Adidas Harden B/E 2 Basketball Shoe Review

by Purposeful Footwear - Last Updated: March 6, 2019

Adidas has launched the second version of the Harden shoe, named for superstar James Harden. Harden has made quite a name for himself in the past few years as a player for the Houston Rockets of the NBA—from his well-known beard that has appeared on all types of clothing over the past few years, to being named reigning MVP for the 2017-2018 season.

Now to get to the real questions though—will these shoes make you play like Harden on the basketball court? Let’s take a deeper look at this Harden B/E 2 basketball shoe.

Image of the adidas Men's 2018 Harden B/E 2 Basketball Shoes, White/Power Red/White (8.5, White/Power Red/White)

Design

Adidas’ most recent technology in basketball shoes and James Harden’s iconic fashion sense come together in this shoe that is both fashion-forward and built to perform.

Appearance

These shoes by Adidas make a bold statement about fashion and teamwork. The traditional Adidas lines are on the side of the shoe. On the tongue, Harden’s label has been woven into the stitching. It is also on the outsole. These logos send a clear message about teamwork, encompassing James Harden’s “Brothers Over Everything.” Next to the logo, you will see four small dots—this is Harden’s throwback to his childhood friends.

Though you cannot really see it on the outsole unless you are looking for it, finding this emblem can help ensure the authenticity of shoes you are buying.

Color Options

This shoe is broken up into three parts for the color design. The Adidas stripes on the side and the inner lining of the shoe share the same color, while the outsole and overlay each have a distinct color as well. There are plenty of options available, so you can choose a color that is flashy or one that will coordinate well with your team jersey or typical wear, depending on how vibrant you want the shoes to be. Some of the colors that this shoe comes in include:

  • White/Collegiate Navy/Grey
  • White/Power Red/White
  • Black/Dark Grey/Grey Four
  • Yellow/Black/Yellow
  • Black/Red/Black
  • Cloud White/Silver Metallic/Grey One
  • Grey Three/Cloud White/Blue Tint
  • White/Collegiate Royal/Grey One

This is not an all-inclusive list, but the wide range of color options demonstrates how the fashion-forward line lets you coordinate with all your favorite clothes or represent your team wherever you go. If this low-top style of shoe doesn’t necessarily fit you, you can see the entire collection in this article by Chron.com.

Construction

The way that a shoe is built ultimately determines things like how durable it is and how well it will fit your foot during play. The B/E 2 features a low-cut style that provides just enough ankle support without feeling bulky on the court.

Image of the adidas Men's 2018 Harden B/E 2 Basketball Shoes, Black/Dark Grey/Grey Four (8, Black/Dark Grey/Grey Four)

Materials Used

Adidas has kept the formula for the materials of their shoes a trade secret, as it is a synthetic woven material designed to let the shoe provide an incredible fit. The circular knit is designed to be durable, without sacrificing breathability or flexibility. The outsole is also made of a synthetic material. It can only be assumed that Adidas has chosen synthetic materials to build a shoe that meets all the marks of a great basketball shoe, without sacrificing price or quality.

One of the great things about the materials used is that they have incredible durability. If you fall in love with this shoe, you can even include it as part as your usual wardrobe. The hard outer will stand up to tough surfaces like concrete and the shoe fits the average foot so comfortably that you may never want to take them off.

Fit

When you are running up and down the court, the last thing that you want to deal with is a basketball shoe that feels bulky or clunky. Instead, keep your moves sleek with these shoes that conform to your foot. The inner of the shoe is made with a ‘sock-like’ fit in mind, which lets the shoe hug your foot without applying too much pressure.

At the top of the shoe is a roomy toe box that lets your toes spread like they need to for excellent balance as you move across the court. The B/E 2 also runs true to size, so you don’t have to worry about tricky sizing if you decide to buy online.

The fit may be a little narrow for people with wide feet. However, once you break the shoe in, the stretch upper overlay may expand to hold even a wide foot.

Performance on the Court

If there is anything that makes James Harden stand out on the court, it is his quick, unpredictable steps that confuse defenders and leave him wide open to make a shot. Here’s a look at how the Harden B/E 2 Basketball Shoes will help you on the court.

