wiping every now and then, but I prefer not to keep wiping until my hands turn black with dust.

  2. Please allow me to add that these are also good for big guys like me, due to the stability and flat outsole. While landing after rebounds, I have no fear of what’s beneath me if I feel contact first, which allows me to adjust if anyone is around. Also, this shoe is very well balanced, it does not feel too light, nor too heavy while at any position. It is really a simple shoe done exceptionally well, with a fresh, new, really thorough lacing system. Great design, and I am happy to have a pair as well. Great review.

  3. I love the way how the Dame 3 looks, even when the initial leaked images came out. I’m looking forward to these being my first purchase of 2017. The Lillard 2s were good, but the traction had me wiping on a consistent basis. Thanks for the thorough review.

    Happy Holidays and wishing you and your team an awesome New Year!

  4. I’ll be copping those Rip City’s. Wish they were out now. That traction looks really good! Traction, fit, and a protective but not overdone cushion? In a low? These are right up my alley.

    1. After checking out the Rip City pair in person, and after really enjoying the shoe on-court, I will be trying to pick up that colorway when they release just to wear casually. The Bounce is super comfy.

        1. I don’t know about other countries, but here in Italy most of colorways don’t come out and they are really hard to get, like the harden 1 13 below zero or the jordan 31 space jam

  5. NW is the bounce in the 3 exactly the same in terms of density and impact protection as the 2? From the video that’s the impression I got.

    1. The design team said it was the same setup, but I don’t know the specifics in terms of density. Some brands tweak foam compounds by very small percentages and without actual factual information on the exact formula they used for each rendition of Bounce then I wouldn’t be able to accurately say.

      All I know is they both feel great, and the 3 feels lower to the ground than the 2 — but that could be because of the raised midsole edges giving you the feeling that you sit lower since you feel more stable/ secure.

      Which is what proprioception is all about lol.

  6. Interesting…very interesting and in a GREAT way. I have 3 pairs of the 2 and while I didn’t initially like how the shoe looked in early leaks, the Chinese New Year won me over. That version looks incredible. It’s definitely something that I probably wouldn’t mind wearing off the court either when I wanted to. Thanks for the thorough review as usual. Bounce and Boost and great cushion sources and sometimes I prefer the Bounce because of the blend of balance and impact protection. Adidas is doing something very right.

    1. My feet are wide and because of the lacing system the mid area feels fine for me!! I used to hate the majority of adidas’s fitting (especially the Crazylight 2’s and some earlier D.Rose models) they used to cut my feet up real bad cos they were too narrow. I’ve pretty much bought every adidas release this year (Crazylight Boost 2016’s, Crazy Explosive’s, Harden Vol.1 and Dame 1’s and they’re all wide foot friendly IMO).

      1. Those old SprintFrame’s were a killer for wide feet. Hell, they hurt my feet until they broke in. The new stuff under the new regime is so much better than the older models they were making.

  7. Damian’s signature line has released some of the best solid performers the last couple of years. They have designed a really weird looking shoe without sacrificing tech, construction and all that without charging so many. Great review Nightwing one again.

  8. How is the impact protection? I have to buy a new shoe and i can’t decide between harden vol 1’s and dame 3’s, i’m a guard but i jump a lot and sometimes hit the ground hard, can someone help me?

  9. Its ridiculous what adidas has been able to do this year with their basketball line. I’m fairly brand agnostic(I’ll buy whatever as long as the performance meets my needs), and the last five ball shoes I’ve bought were adidas, simply because of performance and in particularly great cushioning. It may be 6 in a row now- its either gonna be this or another Crazy Explosive. Damn good year for them.

  10. Adidas is on fire. Good performance review by NW. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy holidays everyone. Be safe.

  11. I respect your reviews but why would the dame 3’s fit be penalized for having to go a half size down when adida’s base there shoe size from UK sizes and thats been the case with all of my adidas shoes having to go a half size down except with the Crazy E. which IMO should be penalized for being a half size too small which might encourage Adidas to be more consistent with their sizing because I’m sure they read your reviews. And we definetely don’t want Adidas to start making shoes they want a high review score for to be Nike TTS. That would cause inconsistencies with the rest of their shoe lineup. Make sense? Great review tho! Enjoy the holidays.

