Okay, let me just put this out as early as now—I’m in love with these shoes. From the moment I put them on and hooped in them for the first time using the Black History Month colorway, I knew that the D Lillard 2 would be my 2016 hoop shoes. I’ll get into the specifics, but let me tell you right now that adidas took what worked on the D Lillard 1 and upgraded them, and fixed the things that didn’t work so well on Dame’s first signature shoe.
Let’s break down the D Lillard 2 feature by feature and you’ll agree that this could be the best bang-for-the-buck basketball shoe this year. I’m basing this review on the “Road” colorway as it has a wider release than the BHM variant.
Heel and midfoot lockdown were two of the biggest negative factors on the D Lillard 1, and adidas did a great job in improving those areas.
The plastic heel counter covers a large part of the ankle and the Achilles, hugging the back of your foot well. The inside of the ankle collar has molded pads that align perfectly with the contour of your foot, aiding in keeping the foot secure. The only time I experienced heel slippage was when I laced them loosely while walking to the court. Once you tug on them laces and knot them, you shouldn’t experience any issues.
The lacing system has been improved, with better spacing, better lace hole sizes that hold the laces in place, and the final lace hole positioned higher up in the shoe that lets the shoe hug the foot better.
The strips of rubber that has the three middle lace holes are connected to the inside of the shoe, maximizing the lockdown effect and providing not just a great fit, but stability. These three components work well together in strapping your heels down and keeping them secure during pivots and spins, sudden turns, and lateral movements.
The upper is a form of woven material that is very flexible but seems very durable. It combines both flexibility and protection as it’s thick enough to withstand getting stepped on in the post.
The shoe overall runs about a half size longer than normal, but wider than your average shoe, so if you have slim to narrow feet, you can go a half size down on these. I opted to get my true size since I have wide feet. I tried going down half a size but I felt some pinching in the lateral midfoot area.
If you’re used to low-tops, these won’t feel like lows when you first put them on because of the TECHFIT bootie. The bootie wraps snugly around your ankle that it feels like a mid, but once you start moving, you get the flexibility that lows normally give you.
One of the things I like about the Lillard line is the stability that they give despite being lows. In the D Lillard 2, there’s a lateral outrigger that helps keep you stable when going sideways and aids in preventing your foot from rolling when you apply too much force.
I felt very stable and very secure in these shoes. No fear of slipping or losing my balance or turning my ankle.
adidas utilized Bounce cushioning on the D Lillard 2. The Brand with the Three Stripes has used Bounce in the past, albeit in a different iteration. This version combines a springy and flexible inner core with a firmer outer, offering both cushioning and response.
The D Lillard 2 feel normal—that is, like any ordinary shoe—when at rest or when taking light steps, but when you start running or jumping or putting more force/weight on the shoes, you feel the springiness and the energy return. The harder I pounded the floor, the more bounce I felt (no pun intended). Definitely one of the most comfortable cushioning systems I’ve ever tried.
Bounce isn’t Boost, but don’t sleep on it. Personally, I prefer Bounce. Boost fans, don’t come chasing me with pitchforks and torches just yet, as there’s more to it. Let me say it again: I prefer Bounce when used on a basketball shoe. While Boost is without a doubt the best cushioning system in the market, landing on Boost feels mushy. It’s very comfortable, no doubt, but it doesn’t offer the responsiveness and stability that Bounce does.
This version of Bounce allows for a more explosive first step, better cuts, and quicker lateral movements. Those are important in a basketball shoe and for me Bounce allows you to do those things better than Boost does.
Overall, a solid cushioning system that’s comfortable, responsive, and stable. No back, knee, or plantar pain like I normally get with non-Boost basketball shoes.
If there’s one thing that maybe needs to be improved on the Lillard 2, it’s the traction pattern. Not that it doesn’t work, it does and it works well, but the soles are dust magnets.
I played on mostly dusty courts with these and the BHMs, and I had no problems whatsoever with traction. Didn’t slip, always had purchase when pulling up (my favorite move), and I was able to move naturally since I never had to think about whether I’d fall flat on my butt.
The Continental rubber outsole speaks of durability and traction, and they were squeaking all over the court for the most part. On the fourth day of using them without cleaning the outsoles like I normally do, there was less squeaking but the grip held. No issues during an hour or so of dribbling, shooting, and layup drills.
The heel part, for some odd reason, was squeaky throughout, no matter how dusty that area got. I feel that this adds to the shoe’s overall stability as the heel plants well and you can take off fairly quickly.
Overall, the D Lillard 2 offers exceptional traction. Other users say that the dust does take something away from it, but a quick wipe does the trick. I tried not wiping the dust off during the 10+ hours of testing the shoe and I didn’t have any problems.
I’ll say it again: I am in love with these shoes. I’ve never used a shoe that gave me this combination of support, lockdown, cushioning, and traction. And at PhP 5,995 ($105 in the US), you get more than your money’s worth with the technology.
The adidas D Lillard 2 is available at adidas retail stores, Titan 22, and the NBA Store. Go grab your pair now as these are selling pretty fast! I promise you, you won’t regret this purchase as it’s probably the best basketball shoe that adidas has ever produced.