On June 29th, 2019, James Harden was stopped by police in China for a traffic infraction while riding a scooter through a forbidden part of Shanghai. In his apology posted to Weibo, Harden expressed gratitude to the the East Asian country and regret for violating traffic rules during his international travels. (Now, if only he could fess up to his travel, or “stepback,” violations on home soil…)
Never shy to explore cheekiness, Harden and his Three Stripes family has produced an iteration of the adidas Harden Vol. 5 inspired by the situation. Not too dissimilar from its inaugural arrangement, which introduced FUTURENATURAL to the world, the low-top basketball sneaker indulges in a light base complemented by a bevy of haphazardly shaped, brightly-colored overlays and detailing. Pull tabs on the tongue and heel and outsole patterns maintain their standard build while tapping into the pair’s color palette, but neither establish a connection to that scooter ride from nearly-two years ago like the graphic printed on the insole. A bearded, grinning Harden is accurately depicted steering a red two-wheeled vehicle with one hand, while his right hand is making the shaka sign.
Release details have yet to be disclosed, but this Harden Vol. 5 may hit adidas.com before the 2020-21 NBA season ends. In any case, enjoy a first-look at the shoes