Pros: traction post break on clean floors and certain conditions, cushioning, fit, stability, containment, durable and holds its shape, feels like a more expensive shoe than its retail price indicates
Cons: traction needs hours of break in to improve, needs moisture and or wiping on less than pristine floors, doesn’t bite as well as the mid top to top tier regardless of surface
Sizing: true to size for wide footers, regular and narrow footers can stay true to size or go down half a size based on preference
Best for: any position
Buying Advice: wait as always. Retail is $115 but it’s always 15% off on Adidas. $90 price range is already in reach on Eastbay. $65-$55 range again with the very bottom around $30-45.
14 ounces is about average weight for a low and still two ounces lighter than the CLB16.
The Dame 4 uses a traction pattern inspired by the passage of time. Cool story, next
The rubber compound itself is soft, very similar to the rubber on the CLB16 and Explosive Bounce but the “passages” of time are thick and require break in to start flexing correctly. The first few runs with the Dame 4 were not good as the rear 2/3 of the the shoe would just give out even on clean floors. With runs and more wear the compound softened up and went from below average to decent to pretty good depending on the court conditions. Speaking of passage of time that’s why it took so long for this review.
Here’s a short vid I made.
Dame 4 traction semi dusty floor
After break in, traction is great on clean and lightly dusty floors or when the humidity is high (shout out to 24 hour fitness for never turning the AC on when it’s a 89 degrees outside). But when there is loose dirt, not the ground in dirt you see at 24, you don’t get the bite and need to wipe because the passages don’t flex much to brush dirt away so it just sticks on the shoe. Pretty much the opposite pattern of the Rose 7.
Overall, this is the weakest link on the Dame 4. It isn’t bad post break in but definitely isn’t middle top to top tier either. Comparatively speaking, the Dame 4 places last out of Dame’s signature line, even behind the Lillard 2. Sure the 2 needed wiping on dusty floors but it had some great bite when clean and needed less wiping than the 4 overall on dusty floors.
Swap out this passage of #lametime pattern with the Rose 7 and you’d have a pretty flawless shoe.
Full length Bounce is back again and I have zero complaints. There is less heel to toe drop than the Dame 3 and it feels lower to ground than the previous models. It isn’t as plush and soft as the 2 or even 3 but it a better blend of responsiveness and impact protection. Part of the reason for the change in feel is the actual volume of Bounce but Adidas also changed the strobel from foam on the 3 back to fiberboard
If you want a little more step in comfort just swap out the insole. The Lillard 2 had the thickest insole of the three by far which aided in that plush feel. If you want more actual impact protection stick to the more voluminous Lillard 2 or Explosive Bounce or get something with Boost. I feel like Adidas and Dame have firmed up the cushioning slightly the past two years which I personally like. If you like it softer, buy something else.
I covered this in the first look but the Dame 4 has a more rounded and generous toe box than it’s predecessor so I suggested going down half a size. I have a finger width with a 10.5 and a thumbs width with a size 11. Width wise, the 10.5 works fine for my wide feet but I still prefer the width of the 11. Ultimately after weeks of play, the size 11 was the right choice for me because it fits my wide feet perfectly. Regular and narrow footers can go either way depending on preference due to the extra length.
Frack, these are just great out of the box. No heel slip, no lace pressure, no deadspace and no side to side movement even in my true size (and of course half size down). I was a bit worried from the pics but those worries were laid to rest quickly. Unlike the CLB16, there are seven rows of laces which helps a lot with lockdown. Additionally, the neoprene ankle collar hugs the ankle comfortably while the interior is padded correctly and well enough to prevent heel slippage.
This might be the most luxurious looking and feeling mesh I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t feel paper thin like a screen window door and has good strength to it thanks to the fishing line and reinforced mesh. I’d say this about four pound test line that you’d use for small panfish so it isn’t as thick as the Kobe XI fishing line.
Overall, materials aren’t high end in name, but feel and look premiumish.
Support and Stability
The Dame 4 might look like a mid but the ankle collar is just sock so it won’t be saving any ankles. The support comes from the fit and firm internal heel counter.
Even though it shares a similar midsole design to the Explosive Bounce, midfoot support is good and doesn’t fold like a wallet while not being overdone like the Dame 3.
Stability is excellent thanks to a very wide outsole and firmer, lower cushioning. I feel like my foot was sitting in a nice wide life raft so I didn’t feel any instability at all.
Great job Adidas!
I’ve always harped about lack of containment in modern shoes but Adidas listened (to Dame, not me) and the Dame 4 left nothing to chance.
My foot sits at the crease along the entire lateral side. No movement at all on hard cuts or changes of direction.
Well done Adidas!
I really really really enjoy playing in this shoe but only on clean courts and slightly dusty floors only.. or when it’s humid…or when it’s just pick up and I just want the exercise. But the fact that I would even consider playing in these despite the meh traction speaks volumes about how fun this shoe is overall. The Dame 4 is much more comfortable and fluid than the Dame 3 and doesn’t feature a useless lacing system (I told you in the Dame 3 review it would be gone).
Should you go out and buy the Dame 4 now? Absolutely not despite the “low retail” price. Eastbay already has them coupon eligible and they aren’t moving plus they are literally everywhere. Wait a month or two and you’ll see price cuts where you can stack with coupons for some serious bang for the buck.
Will these make my rotation?
Hard to say for sure but probably not because the traction depends so much on the court conditions. The Dame 4 is great and fun but isn’t trust worthy on every surface, so not really marriage material. I know exactly what I’ll get with my rotation and the Dame 4 traction requires certain conditions to be effective. If know the court is pristine I won’t hesitate to wear them but in less than ideal or humid conditions I’ll reach for another pair.