Adidas adiPower Howard 3

The Adidas adiPower Howard 3


Followers of basketball have waited for the Dwight Howard saga to end for the past two season.  In the summer, Howard was finally traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, a perfect city for the charismatic big man.  On the sneaker front, the adiPower Howard line is one of the few shoes on the market specifically targeted with the power player in mind.  Forced to sit out of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the debut of the Howard 3 had to wait until opening night.  For a number of reason, the Howard line has not received the marketing push as the Rose line has received.  But, as one of the top players in the league now in a big market, the future does look bright.  The quintessential big man shoe of the season is here with our Performance Review of the Adidas adiPower Howard 3.

One of the few big men shoes on the market, the Adidas adiPower Howard 3 is the 5th Dwight Howard signature shoe.  The features include the following:

  • Soft leather upper with patent leather accents for comfort and light weight support
  • Cushioning provided by EVA midsole
  • Non marking rubber outsole with shattered glass traction pattern
  • Mid foot TORSION® plate for stability and PU insole for comfort
  • Adidas miCoach compatible

Aesthetics and Styling

Conscious about style, Howard makes a point to have his shoes designed to look good on his large feet.  We have seen many styles in only 5 signature releases from the dominating look of the SuperBEAST to the more subdued style of the adiPower Howard 1.  For this 5th signature release, the designers have gone with a sleek look.  Based off the Howard 2, this version updates the upper, shedding the side straps for a lighter weight shoe.  Patent leather has been replaced by a soft leather upper.  A mid foot TORSION® plate and shattered glass outsole are taken directly from the Howard 2, a plus for those who loved the 2.  The choice for this Performance Review, a bright blue, black, and white color scheme is the choice.

Adidas adiPower Howard 3

Already on his 5th signature shoe, this adiPower Howard will mark his debut with his second team - the Los Angeles Lakers

From a side profile, the long swooping lines of the Howard 3 are appropriate for a large foot.  The heel counter dominates the rear, while the three strips act as slash marks on the sides.  Style comes in the form of a camo print along the eystay and collar.  As always we start our look with the foundation, which is taken form the adiPower Howard 2.  A shattered glass pattern marks the outsole, which also has the inset nano grips.  The “DWIGHT” and “HOWARD” print is found on the lateral forefoot, and the medial heel sees a “12” for all the signature markings on the non marking rubber surface.  Support comes with a textured EVA midsole and mid foot TORSION® plate which is integrated seamlessly into the design.

Made in two pieces, the upper is dominated with soft leather synthetic.  This main leather piece is stitched on and covers the toe box, sides and collar.  At the toe box, three rows of small perforation holes are punctured near the throat line.  The Adidas three stripe logo is represented as plastic windows cut into the leather.  Revealing a sheer mesh backing, the stripes do not act as straps like the previous model.  Last, a matte finished layer makes up the eyestay and collar outline.  A shiny, wavy, black graphic makes out a camo print, with the “dh” and “power” logos hidden within the design.

At the rear, a large texture heel counter is sculpted perfectly for maximum support.  The midsole acts a bumper below, molded with a mock Howard signature.  As Achilles rises high, the collar angles up to a point.  Corrugations are observed on the sides of the collar which helps the soft leather bend.  Padding is minimal but soft, while the lining used is a smooth, silky synthetic.

Heavy oval laces run through 8 eyelets which are part of the matte finished eyestay.  A patent leather flap is found at the throat line with a silver “dh” logo.  The most interesting design aspect of the shoe is found with the tongue.  Thin and light weight, the tongue is made of mesh and is connected on the sides.  The top of the tongue has a long silver lace holder, branded with “D III IGHT” and “HO III WARD” respectively.  To solidify heel lock down, an elastic band runs through this lace holder, stitched right on the heel counter.  Rounding out the Howard 3 is a high quality PU insole.  Flimsy with a comfortable silky smooth lining, the insole is finished off with an Adidas logo on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

With the collar flaps flaring wide, entry into the Howard 3 is easy.  The elastic strap keeps the tongue close once the foot is inside and fit is true to size.  Most of the lace pressure, naturally, is felt at the start of the collar, where elastic strap holds down the foot.  Even though the upper is made with synthetic leather, it is soft and light weight.  The softness is evident at the toe box, where the round shape fits close.  At the rear, heel lock down and ankle protection is excellent.  The elastic strap keeps the heels right on the sculpted counter without movement, while the ankles are fully wrapped with comfort from the collar.  Like the upper, the collar and tongue have a soft, light weight feel.  Below, cushioning is on the responsive side, as the EVA feels solid and the insole providing a soft base.  The foot does sit contoured with plenty of arch support, and the excellent heel lock down can be felt from the medial side all the way to the forefoot.  A surprisingly soft and light weight feel for a big man shoe, the adiPower Howard 3 brings a tight fit with excellent support and good comfort.

