A modern take on the adidas Streetball 2, the 2019 edition looks to blur lines between lifestyle and performance, but does it truly live up to its name? Jalique is here to provide a performance review after primarily testing outdoors.
The outsole pattern of the new Streetball has rugged, almost boot-like vibes – and in terms of durability it’s a go. For actual performance, however, there was a little left to be desired in terms of traction. Often, a light slip could be felt on shiftier movements, taking away milliseconds I would have loved to at least feel I had by placebo to gain separation. On defense, I was a little more secure, probably because that’s more familiar territory for me as far as footwork – I’m certainly no Kyrie with the ball in my hands.
I’ve gotten some questions about indoor performance through our WearTesters Discord Community, so I did take the Streetball inside for practice and one indoor game. Traction didn’t feel any better inside unfortunately, it was about the same experience. My conclusion is that there is just not enough coverage throughout the shoe to give more stopping power. I think adding more herringbone where the super-thick and wide spaced chevron pattern may have added some stopping power. Not the worst, but certainly not the best, even for outdoors.
One of the main features that drew me towards the Streetball was the cushion after positive reviews of Lightstrike on the adidas N3XT L3V3L. I regret to say on the adidas Streetball I didn’t have the best first impression of it, and I now know it just isn’t the best implementation of the foam on this sneaker. While testing my pair, I was fortunate enough to acquire both the N3XT L3V3L at a steal and the Harden Vol. 4 early. Man, do I have a much better opinion of those two sneakers and their cushion.
The adidas Streetball midsole just feels dead in the forefoot, if I’m being honest. Don’t let the chunky aesthetic fool you, there is a ton of court feel up front and a lot of flex which makes for good transition, but it also feels dead as if no real protection is there. The heel feels a lot better, with a little bit of bounce back after some break in, it’s just too bad that wasn’t of much use to me while playing.
Court feel is cool and all, but when other sneakers can provide that and cushion underfoot with the same foam, and the outdoor shoe doesn’t its just difficult for me to enjoy – also, my knees haven’t felt great from the moment I finished testing the Streetball 2019 outside.
This is where things get good for the Streetball – in most colorways. In the upper you get a little bit of everything, some of which varies between colorways but doesn’t affect performance. The main highlights are the raw materials, which this shoe gets right on the money. Tumbled leather and buttery suede hits — what’s not to like about that? If you are a fan of the adidas Continental 80 and its leather, then you should be happy with this build – its soft, molds well (so long as you find the right fit), can take a little beating, and is still supportive despite being a thin cut. I dig it — a lot.
Even though the neoprene is an actual tongue connected to the footbed by elastic bands, it gives off even more of a 90’s vibe like sneakers of the time with internal sleeves. For all the materials that some will not find any excitement in, they are applied in moderation and/or strategically placed, such as the rubber piece sitting on the suede overlay near the pinky toe. A good mix of fashion and function, materials are good in the adidas Streetball, just stay away from the Flash Orange colorway – the quality of those just doesn’t compare to the rest.
Two colorways have been available for some time through adidas online, but I thought it was best to wait until now when more colorways have gotten a wider release and hopefully on shelves for everyone to try on first. As a slightly narrow footer, ideally I could have gone a half size down as the shoe ran a little wide and long, but I know of some others that feel perfectly fine going true to size.
Lockdown could’ve been better, but wasn’t terrible. More lace holders could have improved it, but at the same time it was nice to do a quick yank to tighten up all the way through the lacing system. However, the round laces were a little annoying as they come undone easily, even when double knotting.
Overall, fit is a little too much of a guessing game when ordering online. True to size in the shoe may work well for a broader spectrum of folks, but I strongly encourage everyone to judge for themselves in store, if possible. For me personally, a half size down would have given a little more security, not that I was at much risk in my true size.
You don’t get all of the standard support features in the adidas Streetball, but for what you do get, it is adequate. Under foot, I can’t feel any torsional plate or bar under foot, but the midsole damn sure doesn’t budge when you try to bend it, so there shouldn’t be issues in that area. Speaking of the midsole, it does cup the foot just slightly most of the way around and the outsole uses exaggerated pieces at each side of the heel to stabilize it along with the rubber/suede overlays in the forefoot, which also laterally contain you a bit.
I don’t feel a real heel cup either, but was saved from any side movement at the heel somehow. Normal heel slip did occur, but few and far in between. While it wasn’t enough to concern me, some may not feel comfortable with that at all, so you’ve been warned. Otherwise, I felt perfectly fine moving around with the few support features given, despite not having the best fit and traction.
When asked before, I’ve said I think the adidas Streetball meets minimum requirements to hoop in. After owning for over a month I somewhat stand by that, I would just revise by saying the shoe has just enough performance aspects to hoop in. Despite its confusing nature as an adidas Original branded model, the company has openly showcased the sneaker as one you should not be afraid to play in. I didn’t mind playing in it, buy I do find it to be more lifestyle-driven than performance-oriented.
Don’t get me wrong, if you find the right fit, don’t mind minimal cushion over asphalt, and like the looks of the adidas Streetball, then this could be an option. For me, I just expected a little more for outdoors – as did my aging legs.
I wouldn’t call this a go-to outdoor option but I will say if I am wearing the Streetball — which has grown on me casually with that chunky Yeezy look — and I get put on the spot to play a game or two outside, I don’t feel like I have much of an excuse shoe-wise to not try and get some buckets. If that doesn’t happen though, then I’m perfectly fine to continue rocking these at leisure — the adidas Streetball is still one of my favorite pickups this year.