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adidas Harden Stepback 3 Performance Review

adidas Harden Stepback 3
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adidas Harden Stepback 3

The adidas Harden Stepback 3 is a solid performer and brings back the Bounce we’ve come to love. A budget model to be reckoned with.

Colorway: N/A

Release Date: 2022

Price: TBA

The adidas Harden Stepback 3 follows the Stepback 2, the budget model that was better than the James Harden flagship adidas Harden Vol 5. It’s rare and unexpected when the budget model outperforms the major release. This time around, though, the same can’t be said. The adidas Harden Vol 6 performs well and better than the Stepback 3. But that doesn’t mean these aren’t worth your consideration. If you’re a fan of Harden, looking for a good budget basketball shoe, or want to support the brand without spending above $100, you’ve come to the right shoe.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Traction

Traction

My favorite aspect of the shoe. It just gripped everything I put them on. The last court I went to had a sheet of dust covering the surface, and these still bit the ground well. During my time in them, I only slid once, and it was relatively early in the testing process. The traction pattern looks data-driven, something we’ve seen from the adidas Harden Vol. 1. The only gripe I have with the traction is the solid rubber’s durability. After about four hours on a rough cement outdoor court, it already showed bald spots.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Cushion

Cushion

The midsole is full-length Bounce, just like the adidas Pro N3XT 2021. However, it’s comfortable this time and does a decent job combining impact protection and court feel. I did notice, however, that at least one of my heels hurt after playing for about 2 hours. This is due to the rubber caging in that area. The strobel board is also made up of a plush foam which I think is also Bounce. I wasn’t astonished by its performance, but it’s an upgrade from the Pro N3XT 2021.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Materials

Materials

The materials are what you’d expect. The main build is a mesh with thick padding inside it combined with fuse overlays on the sides and eye stay area. There are also reflective hits on the tongue and pull tab. A piece of cheap felt is found near the top of the collar.  The tongue is a more open-celled mesh. They’re not exceptional, but they’re at least comfortable.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Fit

Fit

The shoe looks big when you first see it, but that’s deceiving. Because of the thicker inside, the shoe fits true to size with a thumb’s width of space up front. You can go down half a size for a more snug fit since the materials will loosen over time and wear. Heel lockdown could have been better, though. To get the best fit, make sure to cinch the top as hard as you can.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Support

Support

I had no issues in this department. The base is wide enough to compensate for the lack of a proper outrigger. I didn’t shift in the shoe once I was properly locked in. You sit inside the midsole just enough to be laterally supported but not where you’re too close to the ground. The heel rubber caging works in conjunction with the internal heel counter to provide ample ankle support. Everything did its job, and I was able to walk away without injuries.

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Summary

adidas Harden Stepback 3 Overall

The adidas Harden Stepback 3 is a solid performer that will not disappoint many. The traction is top-notch for as long as it lasts. The cushion brings back the old Bounce that we’ve come to love. And although the materials aren’t unique, the fit is accommodating enough that most foot shapes and sizes will love putting these on. For the price, it’s worth the purchase.

Shop Harden at adidas
8/10
Total Score

How to Buy the adidas Harden Stepback 3

The adidas Harden Stepback 3 will be available at adidas soon.


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