NBA Star James Harden on ‘Creativity’ and Designing the Harden Vol. 4 With Adidas

James Harden / Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas


When NBA superstar James Harden steps on the court this season for the Houston Rockets, he’s going to have some new style on his feet. Adidas and Harden have collaborated on the new Harden Vol. 4 basketball sneaker, creating a new collection that is inspired by Harden’s “creative freedom” he shows on the court.

Over the last few years, Harden has developed into one of the best scorers in the NBA, using unique shoots and spacing—including his now-signature step-back jumper—to turn the Rockets into a title contender. Harden, who won the 2017-18 NBA MVP award, wanted to create a shoe that reflected his ability to create shots on the court with his off-court style and sensibility.

“The process to create the Vol. 4 was a true collaboration with the adidas design team that allowed me to voice my creativity and to blend different ideas into one shoe that would showcase both my style of play on the court and my sense of style walking out of the tunnel,” Harden said about creating the sneakers with Adidas.

James Harden / Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas

Part of the new design for the Vol. 4 is the use of Adidas’s LIGHTSTRIKE technology, which was used on a Harden shoe for the first time. The midsole helped make it the shoe the lightest version of a Harden sneaker, and is similar in design to the Boost series. The lighter design was something Harden focused on after playing in the Vol. 3 through last season. Harden kept that same mindset for this new shoe.

“There’s an authenticity to it, because I don’t know how many guys out there are involved in every process of their shoe line,” Harden said about his previous collaboration on the Vol. 3. “Some guys will just have it presented to them and then slap their name on it, but for me, I wanted to put work into this and help design it. Everything from the materials used, to the way it looks, to the colorways, trading business emails, doing conference calls, to meeting with the Adidas team. It feels good to see the finished product after all that.”

Harden’s longtime trainer, Greg Howell, who has known and worked with Harden since he was in high school, told Men’s Journal last year that Harden has been looking stronger and more comfortable than ever on the court. Howell credited that to Harden’s drive to train all offseason and also gave credit to the Harden sneakers for giving him a spring in his step.

“Training and doing work is a lifestyle for James,” Howell said. “He really is a creator in every space he’s in. His mind thinks differently and I think him being left-handed helps his creativeness on the court, and his unorthodox way of doing everything. It’s his own creative way, from the step-backs to the small twitches and angles he uses in all his moves. [With the shoes], You can feel you’re locked in, and they’re comfortable, but not restrictive. It helps you start and stop on a dime, which is what James needs to play at his best.”

The first set of the Harden Vol. 4 collection includes four colorways, including the Barbershop, Pink Lemonade, Candy Paint, and Cookies & Cream designs. The Barbershop colorway will be available on October 12, followed with Pink Lemonade available on October 26, Candy Paint on October 31, and Cookies & Cream on November 15. All the shoes will be $130 at adidas.com and select retailers, with additional colorways becoming available throughout the season. Harden also worked with streetwear designer Daniel Patrick on limited-edition colorways of the sneaker.

James Harden / Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas

“Daniel Patrick has been setting trends with his use of bold looks and bright colors, so partnering with Daniel was the perfect way to highlight the design of the Vol. 4 and bring sport, fashion and culture together,” Harden said about the Adidas collaboration. “While my friends and family get the honor of enjoying this limited first drop, everyone can look forward to the next chapter of building my signature collection.”

Here’s another look at the sneakers:

James Harden / Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
James Harden / Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas
Harden Vol. 4 / Adidas

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