James Harden is currently at the peak of his game. Coming off a season that saw the Houston Rockets one win away from the NBA Finals and him capturing league MVP honors for the first time, an incredible amount of focus was put into his third signature model with the Three Stripes—the Harden Vol. 3.
"For this model, we really wanted to continue to evolve James' footwear forward," Adidas Senior Footwear Director Rashad Williams told Sole Collector. "That led us to look at his style of play and his three main moves. We narrowed it down to the stepback, the Euro step, and his crossover that allows him to get to the bucket."
From a tech perspective, the Vol. 3 keeps it simple with a more streamlined design, traditional herringbone traction pattern on the outsole, and Boost cushioning in the midsole—a feature that has remained a constant throughout The Beard's first three signature silhouettes. For additional lockdown, an elastic band has also been added across the forefoot. All of these features aid Harden's methodical playing style and help him stop-and-go with ease.
"The whole 'Slow Down Fast' concept came about when we were looking at his performance data. It seems kind of weird, but James will tell you he's not the biggest, fastest, or strongest. But his ability to slow down actually makes him one of the fastest players in the NBA and hardest to guard," said Williams.
Adidas is debuting the Harden Vol. 3 with two space-themed colorways—the "Voyager" and "Cosmos" editions. The "Voyager" takes on a silver and grey color scheme, while the "Cosmos" opts for a black and white makeup. Williams looked at the city Harden plays in, Houston, as a main source of inspiration for the design and overall storytelling of this year's model.
"We naturally took to the theme of NASA. Him being in Houston and NASA being there too, it correlated it to his game with his ability to create space," he said. "We wanted to get closer to the ground, give it a more linear shape, and make things look faster—like a rocket."
Common details across the Vol. 3 include Harden's personal logo on the tongue, Adidas Performance logo on the heel, Three Stripes on the lateral side, large Roman numeral '13' on the medial side, his signature on the forefoot band, and 'Lucky' written inside tongue as an homage to the nickname given to him by his mother when he was younger.
Thanks to the NBA's new footwear policy, fans can also look forward to Harden rocking some more vibrant pairs on court this season.
"You probably first saw that when he made the move on Wesley Johnson last year. He had on one of his first bright, vibrant colorways of the Vol. 2. That stood out on court," said Williams. "We are going to repeat that this season and give him some energetic colors, as well as some custom opportunities to let him express himself and show people who he is."
The Adidas Harden Vol. 3 will be available at adidas.com and other select retailers starting on Oct. 12 with the release of the "Voyager" ($140) colorway. That will be followed up by the "Cosmos" ($160) release on Oct. 15.