From his signature celebratory “stirring the pot” celebration to his unmistakable beard, everything about James Harden garners a lot of attention. The Houston Rockets shooting guard and two-time Team USA member never seems to be out of the spotlight for long, and his newest endeavor has thrown him back in, though perhaps not for a great reason.


Last Tuesday, pictures of Harden’s first signature Adidas sneaker model leaked, confirming that the star’s shoe would release in December in, at the very least, the “Triple Black” colorway. It was the first look that the public got at the sneaker, and unfortunately it was not well-received. The picture quality and angle of the leaked photo leaves something to be desired, but the shoe appears to have a somewhat awkward shape and unattractive color scheme. While the actual drop is still months away, Twitter users wasted no time mocking the sneaker.




The shoe is not Harden’s first collaboration with Adidas, though it is the first sneaker he helped the company design. Adidas has released a handful of Houston-inspired colorways of sneakers in the Crazylight Boost line which includes sneakers that Harden is fond of wearing on the court. Prior to signing his current contract, he wore Nike Hyperchase sneakers that were designed specifically with his footwork in mind.


The community’s reaction to Harden’s new signature is reminiscent of its response to two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry‘s signature sneaker release earlier this summer. The Under Armour Curry Two Low was ridiculed by social media users and late-night comedians alike for being perceived as bland. Interestingly enough, though, Curry’s sneakers, even in the oft-mocked all-white colorway, have high reviews on online footwear retailers and seem to be selling well enough that they are still listed at full price on most major sites.


That’s not the only good news for Harden. Plenty of NBA stars have designed unfashionable sneakers with Adidas and gone on to create extremely popular ones. Kobe Bryant, for example, had plenty of signature shoes over the course of his career, including the Adidas KOBETWO. That model sold very poorly, but by the time he retired, he had given his name to such classics as the ever-popular Nike Kobe VIII. Harden has more than a decade left on his contract with Adidas, and hopefully this small hiccup will be forgotten soon. There certainly remains a community of dedicated fans anxious to see him grow as a player and to see his sneaker designs develop alongside him.


Are you a Harden fan? Do you own any of his signature kicks? Let’s hear about it here or on Twitter @BillChangNY