History of All James Harden Shoes
What comes to mind when you think of James Harden? His beard? Or his signature shoe line with adidas?
Either way, both are undoubtedly iconic and have evolved over his career. But let’s focus on his shoes. Here’s a brief look at the history of the James Harden shoe line.
The Nike Era
James Harden’s career began with Nike. Even in high school, he was rocking Nike’s Lebron IV. And then, in college, he wore iconic shoes like the Nike Zoom BB II and the Nike Hyperdunk. So it made sense when he officially signed a Nike endorsement agreement in 2009.
Throughout the early years of his NBA career, Harden sported several Nike sneakers, from the Nike KD 2 to the Nike HyperRev 2015.
However, his long-term relationship with Nike was not meant to last.
The Transition to adidas
By 2015, Harden had already earned All-Star status. And All-Stars rarely change sneaker brands. So when adidas came to Harden with a 13-year, $200 million endorsement deal, it turned heads.
Harden’s contract with Nike stipulated that the company could match any other endorsement deals, but they refused to match adidas’ offer. That left the decision to Harden, and he eagerly agreed to join adidas.
Rumor has it that Harden was not thrilled with his relationship with Nike since he had not yet been offered a signature line, despite his MVP status. Nike doesn’t offer a signature shoe line to many players, and they chose Kyrie Irving over Harden in 2014.
So, of course, a $200 million deal at adidas was appealing for Harden, and the new team wasted no time creating a new line of now-iconic sneakers.
Harden Vol. 1
Adidas released the Harden Vol. 1 — James Harden’s first signature shoe — in 2016. It was designed to perfectly match Harden’s unique movements on the court, with a unique traction pattern and a Boost midsole for ultimate cushioning.
The shoes are even designed with a leather toe box because Harden struggled with bruised toes on the court from other people stepping on his feet. Plus, the lacing is on the shoe’s lateral side to help relieve tension. Overall, this was a shoe designed for people like Harden.
However, while the consensus was that the Harden Vol. 1 was a superb signature shoe, some people were not fans of the triple black colorway.
Harden Vol. 2
The Harden Vol. 2 came out in 2018 with a thicker Boost midsole and a mesh upper. In many ways, it was similar to the Vol. 1 shoe. For example, the comfort and protection were all there.
However, the excellent traction that set Vol. 1 apart as a game-changer was lacking in the Vol. 2 shoe.
Harden Vol. 3
Adidas also released the Harden Vol. 3 in 2018, and it’s a strong performer, just like the Vol. 1 shoe. The traction on this shoe looks quite a bit different from the first two shoes since the grooves are placed in a tight herringbone pattern. But it still gets the job done.
The shoe materials include knit fabric, a change from the previous two shoes. But the fit and comfort are still spot-on.
The colorways are a bit “quiet,” with an all-red option or a black and gray shoe. However, adidas later released a “Different Breed” colorway for the Vol. 3, which had loud, bold prints like zebra stripes and neon accents.
Harden Vol. 4
The Harden Vol. 4 was the first shoe in the line not to have the Boost cushioning. Instead, this 2019 shoe has a super lightweight midsole called Lightstrike.
Adidas also debuted a whole new traction system for the Vol. 4 shoe. Instead of the unique pattern of Vol. 1 or the herringbone style of Vol. 3, adidas took a new approach — and it worked. The traction pattern looks like three puddles on the sole, and they are incredibly adhesive.
The colorways are also very representative of Harden’s unique style: bold, fun, and unique.
Harden Vol. 5
In 2021, adidas debuted the Harden Vol. 5, along with its Futurenatural technology. The Futurenatural midsole combines Boost’s comfort with the lightweight Lightstrike’s responsiveness.
While the Futurenatural midsole was highly anticipated, the Harden Vol. 5 didn’t meet expectations. It’s a fairly stiff shoe. And the traction was a selling point on the Harden shoes up until this point, but it fell far below standard.
That said, the colorway is fun, with color splotches on a white background.
Harden Vol. 6
Adidas came back with a bang in 2022 with the Harden Vol. 6. The Boost midsole came back for superior comfort, and the traction is back up to par with the herringbone pattern yet again. As an added bonus, adidas incorporated recycled materials into the shoe to lower its environmental impact.
The colorways are also quite fun, with mustard yellow, bright pink, and green oxide options.
Harden Vol. 7
The Harden Vol. 7, released in 2023, has continued the top-tier performance expected from adidas. The shoe offers superior traction with a combination of herringbone and circular patterns. Plus, the cushioning is reminiscent of the earlier Harden shoes — or perhaps even better.
Adidas put the Boost midsole in the heel and the Lightstrike foam in the mid and forefoot of the sole. Instead of the Futurenatural technology, this shoe truly offers the best of both worlds.
Try a Pair of James Harden Basketball Shoes for Yourself
James Harden and adidas definitely made history with their line of Harden basketball shoes. The traction and supportive midsole are something you need to experience for yourself, so grab a pair of the Harden Vol. 6 or Harden Vol. 7 shoes available at Finish Line today.