You know it’s never a good sign when I put an Arianna Grande video in a review

Before you read this review, go to your car and check out your seat belt. Is there any flex to it? Nope, zero, zilch, nada. How about your shoe laces ? Zero to very little right ? You don’t want your foot moving forward up or down because your laces are basically your seat belt. So why on earth would you make a laceless shoe out of a stretchy material ? Harry and Lloyd strike again.

Pros: traction when clean or wiped, comfortable fit, cushioning, stability

Cons: stretchy design in the wrong places leads to heel slip, very average containment

Sizing advice: true to size to half a size down

Best for: any position

Buying advice: limited buy it now ! Nope, these are sitting because Adidas did a general release finally. Don’t fall for limited release hype. Use an Adidas 15% coupon if you really want them.

Weight

As light as the Curry 6! Probably one of the lightest Adidas sneakers I’ve weighed in awhile. I guess Boost really is heavier than other foams.

Traction

Traction is great when clean and fully broken in but still needs wiping on dusty floors. I got a pair of Hardens with the solid outsole and I found the Hardens to work better with less break in time than the N3XT.

left: N3XT right: V3 I don’t think the lateral herringbone should be that far back since most of the pressure on lateral stops is in the forefoot

The first few outings will be slick on dusty floors but after that break in it gets to around Clutchfit Drive level which is acceptable but there are better patterns out there.

Cushioning

Lightstrike foam is the highlight of the shoe and is very comfortable right out of the box. Low to the ground yet springy. If Micro G and Lunarlon had a baby this is what you’d get. I don’t think it has the meatiness or feel of Boost but it feels great underfoot.

adidas used its (no apostrophe) standard insole and a foam strobel so you can really compress that foam.

I would take this EASILY over HOVR. Would I take it over Zoom, Boost, Bounce, React etc? I don’t think I’d take this over Boost or Zoom but it’s better feeling or on par with everything else. Long term durability probably isn’t as good as Boost but with sneaker life cycles shortening to months, does it really matter? I guess for $180 retail it does.

Well Done adidas !

Fit

I went true to size and had a little more than a finger width left. Like most Adidas I could have gone half a size down if I wanted to. These fit like a sock with a sole with no deadspace at all and are just as stretchy which is a good thing comfort wise but a bad thing if you actually move with some speed.

Look how much stretch I get with my hands. Now imagine a foot or ankle with weight, speed and power behind it. Stretchy system ends at the forefoot or where the banking barrier ends.

Adidas’ lacelss system is basically an internal system composed of a “stronger less stretchy than Primeknit” harness. I think it does a good job pulling the foot down but not down and back like any good fitting shoe should. If there was no stretch with the laceless system you probably couldn’t get your foot in. Using a non stretch strap system like the Soldier XII or even the AJ33 strap would have fixed this issue but then it would have “ruined” the look and concept. Unlike seatbelts, this is fashion over function.

Some players won’t experience heel slip because 1) they aren’t explosive 2) they don’t dorsiflex much so their knees barely go over their toes when they move or run (see #1) 3) they have bigger calves, ankles or feet that may fit these perfectly

Heel slip was horrible the first few hours in these as I could feel my heel moving up an down a lot even though the shoe is flexible and cut super high. Over time, heel slip improved with wear but never really went away due to the stretch of the laceless system. Think CLB16.

Overall, fit feels great stationary but during play, not so much.

Materials

Adidas calls this Primeknit Textile..is that like Jcrew Mercantile? A dumbed down version of the real thing? It looks different than previous PK uppers to me. If you know me at all I don’t care. It’s comfortable, it’s Primeknitish and it’s stretchy. Maybe if I wore Primeknit pants for Thanksgiving I could say there was a performance benefit. Hmmm maybe there’s some real need for Primeknit after all!

Supports and stability

The white heel tab almost gets dirty just by looking at it. 🎱 tables are green and not white for a reason.

The cut of the N3xt might be high but so are over the calf socks. Thus support depends on the fit and the average flexibility heel counter which is fine

Might as well have made this a low

Midfoot support is good enough and probably has a shank similar to the Harden V3 (sorry my 3D goggles aren’t working).

Stability is very nice with a low to ground cushioning set up and a nice wide outsole like most of Adidas basketball shoes these days.

No issues with support and stability!

Containment

The big, overt, in your face lateral containment unit is made of a soft foam. Containment isn’t horrible since the stretchy material that acts as laces is pretty tight and sturdy over the midfoot and the forefoot area is not stretchy so it does a pretty good job keeping your foot back in place. However there are definitely shoes that do a better job.

Raising the midsole with TPU like Adidas has done consistently for a few years would have worked better but it’s good enough I guess. They probably could have made the banking barrier less overt but that’s art I guess ? FWIW, making something weird looking for the sake of weirdness is not art.

Conclusion

When you run out of ideas on how to actually improve a shoe, you turn to lacelss innovation . See Jordan brand, Nike, adidas, and now Puma.

If you read my 2018 Review, I put the N3xt on my list of most comfortable because it really is comfortable. It has a nice sock like feel with a nice cushioning set up which will sell almost anyone on the shoe. But during play the stretch of the laceless system just doesn’t work like it should or could. Some of you may say but XXX NBA player wears these just fine. The fact is heel slip isn’t going to kill anyone and you can play with it just fine but since I am trying to find the best apple, that heel slip puts a big ding on the scorecard ..not to mention there are better traction performers as well as containment.

Did I mention these retail for more than the AJ 33, Harden, Marquee, Tmac and Protro ? The initial teaser launch in 2018 sold out quickly but that’s what happens when you limit quantity and the Hypebeasts jump in. These have been sitting since they released in January and will probably continue to do so since they retail at $180. I cannot recommend these over any of the aforementioned shoes or even anything in my top 15-20 from 2018 even if the prices were equal because the N3XT just doesn’t cover all the bases for me. If you want comfort and want that Han Solo look on court, go for it but in the mean time Adidas, thank you, next. XOXO Ariana

Third team rating

6 Comment on “Adidas N3XT L3V3L Performance Analysis and Review

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