Harden Volume 5 Review

This is my review of Harden Volume 5 basketball shoes. The Vol. 5 is a sturdy shoe that, while responsive, may be a bit too bulky or stiff for more mobile players.

Quick Summary

  • Where to Buy: Amazon
  • Best for: Players who play outdoors or those who want a durable model. Those that care about style and appearance.
  • Pros: Lightstrike technology. Specially merged for maximum energy return. Great stability. Unique look 
  • Cons: A bit stiff. Midsole is rigid and lacks flexibility. On the heavier side.
  • Alternative: KD 13, Harden Stepback, Embiid 1

Why Trust Me

In my twenty five years of playing basketball at a wide range of different levels, I have worn a lot of different shoes. That includes everything from lightweight low tops to modest mid tops to much larger and heavier high tops.

That personal experience, backed up by additional extensive research and discussion with other players, allowed me to break down the different aspects of the Volume 5.

Detailed Review

The Harden Volume 5 is a larger shoe that makes up for its bulkier shell with power and durability. The shoe is especially useful outside or in tough environments. It has great construction and a truly unique style that will catch everyone’s attention. 

It’s not a shoe that everyone’s going to love, especially players who put a lot of emphasis on agility, but those who need power will enjoy everything it has to offer. Big men will especially enjoy the stability and balance it provides.


Unfortunately, comfort is not the Volume 5’s strong point. The shoes won’t give you blisters or sit on your foot in an uncomfortable way. Rather, they are pretty stiff. There’s not a ton of give or flexibility built into the design, especially in the midsole area.

As such, many people might find the shoes to be a bit more rigid than they would like. I personally prefer shoes that allow me more mobility, and that’s one area where the 5 definitely comes up short.

Weight and Feel

Going off the above section, the Volume 5 is also a heavy shoe. The footwear is on the bulky side when it comes to feel, and that’s not something you’re not going to be able to ignore as you move. It won’t hold you back, but you’re going to have to get used to their feel.

Whether that’s a large issue depends on how you like to play. Big men who are used to larger sneakers likely won’t have any big issues with the 5’s feel. However, guards who usually gravitate towards lighter or more low profile designs won’t be as happy with the added bulk.


Moving past the extra weight and stiff feel, the Volume 5 provides excellent performance. The shoe is built in a way that’s supposed to maximize energy return, and that’s exactly what it does. You will be able to shoot, drive, and defend in them to the best of your abilities.

I also enjoy that the shoes have an incredible amount of balance. Even with the extra weight, they allow you to turn or spin easily. You won’t lose your way in traffic, nor will you fall off balance when trying to put up a difficult shot.


If there’s one area the Lockdown 5 excels in, it’s toughness. The shoe is incredibly well-made and uses tough materials that are made to stand the test of time. This is not something you’ll have to replace anytime soon, which is important for players who care about value.

That strength also makes the 5 amazing for anyone who hoops outside. It doesn’t matter where you play or what type of weather you play in, they will hold up for months under rigorous use. They are one of the best items to put on for the blacktop or street.

Lockdown and Fit

Backing up the durability is a nice fit with plenty of lockdown. A powerful base is an essential part of a strong shoe, and the Volume 5 hits that mark with ease. The laces pull tight to keep your foot in place no matter how long you run around or play.

Your foot won’t go anywhere in these. That’s particularly important for big men who need extra stability. This is one upside of the larger design that I really liked.


The Volume 5 is one of the most unique looking shoes on the market. The “out there” style might not appeal to everyone, but those who want to make a statement as soon as they step onto the court will enjoy how bold they appear. 

I’m a big fan of modern sneakers that take chances, and that’s what you get here. The Volume 5 is a powerful shoe that tries to do something different with its look and design. That makes it great on the court, as well as more casual wear around town.

What I Like

My biggest pro of the Volume 5 is its durability. This is a tough piece of footwear. There’s a lot of strength packed into the shoe, from the supportive top to the tough midsole and sturdy outsole. It’s clearly made to last and has the power you need to really push off the floor. 

Going off of that, I’m also a big fan of how well it holds up to both indoor and outside play. It’s hard to find a good sneaker that works well on the blacktop. The Volume 5 does extremely well, even in tumultuous weather. That offers a lot of versatility you won’t see in many shoes.

What I Dislike

My least favorite aspect of the Volume 5 is the weight. I have never been a big fan of heavy shoes, especially ones that are supposed to add more mobility or quickness to your game. You’re definitely going to feel these as you play, and that’s a big bummer for longer games.

Something else I didn’t like was the rigidity. The shoes have a tough midsole that doesn’t have a ton of give. On top of that, the material has a plastic feel that’s a bit harder than I would have liked. Not a deal breaker, but it does hurt both the mobility and general comfort.

The Alternatives

The following shoes are great options for people who like the Harden Volume 5 but want something a little bit different.

1. KD 13

The KD 13 is a strong shoe that provides a lot of the power and energy return of the Harden 5 without as much of the weight. This shoe is surprisingly lightweight for its larger size. That’s mainly due to the soft upper that actively promotes good breathability.

On that note, the 13 is also a comfortable shoe. Equipped with both dual zoom air units and midsole cutouts, it’s easy to wear and feels good when you’re landing. There’s a surprising amount of impact protection built into the bottom.

2. Harden Stepback

If you’re looking for another shoe in the Harden line, the Stepback is a great option. This model puts a high emphasis on ventilation, giving you a strong sole combined with a soft mesh-synthetic construction. That makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Unlike the Volume 5, the Stepback has great midsole flex. That then works with the lockdown to provide you with a secure base. They do run a bit tight, but that’s a minor complaint for such an easy and well-rounded shoe.

3. Embiid 1

While more focused on big men, the Embiid 1 serves as a good alternative to the Volume 5 because of its strength. It’s another study shoe that works well in a range of different environments. That’s due to the strong rubber sole and well-made construction.

It also holds your shoe in place through the TPU wing. There’s plenty of ankle support to prevent injuries, as well as a die-cut EVA sockliner. Another great option for players who spend their time on the blacktop or street.


How Do These Shoes Fit?

The Volume 5 is a true-to-size shoe, meaning that it gives you a snug, comfortable fit regardless of what size you normally wear.

Are These Shoes Good Outdoors?

Yes. The Volume 5 has a powerful construction that works well both in and outside of a gym.

Final Verdict

Volume 5 is a solid, if somewhat flawed, shoe. There’s a lot to like about it, including the build, powerful base, and excellent energy return, but it’s not the most comfortable option. The entire design is a bit stiff, which can be a problem for players who like to cut quickly.

That being said, the robust materials make it a great choice for both indoor and outdoor play. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a heavier shoe and simply wants something that’s versatile and will last, the Volume 5 fits that bill.

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