They FIXED IT!! They fixed EVERYTHING!! I love, love, LOVE when I write a review and it seems like companies listen. I know I am nowhere near important enough for adidas to care if I like a shoe, and I understand the shoes are not made for me but for a world-class point guard named Dame. When I pointed out the issues I had with the Lillard 1, I knew I was a small voice in the crowd. But when I got the adidas D Lillard 2 on foot, I felt like the shoe was made to correct everything I had issues with a year ago. This shoe, man, wooooh, eff it, let’s get going…
MATERIALS – Whereas last year we got a synthetic leather and mesh inner bootie, the 2 comes with a Jacquard knit upper and leather details. I enjoy leather/good synthetics more than most textile/fused uppers, but the 2 is premium. The upper doesn’t have much stretch, which is great — think Jordan XX9 instead of Primeknit. I liked the knit of the CLBoost 15 but it didn’t contain as well as the Dame 2. And the sewn pattern/details on the upper? Just adds to the already premium feel. If you are scared of a knit material in an upper, try this one. Leather (or a really good fake) around the lace areas and heel cup just add to an already lux shoe.
The full-length inner bootie, that is thicker and more comfortable than the 1, works to improve the fit from a year ago (more on that next) and the added ankle/Achilles pads hold you in tight.
Midsole is bounce, a new foam introduced by adidas last year in the Rose 773 series and in the running line. Not as springy as Boost, Bounce is along the lines of Micro G — a denser, firmer response that is perfect for guards and small forwards. A solid Continental rubber outsole finishes the shoe out.
FIT – A little iffy, but for the most part, true to size. I could see maybe going half size down just from a little extra length in the toe, but my true size 10.5 left me about a half inch in the length. The material is pliable and soft so sizing down to get the super-snug fit shouldn’t be too painful.
Heel slip is GONE. The added collar padding and dogbone insert around the heel lock you in and the higher lacing system pulls the collar together nicely. The lacing allows for even wide-footers to fit and the midfoot is further locked in using the plastic inserts instead of normal lacing holes.
The tongue/bootie is extra-thick this year and takes up most of the empty space inside the shoe. Without lacing super-tight I felt little to no movement at all.
TRACTION – Hmmmmm. On clean courts, bites and grabs; add a little dust and get the wipes ready. On Mondays my local 24 court is CLEAN — they mop it on Sundays. The Lillard 2 grabbed and caught on every move. By Wednesday, when every musclehead looking for some cardio comes in and plays in his old football shoes, there is a visible layer of sludge with a few hairballs and dust bunnies floating around. The Lillard let me down on those days, mostly because I REALLY don’t want to wipe some of that junk on my hands. If and when I did wipe, it only took once and I was back in the hunt.
However, with a pattern this tight, it never takes long to clog up again. Keep it clean and you will not be disappointed. As far as durability, nah, I don’t think so. The sole rubber is thick but the pattern is quite thin. I think it would be better than the CLBoost, but not as good as the Lillard 1 or the Rose 5.
CUSHIONING – Darkman got y’all bouncin again — sorry, DMX moment. This ain’t your KG Bounce, this is a real, serious foam cushioning. No, it isn’t Boost, but I could see Bounce appealing to a wider audience. Boost is like a Super Ball — it starts and rebounds and bounces and pops forever, kind of uncontrolled, but alive. Bounce is like a box spring under a mattress — absorbs and goes back to shape, but doesn’t really give a sense of “boing.”
Bounce is a little behind Micro G, but is great at shock absorption and durability. Best of all, it’s full length; the feedback from heel to toe is consistent and absorbing. One thing this let’s adidas do is pack the foam a little thinner for better court ride and feel while still giving great impact protection. If you have tried Boost and found it too unstable, give Bounce a try. Personally, if you are torn between the Bounce or Boost/adiprene version, I would go Bounce.
Stability/Support – As good as you can get in a low cut shoe. The huge heel counter, although not super-stiff, wraps around the heel and gives the wearer just enough support without restricting. The extra padding and thicker bootie fill empty space so the foot slides in the 1 are minimized. The stiffer material around the ankle also cut down on heel slip, adding to the extra stability.
There is an outrigger set a little back from the forefoot, which I enjoyed. When I plant it is off the lateral side of my foot, not my toes, so being back helped push off. Midfoot support is provided by a Torsion bar hidden in the midsole – you can’t see it but try to push in under the arch. Ain’t happening. All in all, WAY improved in just a year.
OVERALL – Love, love, LOVE the adidas D Lillard 2. It is easily top five this season. Materials are so much nicer than they should be at this price. An actual cushioning system that has impact protection and is full-length. Fit is excellent.
If I could change one thing, I would have kept the traction pattern from the 1 and this shoe would be damn near perfect. But then what would we have to look forward to next year?
Buy the adidas D Lillard 2 if you love woven uppers, need cushioning, and play on a good court. If you are strictly outdoors, be wary. If you love value, look no further. adidas is coming hard this year and taking no prisoners. I can’t wait.