Performance Review: adidas D Lillard 2

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

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Despite the general release getting pushed back initially, I was finally able to get my hands on Damian Lillard’s second adidas signature. The Blazers have been a pet favorite team of mine (and Finch’s) since the Brandon Roy days. He was one of the best all around players on the planet at one point and it’s a tragedy that his knees simply didn’t work correctly. I’ve always been a big fan of Terry Stotts too – an excellent Xs and Os guy that has drawn up some beautiful sideline out of bounds game winners over the years. Now, led by Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Blazers have two gifted off-the-dribble scorers and shooters and are scrapping for a playoff spot in the West.

I was pretty excited for the release of the Lillard 2, despite the poor performance from the 1. adidas listened, made some key updates, and created a shoe fit for a tough-as-nails Oakland PG. I’ve gotten several runs in with the shoe and in fact will get one more into tonight, but I’m convinced that this is one of the best shoes on the market for its price. adidas continues to knock out great performers.

Fit
The Lillard 2 runs a little wide and I went down a half size to get the fit I prefer. It will take some time to break in and it took me probably 3 wearings before they really felt good. The first time I wore them, there was some slippage at the heel. I believe it was due to the full bootie not yet conforming to my foot (it’s thicker and padded at the heel) but by the middle of the second wearing it started to improve.

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The base for the upper is the Techfit bootie, which runs the full length of the shoe. I have been and continue to be a fan of Techfit when it’s used in this way – as a sock-like base layer or like a neoprene upper (as in the Crazyquick 1 and adidas running’s Energy Boost 2 ATR).

The shell, in the black “Away” colorway, is a textile mesh with synthetic leather accents. The mesh provides more containment than traditional open cell types but is more flexible than a fused synthetic. In other words, it’s a great compromise. You get synthetic for the heel portion and along the eyestay.

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The midfoot is actually locked by two TPU pieces – one on each side of the upper. These are more stiff than lacing through the traditional eyestay, and the lockdown is evident once you get them laced tight. A nice touch that works both functionally and visually. The inner bootie has more padding than the Lillard 1 and the prominent external heel counter really locks the heel in place. It’s an area much improved over the first shoe.

For me, there’s a little extra volume on the inside. I have a narrow foot and the shoe is built a little wider than most, but I think for most hoopers it will fit without issue.

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Heel-Toe Transition
The Bounce cushioning setup is a dual-density compound that gives you a pretty consistent feel from heel impact to toe off. It’s not quite as flexible as others (this is especially noticeable coming off the Kobe XI and HyperRev 2016) and takes some time to really feel natural. It is a consistent feel underfoot and after a couple weeks, the midsole will break and be just fine.

Cushioning
I passed on the opportunity to snag the Primeknit/Boost version because I really haven’t ever been a fan of heel Boost-only setups. I was also stoked to play in Bounce for the first time and I’ve loved it so far. It’s firm with good impact protection and very stable. It’s not as plush or responsive as Boost, but I like it better than most Lunarlon/Phylon setups. It seems more dense than Micro G/Charged and is going to come down to personal preference for most. I’d probably put it just behind Micro G and Boost, but it’s very good and I’d take it over most foam setups.

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It provides a ton of support, but it does lack some response and court feel. It’s very stable, but the feedback through the floor is a little muted. It’s definitely more stiff, solid, and heavy (in a good way) than a lot of shoes I’ve recently played in.

Overall though, I think it’s a really good platform and a good alternate to Boost. As I said, I’d rather play in Bounce than the half-Boost setups out there, thanks to the support and consistent feel from the Bounce midsole. It’s tough to compare to Zoom because those setups vary so much, plus Zoom is usually a unit placed in a cored out midsole – the feel just isn’t the same. Compared to recent shoes I’ve tested, I like it better than the Kobe XI but not quite as much as the HyperRev 2016 cushioning.

Traction
The outsole, a Continental rubber-sourced compound, is used to highlight some of Dame’s background and personality, and I’m always a little skeptical of sacrificing performance for that (a la the Kobe VI). The grooves are fairly close together and not overly deep, so the shoes did pick up dust when the floors were less than perfect. If the grooves are spaced too closely, it basically creates a flat surface to pick up dust on – the Kobes were bad partly because of this – the slightly stiffer midsole on the DLillard 2 means it won’t flex and bite quite as much either.

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On the second wearing, the floor was a bit better and traction was fine – no squeaks though. Traction could be better, but I didn’t find it to be a deal-breaker.

