Ever since the classic Dame 3, I feel like the Dame line could’ve peaked in its performance offerings and also in terms of innovation. However, the previous model was a ton of fun to hoop in so here’s to my in-depth Dame 8 review, solely based outdoors & tested by a wide footer. Let’s see if things are heading to where they once were.
Despite a familiar design every year, I’m always excited to see what tweaks adidas makes in the performance aspect. Here’s all about the Dame 8’s fit & comfort, outdoor performance, build quality, versatility, and value for the $$$ you’re paying.
I. SPEC SHEET
II. 1-MIN REVIEW
Looking for the speedy Dame 8 review? the adidas Dame 8 brought back some really damn good memories. It’s a shoe that just seemed to work perfectly for me.
It offers a secure fit but narrow footers should watch out since the toebox is pretty roomy, despite stepping a 1/2 size down.
Traction started taking care of business after a few hours of breaking it in. It’s also solid for outdoors since the rubber is fairly strong.
The dual-density Bounce Pro cushioning caught me off guard. I really didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. It’s the definition of versatility.
Support & security wasn’t an issue either, much like most of adidas’s performance footwear. The platform is wide and near-flat which promoted stability.
The mesh upper was the one thing that didn’t really surprise me but not in a bad way. It’s in line with most of the stuff we’re getting in today’s era.
For $120 – I couldn’t ask for a better shoe honestly. The only caveat I’ve seen is that people report on mediocre traction if lots of dust/debris is present. I haven’t personally experienced this outdoors.
III. FIT & COMFORT
True to size or should you adjust? What’s the comfort level? Anything else to know fit-wise?
Here we go again. The elephant in the room when it comes to adidas hoop shoes is almost always the sizing. The Dame 8 should run long for most people. And I’m not talkin’ just half an inch long.
I had the chance to try these out in my local sports retailer before grabbing them online and stepping into my usual size 10 US (44 EU) meant a no-go right away.
And this is coming from a prominent wide footer. Too much volume. A half-size-down should be the primary option for most wearers, even if you think you got a wide foot.
The shoe clearly has a wider toebox than the previous few Dame models had, so even stepping a half size down shouldn’t cause major suffocation/tightness issues for wider feet. It didn’t for me.
These are pretty much perfect for me personally: they’re very snug but not to a point where I’d feel discomfort and I didn’t even need that long to stretch the upper out.
Everything’s secure, there’s no heel slippage or foot movement inside the footbed. Just solid all-around.
However, this also means that if you’ve got a more average-shaped foot or a more narrow one, the Dame 8’s forefoot will leave you with some room width-wise and height-wise. Not as much as if you’d go TTS but you’ll still notice it.
This is why I wouldn’t recommend the sneaker to those who swear by a snug, one-to-one fit and don’t want any extra space that might compromise containment or get in the way of their game.
Shoving an aftermarket insole will help make the fit more compact, and so will having a thicker pair of socks on.
Still, I’d advise sticking with the Dame 7 or grabbing something else entirely if you prefer a second-skin type of fit for your performance shoes.
I said this in my Kyrie Infinity review and it seems that I’m at least partially right so far. Manufacturers are starting to put some more emphasis on the comfort aspect.
Not performance, not how light it feels (those are typical by now) but how comfy and cozy the experience is for the foot while you’re moving around. The Dame 8 is another shoe that resembles this and I LOVE that.
The previous release wasn’t terrible in the comfort aspect or anything like that but this one went that extra mile by slapping on some extra little details. I really do appreciate stuff like this.
There’s more internal foam padding all throughout areas where the foot sits next to the material, the massive tongue is thin on the outside but it’s actually very softly padded on the inside (where it matters).
And the icing on the cake is that nice achilles pillow sleeve (or however it’s called) that cups the sides of the achilles for that extra confidence and coziness around the most critical part of the foot.
And not to mention the shoe actually feels a bit lighter than its predecessor. Adidas has never been known for ultra-lightweight performance sneakers but this one’s getting closer to that.
It’s still not the lightest shoe out there but it’s enough for me not to think about it and stay nimble at all times. Awesome stuff here – you gotta love the extra things that were put in the shoe.
While they don’t ultimately decide on the shoe’s worthiness, it adds to the experience. Especially for someone who tried dozens upon dozens of models throughout the years.