    1. I wear a sz 9 in every shoe from near every brand except adidas. The one shoe they offered that fit TTS was the Crazy Explosive. Why “penalize” a shoe? I’m not penalizing anything. I’m just giving a sneaker a performance review based on my experience. Why would you try and “penalize” my thoughts on something just because you seem to think differently than I do? Seems weird to me. I want all of my shoes to be size 9. All of my shoes should be size 9. If they aren’t then they don’t fit TTS. When you measure your foot your shoe should fit the size noted after you’ve been measured.

      I have no issue with adidas and I’ve asked them about the sizing issue. Unfortunately, the people that work within the PR section of the brand didn’t have an answer for the issue but acknowledged that sizing is all over the place.

      Until they make shoes that fit me in my true size the way they should then I will continue to let people know that the shoes aren’t exactly true to size. It’s not my fault they fit the way they do.

      Merry Christmas to you and Happy Holidays! Appreciate your support!

  12. Another solid all-rounder. I know you don’t really do comparisons, but I feel like this, the Lillard 2, BB Rare Metal, Mentality 2, and maybe the Harden + CLB could use a detailed comparison in one spot because they’re all similar approaches and considerable value.

    And not trying to hate, but I can’t help but notice the lighting in this recording area makes the clarity (and I think general hue; it’s a bit bluish imo) a bit off vs. when you’re recording in your shoe/toy cave.

    Anyway, happy holidays.

      1. In general terms they all share the common ground of being lows mostly within the same price range. I can’t really say making any comparisons should be kept within select categories, but basically with this year’s selection being so solid, selection boils down to relative strengths of each shoe — and that could be any category depending on findings. I mean sure enough they’re all guard shoes, but then it splits into quicker guards, or guards that are more cautious about their ankles or knees, etc.

        Right now I have Rare Metals and Kobe 11 EM (meh). I’ve seen the Lillard 2 and CLB at tempting prices, and I’ve heard enough about how good they are in general. But then the concern shifts to if and how I could possibly like those more. Not sure if it’s just splitting hairs for the most part.

        It’s not so much of the case where say, I’m wondering how engineered mesh holds up against jacquard; as far as I can make out, all these shoes have very passable materials. But I mean does Bounce have a certain character Jetlon EVL doesn’t? Does the high lacing of the Rare Metal truly hold a fit and lockdown advantage against the Lillard 2 and 3 which have reinforced support areas at the midfoot? It’s design cues in general where I question the differences, not so much the upfront stuff we see on paper. Hopefully I’m making some sense here.

        Just to be clear, not trying to put this out as an imposed “make this happen” demand. Wouldn’t expect an answer in the comments because I’m sure it’s a long one. Just a food for thought idea for a future topic given what is currently available.

        1. Yeah I would appreciate seeing something like this too, I feel like there are a number of options and its tough to really get a good comparison without actually trying them all.

        2. Would be cool to see comparisons between these models except the mentality 2, those are junk imo compared to the others and seem out of place in the list of shoes.

  13. Holy man am I pumped to grab the CNY colourway of this shoe. Everything I look for in a performance basketball sneaker. Traction, cushion, and weight all on point. Love dame, love adidas! Merry Christmas Weartesters

  14. I like Bounce also, after Micro G I think it is probably the best foam and both are very well priced. Boost is a huge ripoff and not ideal for bball shoes, though it’s OK. Same with Lunarlon, soft but too thick for my liking and bottoms out more than the others mentioned.

    These seem like they improved the fit and support from previous Lillard models. One thing I don’t like that is that super exaggerated midsole. It’s right there with the Hyperdunk 2015. Both look like crap and have limited functionality it would seem (for sure the HD 2015 did).

    I would get these off the clearance rack, if nothing else they definitely appear to continue the Dame tradition of being a low top that doesn’t feel flimsy/have inadequate protection.

    1. how is boost a ripoff? all three shoes in my rotation- the rose 7, the crazylight boost 2016 and harden volume 1 feature boost, i think there’s nothing else like it on the basketball shoe market when applied correctly, it gives you unparalleled impact protection while giving you maximum contact with the floor

  15. Hi. I am willing to buy these for our side use. Do you think they preform well outside? I love these and want theme badly.

  16. Sounds like a great shoe. I really like my Dame 2s and these sound better. I’d grab a pair soon except I HATE that tongue. Maybe I’ll warm up to it over time, but right now it’s a major turnoff for me.