Adidas adiPower Howard 3

An elastic band brings exceptional heel lock down


The contoured fit of the Howard 3 brings very good court feel.  Planted on the court surface, the outsole sits solid.  The nature of the shoe is clearly evident once the player gets up to speed.  Even though the shoe is made for a big man, running feels light and easy.  The upper flexes easily at the toe box and has a soft overall feel.  In a few words, the shoe feels more airy than bulky, and because of this, the shoe is more of a hybrid performer than a strict big man only shoe.  The upper of the shoe feels very light and flexible around the foot.  Quick players will find this out immediately, and getting around the court never has a sluggish feel.  Every area has flexibility including the collar, which allows for agile movements and deep bends.  Below, the foundation of the shoe brings great responsiveness.  For the aggressive player, pushing off the forefoot is solid, but the feel of the court is excellent.  Charging ahead and changing directions laterally is very tight and precise.  With the back to the basket, the player can push hard off the heel and feel the balance of the shoe.  That is, it can play hard and tough, but does feel light and fluid.  For jumps, the responsive base is great.  Jump shots, finishes, and fighting for rebounds is very responsive.  The shoe does not spring the player up, but the feeling is, again, light and airy.  Below, the EVA midsole does take impact on the harsh side, but he TORSION® plate keeps the foot in place.  All in all balanced performance, the adiPower Howard 3 brings a light weight feel in a versatile package suitable for all types of players.

Even with the light weight feel, stability is very good.  The most pronounced area of stability comes with the back end lockdown – the ankles and heel.  Fully covered, the ankles have the protection needed, and the elastic strap keeps from any slipping or sliding.  Players who value back end stability will find the shoe favorable, as the medial side, from the collar down, feels like a protective wall.  Because the ankles and heels are supported, it can allow the upper to be on the minimal side.  The designers have chosen synthetic leather over a nylon/mesh/plastic base.  The result is that the upper is more sturdy and solidly grips the foot, while providing comfort from the fact that soft leather is used.  And because the leather is soft and thin, flexibility is excellent.  For the foundation, the combination of the EVA sole and TORSION® system stability plate is made for the big man.  The TORSION® plate keeps the mid foot supported at all times, while the EVA midsole is tough enough to take brutal poundings through the course of a game session.

Traction performance for the Howard 3 is solid and balanced.  The main platforms for traction lie with the shattered glass areas on the forefoot and heel.  These areas are where the player will, most likely, put the most pressure on the outsole for grip.  So, stepping and planting hard would bring out the best grip.  In this instance, the inset nano grips come into play, providing grip, but not keeping the player stuck in place.  Dribbling on the perimeter before making an abrupt move, or slowly backing down in the post, the traction surface provides the sticky grip needed to feel the court, but the player can push off easy to find some fluidity.  In the heat action, the shoe can halt the player comfortably when stepping down hard, without losing the feel of the court.  In the end, the shoe provides very good, aggressive traction.  Ventilation is an area where few problems are observed.  Unlike the Howard 2, which did not shine in this area, the Howard 3 feels a lot more comfortable.  There are more open spaces cut on the upper (namely the three stripe windows on the sides) which break up the material.  This allows for better ventilation because the upper is encompassing and suffocating the foot.  And although the elastic band does hold the ankles and heels tightly in place, ventilation does not seem to be affected.  For moisture concerns, the smooth inner lining does a great job of keeping everything dry.


Dwight Howard is one of the most unique centers to ever play the game, combining a power game with the explosiveness of a swingman.  Adidas has done well in creating a signature line that captures his versatile play.  The adiPower Howard 3 is just another performer that fits the big man well, but has plenty of advantages for every other position.  A light weight performer with exceptional stability and traction puts this latest effort as one of the top shoes of the year.  With Howard now in the second largest market in the nation, opportunities to expand his line, as Rose line has blossomed, may be the next step Adidas will take.  Howard has this season to finish out his contract, and if all goes well, it is expected that he will resign with Los Angeles.  Will this season find the most dominant big man in the league return to the NBA Finals?  If he does, fans will get to see Howard battle for the title in a signature shoe.  Released this summer, the adiPower Howard 3 is available now at the Official Adidas Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas adiPower Howard 2