The Upper

The upper of the shoe is made of a synthetic circular knit material that hugs your foot and secures the “lockdown,” which is a fancy way of saying that the shoe grips to the outside of your foot. A film overlay adds the support you need while on the court, without weighing the shoe down. It is also seamless, so the overlay does not look clunky or detract from the style of the shoe.

Another benefit of the material is that it is easy to clean. This, as well as the fashion of the shoe and its incredible durability, makes it a good shoe for daily wear and for playing basketball.

The Outsole

The synthetic outsole of the Adidas B/E 2 is unlike anything you have ever seen. Though the bottom is made of a hard material to make it durable. It is also flexible. This lets the entire shoe respond to the bends of your foot as you are running up and down the court. It also offers enough support to keep your foot comfortable and well protected as you play. A colorful shank runs through the outsole, so you can see where you are getting extra support. This is visible when you flip the shoe over because of strategically-placed cutouts.

Unlike most shoes that have deep tread, the actual tread marks on the shoe are minimal. However, do not let the appearance fool you. The grippyness of the shoe lets you slam on the brakes and pump the gas, giving you supreme control over the way that you move around the court. It also helps you pivot, as the shoe stays fast to the floor and your body flies forward in the direction you send your energy.

Inside the Shoe

Even though there is a roomy toe box that lets you spread your toes how you need to for the perfect stability and balance on the court, the fit of the shoe is snug and comfortable and your heel will not slip around inside the shoe. The B/E 2 has just enough cushioning to make the shoe comfortable. This means that even though the rest of your body might feel exhausted after time on the court, your feet won’t feel overly fatigued. The Flexible Bounce midsole cushioning also adds to this. The Flexible Bounce midsole is patented by Adidas to provide incredible responsiveness and energy return, without sacrificing the lightweight build of the shoe.

The shoe also offers limited arch support, but this is not always required in a sports shoe. If you do have an especially high instep, however, these shoes may not be the best option.

Overall Performance of the Shoe

One of the things that James Harden is known for on the court is his Euro step, which is a move that lets you shake off defenders and have a clear path to run up the court or make a shot. Basketball shoes like these offer the responsiveness that you need to make quick stops and starts on the court. This is critical when you are playing against other dedicated players that will do whatever it takes to stop you from making a basket. The shoes won’t give away your next move and the unpredictability will keep the other team guessing what you are going to do next.

Comparison: How the Harden B/E 2 Stands Up Against the NIKE Men’s Air Jordan XXXII Low-Style Basketball Shoe

What better way to see how Harden’s shoe stands up than to compare it to the low-style version of one of the most iconic basketball shoes around? Here’s how the B/E 2 compares to the Nike Men’s Air Jordan XXXII.

Though the original Nike basketball shoes were constructed of leather, a lot has changed since then. The Nike company has also updated their materials and there are a lot of similarities between these two shoes.

The Nike company also has a proprietary knit blend called Flyknit. Like the woven material on the upper of the Harden B/E 2, the material offers breathability, durability, and the lockdown that you need to ensure flexibility and responsiveness in the shoe. The outsole also has minimal tread, even though the grip holds fast to the floor and lets you pivot. Both shoes also feature an iconic style, each with their own emblems that can be found on the outsole and the upper.

Which is Best?

So, should you go with the Nike Air Jordans or the Adidas Harden B/E 2? Both shoes have their benefits and seem to be well constructed, so it is completely up to you. It is clear that the B/E 2 can at least stand its own against one of the most iconic basketball shoes of all time.

Pros

  • Variety of styles to show off your team spirit or match your regular wardrobe
  • The material of the upper conforms to your foot while an overlay provides stability
  • Incredible traction that lets you stop and go
  • Great shoe for on the court and for everyday wear
  • Flexible Bounce midsole provides responsiveness, comfortability, and great energy return

Cons

  • Logo on outsole is not easily visible
  • Might be too narrow for some people
  • Limited information on synthetic materials used to create shoe
  • Not enough arch support for some people

Final Take

If you want a shoe that moves when you move, the Harden B/E 2 Basketball Shoes by Adidas are worth the investment. The shoe hugs your foot and offers superior traction, letting you change direction quickly and start and stop all over the court. It may not be a good choice for people who require a lot of arch support who have especially wide feet, but for the average basketball player that wants to take their moves to a professional level, these shoes deliver everywhere they need to. From style to comfort to superior performance on the court, these shoes offer high-quality performance at a fair price.

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