After reviewing the adidas adiZero and the Nike Mecurial Vapor SuperFly II Safari CR7 football boots in recent months, SportLocker thought it was only right to get our hands on a power boot, and put them through a rigorous play test as well.
And they don’t get much more powerful than the adidas Predator X – the tenth generation of one of the most famous football boot ever created!
Before the frost kicked in, Sam Van Gelder took a pair of adidas’ most eye-catching releases for years to his weekly training session (at night time, well they are called electricity, after all) and here is what he found:
The Boot: adidas Predator X
Colour Tested: Electricity/Black/Poppy
Category: Power Boot
Price (RRP): £149.99
Who wears them (Electricity colourway): Xavi, Daniele De Rossi, Robin Van Persie, Angel Di Maria, Diego, Johan Elmander
Before we get down and dirty with the latest edition to the Predator family, let’s have a gander over the technology that goes into the boot:
- Powerspine, a revolutionary centre to the boot, reduces the reflex of the underside of the foot, minimizing the energy lost when a player strikes the ball, transferring this energy to ensure maximum connection with the ball.
- The result of this innovation is an additional 7% extra power versus the previous generation of Predator boot.
- A Taurus leather combined with Thermoform memory foam and Optifit creates a lightweight fit that lasts.
- The boot has been designed to add ‘swerve’ and ‘control’ by using adidas bespoke technology to achieve these goals. A newly designed Predator Zone, containing a mix of rubber and silicon, increases swerve in all weather conditions.
About the boot
When the creator of the revolutionary Predator boot, Craig Johnston, came up with the idea to stick jagged pieces of material on the top of a football boot in the early 90s, to add more swerve and accuracy to each shot, many people would have dismissed the novel idea as a mere fad. Yet nearly two decades on, the adidas Predator series are now in their 10th edition, and keep going from strength to strength.
The Predator X has been out for over a year now, but there is a reason why we have waited until now to review the boot. There’s a clear sense of nostalgia surrounding this particular colourway.
For all you fellow football boot fiends like myself will remember in 1999 when the Predator Accelerator (best Predators ever made. Fact.) Liga’s were released after the success of the black colourway in the World Cup in France 1998.
Don’t remember them? David Beckham was wearing the black ones when he scored that freekick against Columbia. Well it’s them, but in the same colourway as these.
As with most boot releases these days, intense player testing and involvement is an essential part of the production of a new boot – and adidas have pulled out all the stops with this one.
None other than footballing great Zinedine Zidane has worked with the adidas Innovation Team (that’s the AIT to me and you) to help develop and design the Predator X.
And here’s what the midfield master had to say at the release of the boot just over a year ago:
“Having worn Predators throughout my career, I’ve always been amazed with the continued product development and what each new version of the boot brought to my game. With Predator X, I’ve been working with adidas to help lend my football experience to their product knowledge to truly deliver the next step in boot technology. The Powerspine innovation ensures the boot will strike harder than any boot in the market.”
This is normally the part of the review where I cynically tear apart the professional’s quote. But how can you criticise a man who was possibly one of the most elegant footballers ever to grace our beautiful game? He did so wearing adidas Predators, so surely you just believe him, right?
Anyway, all this talk made me even more eager to put them on. But before I could take part in such privilege, I had to take them out of the box first!
My immediate reaction was that they were incredibly eye-catching. I’m not normally a fan of garish looking boots so these were not really my cup a tea in terms of colour.
However, as I started to see more and more professional’s wearing them, including the likes of Barcelona and Spain’s Xavi – and seeing how ruddy awesome they looked – I was completely converted.
And as soon as I put them on, there was no looking back.
What’s immediately noticeable is how hard it is to get them on! You really have to loosen up the laces to get in. But when you do, the way that they are designed means that they wrap around your foot for an excellent feel.
Having recently tried out lighter boots from the ‘speed’ category, it was nice to feel completely safe in a pair of boots, and that’s exactly what the Predator X can offer. It’s what I would call a ‘proper’ football boot – sturdy, solid and reliable.
