An early frontrunner for best basketball shoe of 2019.
Much like the rest of adidas’ current lineup of basketball shoes, the Dame 5 utilizes herringbone traction from heel to toe. However, the implementation of the pattern is the best they’ve done thus far.
Each line of the pattern is thick and widely spaced apart, making it harder for dust to clog up the outsole when you’re playing on less than desirable courts. Based on my experience in both the YKWTII and CNY editions, the traction and rubber compound, despite being translucent, worked really well on every court.
However, the very first time I played in them they were very slick, similar to my experience in the Harden Vol 3 and N3XT L3V3L. I’m not sure if there is some sort of residue on the outsoles of these adidas models or not, but the first time I’ve played in them they always start out the same. Just something to note in case your first experience has been the same as mine — I’m sure I’m not alone.
When on one of those less than desirable courts, the bite of the grip lessened a bit yet remained reliable. A quick wipe here or there and all was good again.
Outdoors, the traction was just as reliable. Because it’s as thick as it is, they’d make for a very solid outdoor option for anyone that plays primarily outside.
Bounce is back but thicker than it was on the Dame 4. This may make many hoopers happy as the thin forefoot of the Dame 4 was a major complaint for some.
For those that preferred the lower profile setup of the Dame 4, they might miss the court feel, but even with the thicker midsole, court feel is still readily available. It’s one of the bright sides to using something like Bounce over Boost.
While I didn’t dislike the ride the Dame 4 offered, I absolutely love the ride that the Dame 5 provides. This iteration of Bounce was felt from the moment I tried the shoe on to the moment I took them off after a three hour pickup session. Its full length setup is more than welcomed on a shoe that has remained affordable since its inception. There’s plenty of impact protection without causing any instability or loss of court feel. Did I mention it’s full length? Yeah, this might be the best Bounce setup since the Dame 2.
The Dame 5 currently has two material options: mesh and leather. Luckily, I was able to test both.
The mesh versions are slightly lighter in weight, but not significantly. They also feature a synthetic nubuck/suede rear panel that is more felt-like than anything. This section I didn’t like, not from a performance aspect as it played just fine, but it’s just noticeably cheap. I don’t like it when it was used on the Kobe line and I don’t like it here. Granted, there is a decent price difference between the two, but I’d still prefer something nicer no matter the price point.
Meanwhile, the leather (synthetic leather) does a great job of being consistent throughout. However, like the felt material, the “leather” is noticeably cheap. Nothing wrong with it from a performance aspect; it felt and played like leather on-foot which is the whole point of using it. It just won’t give you the look of premium leather but that might not be an issue if you’re just using these on-court. I know I wouldn’t care unless I was stuck wearing these on and off the court.
Were there any glaring differences between the two on-court? Surprisingly enough, not a single thing. Each shoe felt exactly the same and once I started playing, I never even noticed the shoes at all other than the fact that they were working really well.
Inconsistent per usual. While I’ve felt going true to size with the Harden Vol 3, N3XT L3V3L and BYW X was the right option, going down 1/2 will be best for the Dame 5.
The Dame 5’s fit is slightly long at the toe and there is volume above the toe as well. Wide footers, this means these were made for you. Regular/narrow footers will likely want to go down 1/2 size for the best one-to-one fit.
The reason why the score for the fit section is a high as it is was due to the lockdown. Despite fitting a little long in my true size, the lockdown saved the shoe from a fit standpoint.
There is absolutely nothing special with the way the lacing system is structured. However, it works. It works so well that I never was distracted by the fact that there was more length and volume above my foot than I’d prefer. Usually when this happens, I end up getting a sloppy fit and with the Dame 5, I never had anything but great lockdown.
This might have been due to the fact that the interior is lined with more pillows that my bed, really allowing you to tie these bad boys up as tight as you’d like without any kind of discomfort.
The support on the Dame 5’s has been amazing. Lockdown, as described above, was great. You also sit inside the midsole a bit. There is that ugly TPU panel on the lateral side for additional lateral coverage — which didn’t cause any discomfort for me for anyone wondering and torsional support was solid. But the best part was the midsole and outsole.
Not only is the tooling flat as hell but the forefoot is wide at the forefoot in both the medial and lateral side. This will cause you to give yourself the illusion that you have some extremely fat feet while you’re wearing the shoe, but the stability you receive from the width is incredible. I always see a spike in my shooting percentage when I wear shoes with greater forefoot stability and these may have taken the second place spot — number one still goes to Ektio. Yeah, that’s a deep cut for anyone that’s been rocking with me for that long.
As I mentioned from the start, the adidas Dame 5 is easily an early frontrunner for best basketball shoe of 2019. Yes, it’s very early on in the year, but the shoe just plays well.
Pushing aside my dislike for the materials and the overall design, the Dame 5 is solid all the way around: great traction, great cushion, superior lockdown, wonderful support and stability. The materials might scream budget model, but the performance is what you’d expect out of a premium signature basketball shoe.
Whether you’re buying the Dame 5 for full retail price or grabbing a pair for a discount, you should end up liking the hell out of these things.