The Beard’s latest offering is here for a while now, and since we’re in quarantine anyway, I thought I’d bring you my
comprehensive 1-year adidas Harden Vol 4 review. From an outdoor perspective.
Gyms are closed, gyms aren’t available and I’ve been playing in this shoe in my local park ever since it launched back in October, along with rotating other shoes as well. For those who are just like me and can only hoop outside: this one’s for you!
I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, performance, build quality & value for the money, versatility, and potential alternative options.
I. SPEC SHEET
II. 1-MIN REVIEW
In a hurry? Here’s the gist of the adidas Harden Vol 4 review: a true modern classic that takes all the advantages from a low-top design and blends in critical features that make it more than just a one-dimensional low-top.
The Harden Vol. 4 should fit most with their regular size or use your usual adidas size. The widest of feet could go up half a size though. If you get the size right, the shoe is definitely comfy.
Traction’s solid too – and you’ll get through multiple seasons outdoors. That’s right – the rubber used here is durable and reminiscent of the Dame line. Pair that with well-balanced Lightstrike cushion and a nicely done knit build – the shoe’s a beast.
If you like to have more cushion under your foot though – the previous Harden Vol. 3 should satisfy you with a beefier Boost midsole.
If you can’t spend more than $100+ on a sneaker but looking for similar performance – the Nike Precision 5 is a solid budget option for just $70.
III. FIT & COMFORT
Do they fit TTS or should you adjust? What about comfort? Containment? Any additional notes fit-wise?
SIZING GUIDE: TTS OR 1/2 UP!
The Harden Vol 4 follows the same formula with some tweaks to appeal more to different players. And I love it.
First off, don’t get disturbed that these look HUGE on feet. Literally. The tooling is unusually very wide and I dig that a lot for a couple of reasons.
The first one being that this saves hassle for wide footers – I have very wide feet myself and the forefoot & midfoot areas are wide enough for me, especially after about a week of adjusting.
The second one being unprecedented stability – that wide of a platform + sitting so low to the ground makes up for an extremely stable & agile combo, and for a low top – I think this is perfect.
regular/narrow footers – going true to size is the #1 option without a doubt. Wide footers like myself – it would be best to order two pairs (one TTS and the other up 1/2 a size) to be safe and return the unneeded one.
But I actually went
true to size and I believe I’ve got a pretty extreme case of wide feet, so this should tell you going TTS shouldn’t be so scary if you’re not up for ordering multiple pairs.
Unless your feet are even wider than mine, which would mean you should have the feet of a clown at that point. Going true to size resulted in me feeling super secure, there’s zero slippage in the heel or anywhere else.
If you are experiencing some heel slippage though – there might be a few things you can do. Check out my heel slippage guide for
basketball shoes to find out more!
Going up half a size could’ve messed with the overall lockdown as I feel like they’re now perfect length-wise, so any extra space could’ve compromised the sense of security and that one-to-one fit feel.
THE BAND SITUATION
One thing I want to touch on is that midfoot elastic band thing that pulls into the midfoot and ankle areas when lacing ’em up for enhanced lockdown. While it does help lock down the fit, that strap took the longest to get it out of the way in terms of break-in.
It was pretty terrible for me during the first week (partially because of my huge feet I presume) since that area was pressing into my feet to the point where it was painful at times when the shoe flexed, especially torsionally.
Don’t worry though – through multiple reviews and user feedback I’ve heard people having the same thing but it goes away for
most. And it should go away quicker for you than for me as well.
COMFORT: FAST, LIGHT, AND SMOOTH
Even though I feel like adidas hasn’t been on such a perfect roll these past couple of years when compared to the
air jordan/D Rose 6-7 days, I still think the Harden line has been super consistent in providing a comfy, secure, and fast shoe to play in.
The Harden Vol. 4 feels light as hell, to begin with. Even though it’s not among the lightest shoes in terms of pure numbers, the most important thing is how they actually feel in action.
And the Harden Vol 4 feels as fast & light as ever.
Also, looking for comfy, fluffy internal padding in your shoe? You got it. It’s everywhere and there’s a lot of it. While that might take away some space and condense your foot, man it’s comfy in there provided you get the size right!
buttery smooth is the best way to describe it. If you feel like these fit you properly but your foot’s really cradled in there, give ’em some time to fully break in, or go up half a size if you prefer a roomier fit.