What’s more, the studs are absolute monsters! We tried out the soft ground versions, and the studs make you feel indestructible. Well, maybe not that strong, but you wouldn’t want to lose a 50-50 challenge with these bad boys! AdiZero and Vapor wearers beware – the Predator X boots are coming to get you.
Running / Warming up
Yet despite the fact I was wearing studs on a 3G surface (that surface the Russians play on) I still felt comfortable when changing direction at speed. This was down to the new boot collar.
It is also worth pointing out that I didn’t have any blisters at the end of the session which is further evidence of the comfortableness (is that a word?) of the boots.
With the ball
It was then time to get the ball out, and I was extremely keen to test out the feel of the Predator X. This was because the boot features a revolutionary new upper material developed by adidas called Taurus leather.
(Cue more technology talk) Combining full grain calf leather, for softness and excellent ball touch and feel, the material has high tearing and high abrasion qualities for a durable yet-high performance upper. So gone are the days of the Kangaroo leather upper it seems.
It’s obviously impossible to comment on the long-term durability of the boot after one training session, but the boots did offer a good touch for the ball, and by the end the boot was definitely starting to mould around my foot.
I said no tongues!
In my opinion, there can be no doubt that the biggest improvement to the new Predator has been achieved by removing perhaps its most iconic component: the tongue.
The adidas Predator X are the first Predator to do away with the tongue – done so to enhance performance. This is because the new fit reduces the material between the ball and the foot to give a better ball feel.
And it’s immediately apparent how much more the boots react to the ball without the tongue.
I’ve often said about Preds gone by that the tongue was a nuisance. It seemed to me that it was there solely for aesthetic purposes, and neglected the feel for the ball. However, I firmly believe that by removing the tongue, adidas have produced a far superior Predator boot to its predecessors.
It was then time for the part of a training session we all turn up for: shooting! And I’ve never been more excited to spank some balls in my life. (That came out wrong).
With all the updated technology featured in the Predator X, this is where it would be apparent if all that time an effort put in on adidas’ part had paid off.
I decided that I was going to hit the first few shots with as much power as I could muster, to test out the Powerspine sole-plate.
This is part of the boot which aims to help increase power by minimizing energy loss when striking the ball. This is achieved through transferring shot power directly into the ball, by preventing the feet and metatarsals from over-bending.
And to be fair, I could feel the above working. When I struck the ball, it stayed hit. Whether it was 7% harder than I have ever hit a ball before, is debatable. But I sure felt confident when stepping up and powering an effort at goal.
No Predator boot would be complete without the ‘bit that makes the ball curl’ thingy. And the Predator X is no different. The redesigned Predator element completely covers the striking zone and is made with a rubber-silicon mix.
The technology behind this: the textured surface and soft compound of the Predator element is placed in an optimal position, providing every shot and pass with the ultimate swerve, control and accuracy.
Again, I have to agree with the above. The Predator zone is definitely another plus point to the boot. It definitely added an extra ‘something’ when curling efforts at goal and you could feel it gripping the ball as you struck it.
Before I sign out, I want to make a point as to why I believe the Predator is/has and always will be such a successful and dominant boot in a fiercely competitive market.
Normally, every boot falls into a category that can be narrowed down into a player position. It’s a generalization but speed boots such as the adiZero or Vapor are normally associated with pacy wingers or strikers.
But you cannot do this with the Predator. This is because players in all positions wear the boot, from goalkeepers (Petr Cech, Edwin Van Der Sar) to defenders (Kolo Toure, Jamie Carragher) to midfielders (Steven Gerrard, Tim Cahill) to strikers (Dimitar Berbatov, Robin Van Persie) and that’s just a handful of Premier League stars.
This is why the boot is so successful, because it appeals to a wide variety of footballer.
What’s more, it delivers the goods. At the time this was written, the Predator X was the top goalscoring boot in three of European’s top four leagues (Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga.) The proof is in the pudding people.
Once again Adidas have produced a superb football boot – the Predator just seems to be getting better and better! Removing the tongue for the first time in Predator history has proved a masterstroke as the feel for the ball is greatly improved. The Powerspine technology has heightened the power of the boot, whilst the Predator Zone is also more efficient. And what’s more, this colourway has already got cult status! Keep them coming Mr. adidas!