Our verdict


On its own merit, Adidas Harden Stepback 2 is a good basketball shoe. It performs well grip on different types of floors, including those outdoors. It also feels premium. What makes it even more attractive is the common observation that it is a much better shoe than the flagship Harden Vol 5. It's not every day that a cheaper alternative turns out to be the better performer!


  • Consistent bite
  • Pronounced court feel
  • Premium-feeling upper materials
  • Secure lockdown
  • Guaranteed durability
  • Great for outdoor use
  • Cool design


  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Narrow

Who should buy the Adidas Harden Stepback 2

The Adidas Harden Stepback 2 is going to be appreciated by the following:

  • buyers who are on a budget but still want signature shoes
  • guards who love a lot of court feel
  • wearers who have narrow to normal-sized feet
  • athletes who usually play outdoors

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 buy

Who should NOT buy this shoe from Adidas

Wide-footers are going to have problems with the Adidas Harden Stepback 2. They should just get the Adidas D.O.N. Issue #2. If willing to explore other brands, the Nike Cosmic Unity is a good start.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 not buy

Bigger players who need impact protection are not going to be happy with this Harden shoe, either. The Pro Model 2G is a better pick for them. 

As long as the court is clean, the Stepback 2 will grip well 

The Stepback 2 is basically the Harden Vol 5 done right. Both use the same tread pattern, but the former grips the floor far more consistently.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 traction

However, there might be a need to regularly wipe the dust off the sole of the Stepback 2 to maintain good traction.

Court feel, check! Impact protection... uhmmm... not so much

The midsole tooling is firm, so players get to feel the floor or ground more.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2

There is not much compression in the midsole, so it fails to provide sufficient impact protection.

The Stepback 2 feels premium...but also a bit hot

The Stepback 2 is among the cheaper hoop shoes, but it surely does not feel that way as the upper materials are soft and nice. There are players who report that this one actually feels premium on feet.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 materials 2

Though the padding in the upper adds comfort, it also restricts air flow so the shoe becomes really hot. 

This basketball shoe is supportive

The heel is held in place by an external counter, and the shoe's close-to-the-skin fit help contain the foot even without an outrigger.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 support

Wide-footers, however, should go at least half a size up if they don't want their feet to feel like they're being choked.

Playing outdoors? No problem with the Adidas Harden Stepback 2

With reasonable care, the Stepback 2 can last long even when used outdoors. The materials, especially the rubber outsole, were found to be sturdy enough to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 outdoors

Want something pretty? This shoe is for you

Style-conscious wearers will love the streamlined construction and usually vibrant colors of this basketball sneaker. It's not surprising that this shoe looks vibrant and nice. James Harden, after all, is one of the NBA's most fashionable stars.

Adidas Harden Stepback 2 harden stepback 2 aesthetics