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Materials/Durability
Just know that these things are tanks. I can’t imagine too many issues with a rock-solid build like this. There’s not a lot that’s built to go wrong with these, and it’s a pretty straightforward build overall. Two things that especially stood out: the Contintenal rubber outsole is beefy and the heel counter is absolutely rock solid. I look forward to many games in these.

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Overall, the Lillard 2 proved to be a very good shoe in all aspects. The fit, cushioning and materials are all high points – though I wouldn’t say it’s elite in any category. It’s a bit like Chris Paul’s line from Jordan Brand and should settle in nicely in the slot behind Rose and Harden’s shoes.

The improved inner bootie, external heel counter and effective lockdown system are a huge step forward from the previous model. adidas’ Bounce setup should be here to stay and hopefully become a staple of adidas’ budget-minded lines.

Make no mistake – it’s not a budget shoe. It’s as good or better than shoes that cost $50-80 more. I’ll definitely be keeping these in the rotation going forward.

dlillard 2 guide

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35 responses to “Performance Review: adidas D Lillard 2

    • The HyperRev is more plush and bouncy, and it’s just a different feel overall with two Zoom bags embedded in Phylon. The Zoom is noticeable and works well. The Lillard 2 is a little more consistent feel with it being one slab of foam. It is more supportive and more firm, but both were good things in my opinion. Court feel on both is good, but I think the Rev was slightly better. The feedback from the court is a little dull in the Lillards. You can also check out the Review Comparisons tab at the top of the page and you can see the two scales side by side.

      • Thanks for the response and great review! I was able to try on a pair of Lillard 2 and I found out that with my true size had some space in the toe box so I went down .5 size and my upper midfoot was way to tight. Do you think it would stretch out through more wears? My true size felt good despite the extra space.

      • Thanks man. I went down a half size as well for the same reason – too much toebox room. My foot is narrow enough that the midfoot didn’t bother me, and I prefer it to fit a little tighter anyway. I do think the toe would stretch out some. It’s basically tight knit mesh on the black pair and I even noticed some breaking through a few weeks of wear.

        I didn’t think the Lillard 2s and Kyrie 2s were all that similar. The Bounce cushioning is much thicker than the Kyrie 2 Phylon and there aren’t many shoes out there that have the kind of court feel that the Kyrie 2s have. Kyrie’s were also smoother in terms of transition. Court feel comes at a price though – as you’ve seen the impact protection is really minimal. It’s always a give an take with that, it’s just hard to get that super low profile court feel and still be well cushioned. I think Micro G balances that pretty well in some UA shoes and occasionally Zoom too. Really tough balance to find.

      • I actually have the hyprv 2s and they feel decent in terms of cushion but court feel is still something I’m trying to adjust to because I loved playing in the Kyrie 2s but my knees felt the effects of the lack of cushioning. I’m hoping the Lillard 2 can give me close to that Kyrie 2 feel but with good cushion.

    • I would say first off, each of these are good shoes – I’d play in any of them again. But personally I’d go Curry 1, HyperRev 2016, then Lillard 2. I just loved the fit better than the other two and it played super light and responsive on court. Of those three, the Curry 1 is the one that I’d forget I had on during the game – a good measure of a good shoe. I like the Zoom setup in the HyperRev but the lacing/overall fit wasn’t as good, and I loved the support and cushioning in the Lillard 2 but the shoe was built just a little too wide for my foot.

  1. Kobe 10, KD 8, Hyperrev 2015, or d lillard 2. I want a durable shoe for everyday play for about 7 months. I want good traction, amazing ankle support, and has to be durable and feel good. Please help.

    • 2 of those shoes I don’t have direct experience with (Kobe 10 & KD8) but I can speak to the other 2. Both the HyperRev 2015 and Lillard 2 will be very comfortable. They both go with the full inner sleeve setup and are both fairly low cut. They’re stable and play pretty low to the ground so I wouldn’t worry about ankle support – but if you’re looking for like full ankle coverage neither comes up real high. Whichever one fits your foot best will give you the best ankle support for the most part.

      The cushioning is a little different between the 2. The HyperRev 2015 is pretty flexible with a Phylon midsole and heel/forefoot Zoom units. It’s soft, bouncy, and feels pretty natural. Court feel is very good. The Lillard 2 is Bounce cushion so it’s a little more firm, but is very comfortable and supportive. Not as flexible or natural feeling, but the support and impact protection is great. They get more and more comfy as you go too.