  17. Interesting point about the rationale behind the fit rating. I think you should give the fit badge it deserves (in this case hall of fame), and in the review mention that as long as you get the right size, then it’ll fit great. Since the rating and the review goes hand in hand might as well take advantage of that

    1. Until a sz 9 in adidas is the same as a sz 9 with every other sz 9 offered at other brands then I cannot. That’s why reading is much more thorough than a badge. Badges add to the written review. Badges are not cliff notes.

  18. played in these last night
    great shoe….bounce is lower and bouncier than the lillard 2, the upper feels better than the jacquard on the 2, it just feels faster, more streamlined than the 2, fit and lockdown are better than pretty much anything i can think of, just incredible for the price that you’re paying

  19. ive been looking for a pair of these and cant find em anywhere but on the Canadian adidas site. Do you have any experience ordering off of there?

  20. Who wants to bet that we won’t be seeing NightWing say anything negative about Adidas basketball products anytime soon? He gets tons of free shit from them and is always completely GEEKED at their promo events that he attends (likely because he’s getting some type of compensation from them either in the form of cash or gear). I don’t have a problem with that being the case. What I do have a problem with is NightWing not being completely transparent in his reviews— by that I mean, he should start or end all reviews indicating whether or not he received the shoes for free or whether he purchased them himself (I have seen him mention how he procured certain shoes, but definitely not all of them…don’t be lazy, just mention it quickly and move on with the review). He could go a step further and have a disclaimer on this site detailing his relationships to the brands displayed on this site. Once that happens we can accurately deem reviews on this site to be unbiased (please note that I never said the reviews aren’t useful, they are useful. NightWing obviously puts a lot of effort into this and is knowledgeable but there is just little to no transparency here and transparency is owed to everyone, especially when people come here for reviews on retail products). Amazon requires its reviewers to disclose whether or not they received an item for free or at a discounted rate, don’t see what the problem would be in doing the exact same thing here!

    Thank you! Keep up the good work!

    1. Hello, I’m Noah Goldowitz, Managing Editor at WearTesters.com. The only reason I approved your comment was to reply to it publicly. Chris (Nightwing) is more than fed up with ignorant comments like this and I can see why. Moreover, he is busy, so now I will take time from posting news to reply to this.

      First, you obviously have very little idea of how this sneaker website corner of the Internet works. We are the ONLY sneaker site NOT receiving checks from brands. Almost every website relies on sponsored content to stay afloat and generate revenue. We are the only site posting unbiased comprehensive reviews from players who KNOW what they’re talking about. The reviewers here are not rambling 20-somethings but instead professionals that have played in many more sneakers than most that claim to “know a thing or two.” And I would also say we are the most transparent. If you haven’t noticed all the sponsored content on other sites then you obviously didn’t know how things actually work.

      Second, you obviously weren’t around when Chris was giving adidas basketball kicks some of the worst review scores we’ve ever published. The very first shoe he received from adidas was an absolute dud and we published it as such — and he even mentioned that the shoe had been sent to him by the brand. The second adidas shoe Chris reviewed was also pretty bad, and he reviewed it as such. Then, adidas overhauled its basketball division, brought in new blood, and decided to pick the brains of famous sneaker enthusiasts including Nightwing. That was years ago. Slowly, the brand began investing more and more millions into R&D and creating products that actually work, and work well. When a product works well we give it a good review; when a product doesn’t work well we give it a bad one — regardless of the brand or whether it was sent for free. It is as simple as that. And if you really thought this through, adidas could have sent nothing after Chris trashed the first shoe it sent. Instead, the brand sent another shoe because it valued Chris’ professional unbiased criticism.

      Third, I am disgusted that you would call Chris or anyone that does anything for WearTesters “lazy.” This site generates very little revenue so we pour hours and hours of hard work into this for almost zero return. We do this for the people globally that APPRECIATE what we do. Moreover, reviewing sneakers is COSTLY — obviously much more costly than you realize. It is also costly to the ankles, backs, knees, and feet of our reviewers. We post our information FOR FREE. We are NOT compensated by brands for reviews. You are out of your gotdamn mind if you think we do this for anything more than the love.
      I watch every single minute of Chris’ videos and you obviously missed all the times when he says, “adidas sent these over,” or, “thank you to Finish Line for sending these over,” Champs, etc. You’ll notice that he has disliked some kicks retailers have sent over in the past. Don;t you wonder what he did with those pairs? He gave them away to local kids, for free. In the future, please do pay more attention before commenting.

