adidas Dame 5 Performance Review

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.

30 Comments

  1. Bruh, i remember those Ektios. It used to be one of your greatest traction of all time and goat heel fit and support. not a supporter from day 1 but a supporter from way, way back. good times.

    uhm, there is no score displayed Chris. You might want to check it.

    1. You don’t have to be a day one to be appreciated. Thank you for the support for however long you’ve been rocking with us. Sorry about the score card. Forgot to add it in before I published. I’m away from the office right now but I will fix it around 1:30 am PST. Thanks!

      1. Review speaks for itself, I don’t even miss the scorecard. Definitely interested in these. Thanks as always!

  2. The Dame line has become a great consistent option for wide-footers like me. I remember Ektio because that was one of the first reviews of yours I that I read (along with the K1X Anti-Gravity). Thanks for consistently being a great spot on the internet for hoopers in a world of hypebeast sneakerheads!

  3. I haven’t played in the 4s, but love the 3s. Is the forefoot cushion similar to those? In my opinion that is boost at its best for a “versatile” 35 year old baller.

    Thanks for the review as always!

  4. I’ve been playing in the AJ33’s for a while now-waiting for these to come out actually.
    I really like-not love-the 33 after a lengthy break in time. That said…It was amazing putting the Dame 5’s on knowing i could step on court and hoop without hesitation and everything that was annoying about the 33’s (blisters, tweaking the pull strap for fit/lockdown issues etc).

    You nailed the review, as always. I had a 10.5 in the 3’s and went TTS for these and am having second thoughts because of that toebox feeling. Good to know it works in end. All in all, Dame’s line continues to be amazing and bounce…actually is life. ha.

    1. Both are solid options. Just depends on what you’re looking for in your shoe. Not all PG like plush cushion (Dame 5) and on the flip side not all PG like firmer cushions (almost every Curry ever lol). It’s best to take the info within the reviews and apply it to your specific needs.

  5. Hey Chris!

    Should i buy the same size i did with the Dame 4 or should i go 1/2 size down? I’m a wide-footer.

    Keep up the good work, greetings from Poland!

  6. Great review! I’ve not played ball in years and I’m just getting back into now and was looking for reviews and amazed you’re still doing these reviews. Great stuff.
    My last shoes were the Kobe 4s which were great for all the reasons that the Dame 5s seem to be, and I can get two pairs of these for the price of the upcoming Protro 4s.
    Keep it up! Going back down the rabbit hole of sneakers, not sure what the wife will think of it. 😀

  7. Damn I wish they still made ektio I bought them off your review and they were def one of the better ball kicks for outdoors hands down

    1. Agreed, I still have a pair of Ektios and I use them as my outdoor shoes. They’re super durable and I don’t play outside very often, so they’re still going strong.

  8. Hey Chris, I remember those ektios cause i was in high school at the time and my mom was gunna buy it for me due to it being affordable and having the incredible lockdown .but anyways i think i got some Adidas Barricade Tennis Shoes instead which were really good but they weren’t “cool”. Great review as always i did miss the scorecard but it made me actually read the review(obviously see it there now). I think it’s time to replace my DRose 7 and my LeBron 11, both i got for a steal. I honestly love the direction your channel is headed. I’ve been following it for a very long time and seen the growth I’m 24 now i remember waiting on that hyperdunk review not because i could get it but Dudes like Blake Griffin were rocking it and then the original Crazylight were a crazy time lol

  9. Hi Chris! I can only agree that Dame 5 are fire. I’ve bought a pair of Peoples Champ color before your review and I’m more than satisfied. My previous Dame 4 has worn out, so I needed a new pair anyway. One thing that I can add, is that upper shoe laces hole is unnecessary. When I laced all up, that last metal was rubbing in and it really have no sense and isn’t giving you anything.

    1. Glad you’re enjoying the Dame 5 as well. I laced mine up to the top, not because I needed to, but because my laces are incredibly long. Even with lacing them up to the top the loops nearly touched the ground lol. Luckily the metal eyelets never dug into my ankles at all. The tongue protected my from them — thank goodness.

  10. Thank you Chris for all the great reviews the last decade and maybe longer🤔…. i am currently playing in Pro bounce high and i am very satisfied. Because of them i put aside Lebron XV. Now i am between Dame 5 and Marquee Boost. The Marquee high seems to have better ankle and achilles support. What do you think? Which one should i get?

  11. I think just using herringbone isnt enough to get great traction. Its a plus, but it also needs to have adequate space between the lines. This has more space than the harden 3, and yet has better traction even though they both use herringbone.

    Also, the best traction, i think, ends in a point. Rose 7, hyperdunk 2017, etc all have triangular, pointy traction lines. It doesnt even have to be soft rubber, either. The mamba mentality and crazylight 2016 had savage tractions and were very durable. So note to companies: keep the traction sharp, and you can still make the soles durable without sacrificing traction.

  12. Hi! Thanks for the review. I got the Dame 5 All Skate two weeks ago and I was very concernet about the ankle support. Usually I play with 2015 Hyperdunk because they make me feel quite safe. But I have to say, after the first moments… those Dame… are really a surprise. The traction and the support… Really nice.

  13. Nightwing, this is a really odd question. I have really bad OCD with shoes. If there’s anything that is not “standard”, I notice it. I’ll notice if the back piece is too high up and hits my ankle. I’ll notice if something is just a bit off.

    The ONLY thing that worries me is the inner section with those “pillows” that jut out a bit. Do you notice them AT ALL? Does the interior material of the Dame 5 feel different than the Dame 4? The Dame 4s are one of my all time favorite hoop shoes and I really want to get the new version.

    1. You notice them when you look down at yourself wearing them. The shoe is pretty puffy looking on-foot. So if it’s the visual you get OCD about then it may bother you. For me, they play so nicely that I don’t really care how they look. I’m not trying to wear them anywhere but on the court. I usually wear runners or Retro shoes casually as it is. Hope that helps.

  14. Thanks for review, it’s as detailed as we expect and hope =)
    I’m a big fan of Dame 4, and White/Black-Red colorway is the best-looking performance sneaker ever, if you ask me.
    I never thought myself as a guy for the looks, but Dame 5 is the ugliest thing I’ve seen for quite some time =(
    It’s a shame, I really looked forward to it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to be scare off by the looks. Great that it performs nice, I hope it’ll sell well, Adidas needs some boost (no pun intended).

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