      For an everyday shoe for the length of time you mentioned, the Lillard 2 would be my choice out of the shoes I’ve reviewed. I loved the HyperRev too though, and it has its strong points as well. In a couple try ons of the Kobe and KD models, I’d lean towards the KD8. I didn’t like the feel of the Kobe 10 midsole, which is why I spent my money on a different pair to review.

      • I had one more question i want to play in these shoes for about 5 days a week and about 5 hours a day. I need them to last for about until about march. Do you think the D lillard 2 will last that long. BTW i’m a fast point guard and need it to last for about 10 months

      • Absolutely. I would have more confidence in these holding up than most shoes I’ve tested. Just very well put together overall

      • wait but you told a another person that the knit material was breaking within a few weeks will it break or tear in a few weeks?

      • It’s creasing across the toe a little but most shoes do that – I meant breaking in when I was responding to that one. The mesh on the black pair is very tight knit, almost like Nike’s engineered mesh. It’s gonna stretch a little just because that’s what a softer upper will do compared to a synthetic fuse type upper. It’s not going to tear or break down though.

  2. Nice review, very insightful. Thanks for the taking time to talk about differences in cushioning set-ups as well. Just received my pair of D Lillard 2s, excited to start playing in these.

    • Glad you liked it man. It’s a great shoe – the shape of it wasn’t necessarily perfect for me but there’s no doubt it’s great on court. Can’t beat the price either.

  3. Great reviews. I have the Lil2 Boost. I like the cushioning but dislike the way too roomy front toe space. Also I feel that court feel is lacking vs my usual Kobe 8 which seems to ride lower though the responsiveness seems better in the Lil2. Would HyperRev’16 rectify these issues and if not can you recommend a model in similar price range please? Thanks.

    • I feel the Rev 16 has a little better court feel than the Lillard 2 – although mine were the standard Bounce cushioning model. Bounce is a great platform but court feel isn’t necessarily its strength. But the Rev court feel is really good compared to most shoes, and I’d be willing to bet it’d be a slight improvement. The Rev 15 is actually really good in this department and could probably be found pretty cheap on eBay or something.

      • Hi. So I took a chance on the original Hyperrev (2014?) the one with full zoom cushion. I saw your old review before going ahead with the purchase on Ebay. Will I be happy? I am 6′ 180 lbs with pair of rather bummed knees. Normally played on KB8 and recently switched to Lil2 Boost but found them lacking in court feel and toe box too large. Thanks.

      • They should be more narrow and feel closer to the floor than the Lillard 2. I didn’t care for the support though so I’m not sure how that’ll affect your knees. Impact protection from the zoom is good, but I felt they lacked support. Some people loved the shoe, I thought it was comfy but had areas for improvement. The 2015 is the best HyperRev so far in my opinion

      • Hi. Sorry for reposting. Found out I placed this below my reply.

        Hi. So I took a chance on the original Hyperrev (2014?) the one with full zoom cushion. I saw your old review before going ahead with the purchase on Ebay. Will I be happy? I am 6′ 180 lbs with pair of rather bummed knees. Normally played on KB8 and recently switched to Lil2 Boost but found them lacking in court feel and toe box too large.

        Thanks.

      • Hope I did not make the wrong buy.

        If support, low to ground, and comfort is like KB8 with improved cushioning and transition, I’d be super happy.

        Thanks for replying.

  4. Hey bro, do you think that the rubber will burn quickly if I play with these outdoor?

  5. Hey jtsittler, I don’t know if you will see this or not but I wanted to order me a pair of the Lillard 2’s because my Kobe 10’s have worn out. I wear a size 10 in my Kobe’s and I would say I have a fairly regular foot. Do you still recommend me going down half a size? The stores near me all say they dont have them in store so I cant really know for sure.

    • Depends on what you prefer – I like my hoop shoes to fit more snug so if I’m on the fence I usually go down a half size. I think you’d still be ok going down a half size – the shape of the toebox and width of the base is pretty accommodating. I wouldn’t think length would be much of an issue. If it’s a primeknit version, i think it’s even more ok – I usually have some dead space in a knit upper

      • Wow, I appreciate the quick response. Im definitely on the fence because once I purchase them online there is no refunding or sending them back. I never hooped in an adidas shoe but I will go ahead and request a 9.5 and cross my fingers for the best

      • No problem – I still try to keep up on questions and I have a review or 2 coming soon just for the fun of it. But yeah, I mean I don’t think they’d be unplayable in your normal size but to me, half size down is the way to go. There are some shoes (the Brandblack J Crossover 2 low for example) that are too narrow in the toebox to go down. But that wasn’t a problem at all in the lillards

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