Does it BITE? How’s the grip on a variety of surfaces? How sensitive & durable are the outsoles?
It almost seems like every new Dame release takes me back to the park. Each Dame shoe I’ve played in was mainly exhausted in an outdoor environment for one reason or another. The 8th iteration continues the tradition.
I hooped on a rubberized surface primarily and maybe a couple of weeks on traditional asphalt. During the 3 months of action, I really don’t have anything bad to say about the traction.
The shoe features a custom lightning bolt-looking pattern outside the green portion and inside it, a classic wave pattern is there to cover multi-directional movements.
I love that adidas took a page out of a Kyrie shoe and slapped on extra some extra rubber that comes up to the midsole laterally and medially.
If you find yourself planting your foot in an untraditional angle or you’re a very shifty, mobility-focused player: you’ll find this addition very much welcome.
I saw a few reviews reporting that the traction was iffy on dirtier indoor courts and needed a ton of frequent wiping to maintain it. Well, playing on an abrasive outdoor surface right away pretty much solved that for me.
It took a few hours of playtime to break in the outsoles as I wasn’t getting that sharp, aggressive bite initially. It’ll take a bit longer to get the desired result indoors for those that are wondering.
Rubber usually needs some heat and friction in order for it to start moving better and cover more ground (a.ka. playing time). The more abrasion you throw at it in the process, the faster you’ll start receiving good bite.
All in all, things are solid: I’m getting consistent grip no matter the movement, and I barely need to wipe the outsoles down as there’s enough friction to handle things.
Does the Dame 8 have the best all-around traction in the series? Not really. I’d still hand out the medals for the Dame 3 and 5 but anything that even comes close to those shoes is absolutely sufficient in my book.
Gone are the days when basketball shoes were made with outdoor play heavily in mind. Remember when Adidas was using Continental Rubber on most of their models?
That stuff definitely upped the weight but it simply refused to break down.
While we don’t quite see things on such a level anymore, adidas still uses some of the more durable outsoles on their hoop shoes today.
The Dame 8 should definitely get you through multiple seasons of outdoor hoops. I’ve been playing pretty consistently in these and there are no signs of decreased performance yet.
The areas of high usage (like the balls of the feet and lateral sides) have thinned out more than the rest of the pattern but I don’t see that as a big problem.
I played in plenty of kicks where the pattern might be pretty banged up visually but most outdoor courts are still able to handle the load provided that the rubber used on the shoe is strong enough.
Once again, I don’t think anything will beat the Dame 3 in terms of outdoor durability in the Dame line but if we’re talkin’ current choices – the 8th shoe should handle business for quite a while.
All about the midsole: impact protection, responsiveness, underfoot feedback, ride height, and stability
A dual-density Bounce Pro midsole goes from heel to toe for the Dame 8’s cushioning.
The heel portion is much higher density, which makes it compress more and the rebound effect is more substantial. The forefoot utilizes a firmer compound with less density: it’s lower to the ground, more responsive, and provides less feedback.
There’s also an additional foam barrier that goes over and around the shoe’s midsole, likely for stability. I felt that my foot gets nicely cradled within that barrier which makes the ride feel more secure and stable.
I’ll tell you what – this is likely the most cushion EVER on a Dame sneaker. The Dame 7‘s Lightstrike midsole also had quite a bit of cushion at the heel but seemed almost dead at the forefoot.
Here, I felt that things were much smoother and better balanced AND there’s even more cushion now. The forefoot still doesn’t give me too much pop underfoot but that’s for stability purposes – I’m totally okay with that.
Despite having a ton of cushion (especially at the heel) – this setup just felt more fine-tuned. I never found myself overly sluggish or sinking into the midsole on every stride.
The best way to describe it is that the ride felt softer and plusher but the rebound effect of the foam felt quicker than it did with the Dame 7.
This means that responsiveness isn’t sacrificed as much and we get to keep the fun factor.
Of course, I can name a bunch of shoes that do feel quicker to take off (Kyrie 7, Curry 9) but those are usually focused on a few specific attributes. I feel like this is something that’s catered towards just about anyone.
Court feel did kind of take a back seat for this one though. Fans of those ultra-minimal Kyrie or Curry shoes that are slapped right next to the ground could find these a little unnatural.
