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adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Performance Review

The adidas Pro N3XT 2021 is a new budget model from the brand with the three stripes. It’s hit or miss right now over at adidas, and we continue to hope that they’ll put out some beastly performing sneakers. These may look similar to the adidas Exhibit A, but let’s not confuse aesthetics with performance. In my opinion, these fit right into the category of best budget basketball shoes.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021

Colorway: Gold/Black/Red

Release Date: February 2021

Style Code: G58892

Price: $70

Find out if the Pro N3XT 2021 is the next shoe for you in the article below.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Traction

Traction

One word: beastly. The traction pattern is two-sectioned. From the midfoot to the forefoot, we have an aggressive wave-bone pattern which has flex grooves in all the right places. In the heel, we have good old cilia traction. All throughout the outsole, there are arrow-shaped reinforcements just to make sure you don’t slip. And I never did. These things gripped the floor well whenever I played, which was usually on a very dusty floor. Not a lot of noise, though, if that’s what you’re looking for. What makes things even better is that these are really durable. I’ve played multiple hours in them outside and there’s not any noticeable wear, major scratches or fraying on the outsole. These just work. Period.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Cushion

Cushion

Here’s where things go south. This is, without question, my least favorite aspect of this shoe. Usually, when I hear “full-length Bounce,” I shout for joy because of my previous experiences with shoes like the adidas Dame 5. But these are nothing like that. They are too low to the ground. You sit well within the midsole, and the midsole already looks thin as is. You’re not even half an inch above the ground at the forefoot, and the heel isn’t any thicker. I actually had to give these a shorter testing time because my legs and back couldn’t take the impact I was experiencing. When I jump as high as I can, and I don’t jump very high, my body begs for more cushion upon landing. It just wasn’t a great experience for me. 

It gets marginally better (and I mean really marginally) over time, but reaches its max potential rather quickly. Though I’d recommend the outsole for outdoors, I would not recommend the cushion for outdoor play, unless you prefer a REALLY low-to-the-ground set up with no bounce or impact protection.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Materials

Materials

Nothing truly unusual here. Three-fourths of the shoe is made up of a tightly-knit textile, while the heel portion is some cheap felt material. What’s interesting, though, is that both lateral sides are covered by two layers. The first one is an airy mesh, then on top of that is a very thick fuse. Then on the medial sides, there are fuse pieces, but they’re more for aesthetics and branding. Breathability is almost non-existent because of how tight the knit is, plus all the overlays. They do, however, move well with the foot. I also do not see any durability issues in the long term because of the structure of the whole shoe. Overall though, I’m not surprised with the material choice considering the price point.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Fit

Fit

I can’t believe I’m going to say this about an adidas shoe, but the fit is the best part. It’s 100% true to size. Everything is snug and the materials lay nicely over the foot without a single millimeter of dead space. And what makes these better is that these are the easiest shoes to put on. Ever. The tongue is only really connected to the bottom and, unless you put the laces under the nylon piece on top, it’s very free to move around, so getting in is smooth. This might concern you thinking about possible in-game issues, but there’s none of that because of the snug fit. Easily one of the best fitting shoes of the year.

adidas Pro N3XT 2021 Support

Support

A lot of the support comes from the perfect fit, but it still isn’t perfect. The base isn’t as wide as I would’ve liked, and an outrigger could’ve easily fixed that. I almost rolled over the footbed once in my hours of testing, which isn’t a terrible statistic. Just know that it can happen with these. The materials do a good job of containing the foot on hard lateral movements, but sometimes that’s just not enough for a great supporting shoe. So, it isn’t a deal breaker for me personally, but I can see why one might not go with these considering the slight lack in lateral support. It does check all the other stability boxes.

Overall

Overall

I enjoyed all the aspects of the adidas Pro N3XT 2021, except for the cushion. It just wasn’t enough for my playing needs. And I’m only 5’8” weighing in at 158 pounds with an average vertical. I don’t feel like these offer enough impact protection. If you really do prefer a low-to-the-ground cushion, then these are a good option, especially if you mainly play outdoors. At the end of the day, I can see why people may or may not pick these up. It just all comes down to personal preference.

How to Buy the adidas Pro N3XT 2021

The adidas Pro N3XT 2021 is available now in multiple colorways at Academy Sports and Outdoors.

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