In most cases though – you shouldn’t need to.
Does it grip different surfaces well & consistently? Is dust/debris a factor? How long will these last outside?
adidas loves to switch things up almost every year when it comes to the outsole and even though I’d prefer all brands to just stick with solid/XDR rubber & good ol’ herringbone, I wasn’t disappointed with the Harden Vol 4’s traction.
As you can see, the heel and forefoot portions are separated pretty distinctively – the heel portion uses a more spaced out pattern while the forefoot area is denser to cover more ground for stops, cuts, changes of direction, etc.
I’m not sure how these would’ve performed if a consistent pattern was used all throughout the outsole but the traction on these was great regardless.
The rubber used is almost
ridiculously sticky, so that also helped with how quick and effective each stop or shift was. And sticky also means A TON of squeak. Get your ears ready if you’re playing on hardwood/rubber.
However, tacky rubber also means dust sticking to it very easily. Even though the pattern is properly spaced out and there’s room for dust to escape, the glue-like rubber catches all of it, so frequent wiping will be needed to keep the traction consistent.
Not the worst scenario there was at all though – the traction never dropped to a point where I’d feel a huge decrease, even when I’d skip a wipe where I’d normally do it, such as during longer, more intense stretches of a game.
And I was playing in my local park that’s pretty weary now – it’s good to know these outsoles will get the job done no matter the nasty debris all over the court.
Speaking of which, how’s the durability for outdoors you ask? While the shoe is clearly not an “outdoor” model so to speak, the rubber does hold up well.
I’ve got back to playing in these from time to time after putting out the initial review, so here’s a
It’s something about adidas’s basketball footwear. It delivers in durability – that’s for sure. Things are looking very similar to when they were just 3 months after getting the shoe.
There are more frayings along the medial and lateral areas of the pattern (mainly in the forefoot portion) and some of the rubber is looking weary.
HOWEVER, the core of the pattern is still there, with almost each and every knob resembling its original shape.
And I’d be lying if I said I’m feeling a clear decrease in performance. That’s simply not true. I haven’t taken these indoors for a long time now so things might be slightly different. On concrete/rubber though – just like the Dame line, these refuse to break down.
Keep in mind that different colorways of the shoe might result in slightly altered performance/durability of the outsoles – we all know that different paint coatings actually
can have an impact sometimes. V. CUSHION
How’s the impact protection and energy return? What ride height & comfort? Stability of the foam?
The usual Boost midsole seen on the first three Hardens is now replaced with Lightstrike – adidas’s latest foam compound.
Even though I love Boost more than anything, the actual implementation of the foam is extremely important too. After giving it a serious go with Lightstrike, I have to say I like it. Quite a bit.
Lightstrike is meant to be this very thin layer of lightweight foam that keeps you quick, responsive but also offers impact protection and quick energy return while keeping a very low profile. Much like Boost, just lighter and quicker.
I feel like this is EXACTLY what I’ve got from the shoe. One of the rare occasions when the marketing claims are kind of accurate. Spot-on to be precise.
Now, I know this isn’t going to be for everybody – nothing is. But if you appreciate a setup that delivers pretty much everything you need performance-wise to play safely & efficiently, this should absolutely satisfy you.
If tons of bounce and springs underfoot are what you’re looking for instead – the shoe might not be for you. Go check out the Zoom Rize 1 & 2 or the KD 13 & 14. Or the LeBron 18 if you’re in need of
But seriously, I’m impressed by this Lightstrike foam and its implementation. It’s thinner than even a lower profile variation of Boost that you’d usually see, it’s lighter, yet I could still feel it at all times.
The only foam compound that comes close to this type of balance (being super thin & light, yet comfy and there’s impact protection) is Nikey’s React. In my opinion of course. But Lightstrike wins it for me in this case.
So, to wrap it up – expect a quick, responsive ride that’s very stable, low to the ground, offers no distractions but still provides adequate impact protection and you’ll actually be able to feel it underfoot. Not to an extreme level but enough to keep things comfy and smooth while playing.