The Dame 5 is still probably my favorite cushion setup out of the Dame line for my personal preference. Those were a bit lower to the ground while offering good cushion.
But don’t get it twisted – this one comes pretty damn close. It’s a beastly setup.
How supportive is the Dame 8? What about stability? Any restrictions as a result?
I’m sure some of you are expecting this from the Three Stripes by now but support was never in question during my time with the Dame 8.
adidas always kills it in this aspect, so I’ll keep it short with this one.
The shoe has all the critical components that make up a secure experience: internal heel counters for ankle & heel lockdown, rugged midfoot shank plates for torsional rigidity, foam sidewalls for added containment, and a wide forefoot base for lateral stability.
There aren’t any prominent outriggers to catch lateral motions but I never felt I missed them.
The front portion of the shoe is so wide that it covers a lot of ground and ensures the chances of rolling my foot outward are very slim. I’d have to forcefully try to push the shoe laterally to be able to do so which is a great sign.
The base of the whole sneaker is almost flat as well. Pair that with fantastic cushion and good torsional coverage, and the Dame 8 quietly creeps into the list of the best options for a flat arch.
Overall, no apparent restrictions were present here, I was feeling both mobile and secure. Things might feel a tad bit bulkier for those who won’t manage to fully fill the shoe out with their feet.
So, narrow footers should probably steer away from these.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the upper materials and how’s the build quality? What about performance and longevity?
The Dame 8 has a bunch of synthetic mesh materials combined throughout the build along with a few Fuse overlays for added strength.
The forefoot utilizes a thicker, more structured mesh while things are a bit thinner at the midfoot & heel. You’ll find the Fuse overlays on the toebox, around the lacing system, and on the midfoot where the adidas logo resides.
There’s also a textile panel at the back which is where you’ll find the “Dame” writing.
The adidas Dame 8 takes advantage of traditional construction, meaning there’s a separate tongue sewed to the upper. These are quite easy to put on.
Say what you want about modern materials we usually find on today’s performance sneakers but there’s no denying they excel in performance.
This mesh is definitely not among the thinnest you’ll find on the market but the shoe still manages to feel somewhat lightweight or at least balanced enough for me not to think about it.
A bit more volume of material also means these won’t break down as quickly and despite its flexible nature, this type of thicker mesh will hold even a heavier guy’s foot on the footbed.
It took me about 3-4 days to stretch out the upper ’till my foot felt optimal in there. Definitely a huge advantage vs. the hardcore leathers and suedes that can take ages to break in.
Ventilation is another plus among these types of materials. While not quite among the most breathable sneakers I’ve played in, it was enough for my feet not to get hot quickly.
Keep in mind that I’m hooping in the sun and temperatures can reach 90°F/32°C+ in the summer.
I don’t really have any complaints performance-wise. Everything’s pretty much as expected from such material choices: they’re mobile, comfortable, move well with the foot, and don’t take long to break in.
Let’s be real. Three months isn’t that long of a time period to comprehensively judge a shoe’s long-term durability. However, sometimes it can be enough to notice signs that indicate a breakdown is coming soon.
That wasn’t the case with the Dame 8. There’s barely any cosmetic damage besides a few small rips on the toebox due to toe-drags, and a banged-up pull tab that I use to put the shoe on quicker.
One last thing. The laces. They’re good. Finally. And I mean FINALLY.
If you had experience with a few adidas hoop shoes in recent years – you know what I mean. adidas uses some of the cheapest laces available and tons of shoes were getting undone minutes after re-lacing them. Minutes.
I’m relieved to say this wasn’t the case for me with the 8th Dame. Wheeew.
Concluding the Dame 8 review: final thoughts and a recap
You know, right when I ordered the shoe, I didn’t think too much of it. I kind of already had the idea to start off this review by asking the question “Is it finally the shoe that puts an adidas product right on top as it did back in 2015-2017?”
Honestly, I really did think the answer would be no. Have low expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s exactly what happened here.
Even if I had higher expectations, I’m sure I still would’ve been impressed.
The adidas Dame 8 is a fantastic well-rounded basketball shoe that reminded me of the classic Dame 3 & 5 but also modernized some things which made up a killer of a performer.
I’m not even going to address the $5 price increase since this is a brilliant shoe and Dame’s line has stayed at the $110-$115 mark for years now. Well, I guess I addressed it now but you get the point.