Adidas D.O.N. Issue #3 Performance Review

Adidas DON Issue 3 (Photo via Nice Kicks)

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell recently dropped the adidas D.O.N Issue #3, his third signature pair with the brand.

Coincidentally, the sneaker release took place a month after the two-time All-Star sustained an ankle injury during the Game 3 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers. Nonetheless, the pair was released and received some good feedback from the community due to its appealing looks. 

But the real question remains: can the performance keep up with its aesthetics?

To provide you an answer, Dribble Media comes with an in-depth performance review of the D.O.N Issue #3.

Adidas DON Issue 3 Materials (Photo via Adidas)


The D.O.N Issue #3 is infused with cheap textile and synthetic materials on its upper, which are very thin, especially on the forefoot. At first, the materials are kind of stiff, but fret not, since these will eventually soften and conform to the feet after breaking in. 

Another takeaway is that despite the thinness of the upper materials, there is not much airflow. This would affect the pair’s ventilation, as the heat gets accumulated since the pair lacks breathability. 

Nonetheless, the materials are implemented nicely and this would reflect on the pair’s excellent overall aesthetics. 

Adidas DON Issue 3 Traction (Photo via Adidas)


The outsole is made with translucent materials with minimal rubber compound in one portion of the forefoot and heel. But unlike the adidas D.O.N Issue #2, this pair has a soft and pliable outsole compound, which deems its durability quite questionable when used outdoors. They might be different in terms of durability, but adidas implemented this pair with an almost identical traction pattern from the D.O.N Issue #2. The wider herringbone-like pattern, which resembles a spider web, gives a nod to Mitchell’s moniker.  While the traction pattern provides a good vibe on the aesthetic standpoint, this does not give much justice to its overall performance.  The brand experimented on the combination of solid rubber and translucent outsole. They even implemented the rubber compound on the crucial areas on the forefoot and heel that is supposed to drastically enhance the performance. But overall, the traction is not very satisfying due to its inconsistencies.  While it has a good amount of aggressiveness on a clean court, the traction’s bite is lackluster on dusty courts. Also, the outsole easily accumulates a lot of dust which lessens the traction’s performance.  These would make the D.O.N Issue #3 incomparable to the traction performance of the top-tier pairs like Curry 8 Flow and the Nike KD 14, which is arguably the best basketball shoe of the year.

And if you’re interested in looking at some of the best-performing pairs from the Nike KD line, take a look at these Amazon picks below!


Lately, the brand has been pushing the implementation of the Lightstrike cushion technology to their pairs, similar to what they did with the adidas Dame 7. Now, it seems like Mitchell’s shoe line has formally transitioned from Bounce to Lightstrike with the implementation of this technology to the D.O.N. Issue 3.  Although it’s true that the Boost and Bounce technologies are more established, the Lightstrike technology is also noteworthy thanks to its lightweightness and responsiveness. But unlike the aforementioned, the Lightstrike’s impact and implementation vary to every pair.    For some reason, the Lightstrike is infused inconsistently in various pairs. It is perfectly implemented in some sneakers, but it feels lackluster in others. In the case of the D.O.N Issue #3, the cushion technology is like a slope — thick on the heel, then it gets thinner going through the forefoot. This setup has more plush and bounce on the heel area, which is a perfect fit for players who prefer heel strike than forefoot running.  Another takeaway of the setup is that the heel-to-toe transition is definitely smooth. There is an excellent curve on the heel and additional flex on the forefoot due to its thin and soft mesh, so running is smoother compared to the very flat D.O.N Issue #1, where it feels like the user’s feet are slapping the ground when running.  Also, the pair has an excellent court feel, which is definitely preferred by a lot of shifty players since they can move freely and naturally. The pair’s court feel is then reinforced by a fully exposed midsole, which allows the low density foam to have more compression for better impact protection especially on the heel area. If players have used the adidas Harden Vol. 4, the D.O.N Issue #3’s court feel and compression are comparable to that specific pair. By the way, the adidas Harden Vol. 5 was already released last year. You might want to check out its vibrant colorways below!

Going back to the D.O.N. Issue #3,  a TPU plate is also visible on the shank portion of the outsole, which can be felt from under the strobel board when the insole is removed. This gives the impression of having two support systems.  However, there are some major downsides on the cushion set up of this pair. One of the few is the very thin insole that adidas constantly uses on their sneakers. The insole should provide additional impact protection and bounce to the sneakers, but for adidas, it seems like the insole is just for the division between the user’s feet and the foot bed. The strobel board beneath the insole is also very stiff.  But so much for the cushion. Let’s move forward to the pair’s lockdown and support.  The first impression when wearing the D.O.N Issue #3 is that the foot bed, especially on the heel, is unstable. It is actually the same dilemma that users had with the Nike PG 4, which was later on fixed when the Nike PG 5 came out.    The downside of the pair is that the user can actually feel instabilities from the inside. There is an impression that the only lockdown-providers are the laces, the newly implemented elastic band on the lace lock, and the TPU-like flaps on the eyelets.  However, if users prefer roomier sneakers or if they have naturally thick and wide feet, then this would not be much of an issue.  When it comes to the support, the ankle and tongue have a good amount of padding, although they are quite thin. But players can be assured that the lateral containment of the pair is superb despite the instability on the heel and lackluster lockdown.  Do you remember the TPU plate on the pair’s shank? It actually goes through the lateral containment of the pair. With the additional internal TPU setup and the pair’s wide base, players can be confident that the lateral support is very functional.  
Adidas DON Issue 3 Fitting (Photo via Adidas)


The D.O.N Issue #3 runs true-to-size, but it is very recommended to try on a pair first before purchasing since there are issues with the footbed. Users might opt to adjust to a smaller size, especially if they prefer snug-fit sneakers. 


The first two releases were not really mouth-watering from an aesthetic point of view: the D.O.N. Issue #1 looked like a sneaker for grade schoolers, while the second was bulky and hard to rock. But adidas came through with this facet of their new shoe, as the best aspect the D.O.N Issue #3 can offer are the aesthetics. The colorways are promising, and the style is easier to rock both on and off the court. 

When it comes to the technology, the implementation of the Lightstrike cushion technology in this shoe line could receive mixed responses. But if it messes up this pair, adidas must consider returning to the Bounce tech. 

Overall, the pair looks promising despite the downsides when it comes to the lockdown. However, the brand must not overlook that factor since instability could cause foot injuries, especially if you look at the fact that Mitchell himself just recently had an ankle injury. 

But if Nike was able to fix that issue when the PG 5 came out, hopefully adidas would do the same. 

The adidas D.O.N. Issue #3 nets an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. 

Too low, maybe. It’s because the major flaws of the sneaker, the instability on the foot bed and the inconsistent traction, are very crucial and might cause severe foot injuries to the user. Both are very important for basketball players and must not be overlooked. 


The adidas D.O.N. Issue #3 was released on July 10 and is now available at selected adidas stores and other authorized retailers. You can also go to Amazon to score some of the best adidas D.O.N. Issue #3 deals out there. Look at these tremendously-looking pairs below!  


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