I think it’s a fantastic setup – solid job!
How’s all-around security? What about the build’s stability and foot containment? Any restrictions in result?
I never expect weak support from an adidas basketball shoe. And my expectations are usually met.
The Harden Vol. 4 is very supportive and I would really like to emphasize that since so many people still have this notion of “a low top means it’s not safe while a high top means better ankle protection”.
For those people, my guide for basketball shoe support is something I encourage you to check out.
This is not true anymore as support comes from the shoe’s many different areas and has to work all together to bring a secure experience and one that’s also comfortable enough to play in.
For the Harden Vol. 4 – I feel like this is as supportive as it can get for such a light & compact shoe. Yes, there are shoes available with beefier support which usually means a heavier shell, more restrictions, things along those lines.
If you’re looking for just that for one reason or another, the guide I’ve mentioned also has my favorite shoes with the toughest support compiled as well.
But let’s get back to the Harden Vol. 4.
It has got an internal heel counter for heel lockdown, adidas’s usual in-your-face midfoot shank for strong torsional support, a traditional lacing system along with an additional midfoot piece with extra eyelets if you’d like to customize the lockdown fully to your liking. Reminds me of the
The shoe’s platform is also very wide and almost totally flat. Pair that with a very thin midsole & the outsole protruding acting as an outrigger and you got yourself a super stable package.
And of course, the fit is where it all starts and the shoe provides a very secure one if you get the size right. The upper poses no issues in terms of containment, so everything works beautifully.
How’s that for an unsupportive low top? Remember, foot support and ankle restriction are two different concepts people confuse. If you require the latter – ankle braces are your friend.
VII. THE BUILD
There are two main variations that the shoe comes in – some colorways come with a knit upper & synthetic leather overlays, while others come in a mesh variant & synthetic suede pieces as overlays. I’ve personally been playing in the knit variant.
There are Fuse overlays in the toecap and several other areas for more structure which is something you usually see on a knit shoe.
The real nitpick performance-wise is the midfoot band as mentioned earlier. That thing caused some pain but it went away after one solid week of playing.
Besides that, I liked the overall build. No real complaints performance-wise and I’ve also heard the mesh variant feels pretty much like this one, so you’re not doing yourself a disservice if you’re getting a colorway with a mesh upper.
The upper breaks in virtually right away since it’s a knit and it’s fairly breathable too – for people whose feet get really hot quickly, this shouldn’t cause even more issues.
This build is lightweight, it’s comfy, and moves super well with my foot without making me feel flimsy. A true “modern” performer done right in my book.
Something I’d like to mention is the shoe will look a little banged up after a while. It’s one of those uppers that have a lot of flex and give to it, as it’s just a knit, so it’ll move with your foot much more than something more structured would.
If you’re one of those people who absolutely need to have your sneakers looking fresh & hate when a shoe looks worn visually quickly – this might not be for you. But I’m only speaking aesthetically.
Longevity-wise, I’ve got an update after a whole year of playing time with the shoe. Well, not a pure year as I didn’t play in the Harden Vol. 4 exclusively and not on a daily basis since I’m always switching sneakers for reviews, updates, etc.
But it’s still been a good while after the shoe came out of the box.
Things are looking just fine though. Some of the knit portions (mainly in the forefoot and around the ankle) have some rips now and the overall silhouette is looking a little banged up.
My laces are not looking very solid either as some of the tips are wrecked. Not a huge issue though, will be replacing those soon.
But that’s about it – no real performance losses, the midsole is still
more or less intact in terms of compression, and I can play in the sneaker no problem. These won’t look pretty after a while but gone are the days of automatically excluding knit builds from the reliability conversation. VIII. OVERALL
Summarization: are they versatile? Who’s best suited for it? Is it a good deal for the $$$?
The adidas Harden Vol. 6 is a banger of a shoe, no other way to put it! I’ve got what I needed from it – and that’s comfort, security, and performance, all in a compact form factor.
The shoe doesn’t do anything incredibly spectacularly to make me jump out of my chair, nor does it innovate with all kinds of unseen marketing claims. But it does deliver in bringing an efficient experience on the court. All I ever need personally.
If you’re a fan of low tops – this one should put a smile on your face.