      Fourth, you really don’t understand how Amazon reviews operate. Many Amazon reviewers are paid for four or five star reviews, and sent hella products for free for favorable reviews. Amazon has been caught erasing negative reviews on products it sells, among many more dirty deeds. Please see this article in Consumerist and educate yourself: “Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?”

      At some point, Connor, you must have heard the expression, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” I think that goes doubly for when you have no idea what you’re talking about. Thank you, and have a nice day.

      1. Well said Noah. Here’s my view. I’m just some dude who posts here. Nightwing’s reviews are money. If not for him after 20 years of not buying sneakers I’d have had no clue what to buy for basketball. And if you look at the other reviews out there for CE’s, Crazylights or Rose 7, NW’s are similar to those. The Rose 7 has saved my legs an incredible amount of pounding. If not for stumbling on this site I’d have never known.

        Connor. You’re out of bounds. Nothing about NWs reviews have been off on any shoe I’ve bought. Rise 7 awesome. Lillard 2 great shoe but gotta wipe. Jordan 31 excellent cushion inconsistent traction. Can’t speak for anyone else but for me NWs reviews are incredibly accurate and much appreciated.

    2. Connor
      I’m Stan, Contributor/Writer and Weartester for the site. Feel free to put your money where your mouth is. Buy us the shoe and we can review it. On top of that, if you would like to pay for our bills, utilities, mortgage, gas, maintenance fees, etc, we’d gladly take it. You obviously have not one clue what we do around here. You have no idea what goes on in the background, the injuries we endure, the grind we put in. Honestly, if we got a paycheck for this, it WOULD BE GREAT. None of us are actually paid to do this…we do this because we love what we do, we want to share the experience and it’s a platform for users to obtain proper intuitive information, and hopefully not get jipped for what they pay for. We are consumers just like everyone else.

      Website hosting costs money, buying the shoes costs money, renting gym time costs money, gas into car, while putting mileage in a car, costs money. Electricity, computer, internet costs money – to create videos using software…that costs money. We don’t get a darn dime. You obviously haven’t seen or paid attention to what we do at all. Lot of us have ACTUAL jobs. Besides the point, we don’t have any brand loyalty. We have to be unbiased so we can do our job, our passion, properly. We have to be unbiased, because if we weren’t you’d be getting the same crappy shoe while paying premium prices. But if that’s what you want, feel free to spend $150-$250 on trash that’ll hurt your feet, buckle your knees, and give you constant pain in the long run, but don’t come complaining to us, knowing that we’re right. That’s on you. We provide a free platform for users, who respect our expertise, our craft, and our time, just so we can share information.

      You mention relationships…Well, brands reach out to us; some send shoes, some don’t, but we publish the information anyways because “RIGHT” information should be shared to those who want to obtain it. It’s cool when brands do send the shoes, which gives us a chance to review it. However, an item sent by ANY brand doesn’t mean it won’t feel our wrath when we review it. If brands put their egos aside and realize we help them do better, then that’s great. Hence, our relationship is built because they believe in us not to bullshit them. Brands don’t have time to bullshit nor do we because we have things outside of shoes, such as a thing called having a life/family.

      We, as WearTesters — our whole team — Chris, Stan, Bryan, Jaron, Bryan, Noah, Jordan, Jason, Pat, etc., put more time and hard work than you can even imagine, and someone like you who is randomly hiding behind the computer, type up something that has no facts behind it and bash us, is just plain disrespectful. You obviously don’t read the site, and haven’t been with us from the beginning nor seen the other reviews based upon your answer and lack of observation. Maybe you should do more homework and gather the facts, or stick your foot in your mouth. Obviously, to you, we’re not a trusted source because you believe, in your own mind, that any item received gets a biased review, so, go do your own thing. No one is stopping you. Please don’t come and say “GOOD WORK” when that comment in itself is complete utter BS and condescending, particuarly with everything you just stated in your comment. There are many other sites you can go check for unbiased performance reviews…oh wait….there aren’t…oh well, have fun. You are one user, whom I wouldn’t lose sleep over, if you never came back to the read the site. Good day.

  21. The hell with this bozo – just another case of a know-nothing know-it-all running his mouth. Any loyal readers know that most of what you guys do is out of pocket, in terms of both $$ and time/effort. While I understand every review will be subjective to the reviewer’s criteria, I also know that ya’ll make every attempt to be as straight up as possible with them and that free product =/= good reviews. Thanks for making life just a bit easier for everyone who visits Weartesters looking for reviews and news!

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