Whenever a new adidas Predator football boot is launched, everyone at Sport-locker.net (along with the rest of the football boot loving world) gets a little giddy with excitement.
And the feeling was no different with the latest incarnation, the Predator LZ (Lethal Zones) – especially after that excruciating tease of a build up to the official launch!
Ever since the boots landed at our HQ, apart from gawping at them endlessly, we’ve been itching at the opportunity to put them on and give them our usual rigorous once over.
Step up to the plate, Sam Van Gelder who has been putting the latest Predators through their paces throughout pre-season.
Time to #unleash (sorry, couldn’t resist) his opinions of the latest edition to most iconic football boot in recent history…
A recent trend with the launch colourway of adidas Predator boots seems to involve a move away from the traditional black/white/red look. This irks me somewhat. However, these are still an incredibly striking boot when you first hold them in your hand.
There is a lot to take in for sure, there’s a very ‘busy’ look to the boot!
Each Lethal Zone, which will be analysed in greater detail later on in the review, really do grab your attention – I was immediately intrigued to see how each zone performed, with the memory-foam pass pad (Pass Zone) in particular grabbing my attention.
I was interested to see how the move from a Taurus leather to a Hybridtouch synthetic upper would affect the performance of the boot.
They certainly give off the impression that they are for a footballer that wants to stand out on the football pitch.
On they go
I was a huge fan of the previous Predators, the adiPower, so these LZs had a lot to live up to!
Firstly, these are incredibly comfortable. The pass pad creates a snug like feel in the midfoot area and the suede feeling sock liner makes for a really luxurious fit. It also prevents slipping which is a big plus with a new boot – especially in terms of preventing blisters.
The upper is a huge success for me. Adidas seem to have absolutely nailed the perfect combination – the Predator LZ’s upper has the characteristics of leather, but the qualities of a synthetic. An absolute winning formula if you ask me!
It still feels soft to touch but the best thing about it is that next to no water is absorbed – something which in time usually ruins leather boots. So these could really last those testing British winters…
The soleplate has completely changed from the adiPower, with the LZ adopting a similar approach to the low-profile SprintFrame chassis as the f50 adizero.
The fact that these are the first miCoach enabled Predator boot is also an added bonus – meaning that you can track your performance stats such as distance, sprint count and maximum speed, then wirelessly transfer the data to a mobile phone or PC.
These really were ticking all the boxes. Time to see what those lethal zones had to say for themselves…
The ‘Lethal’ Zones
The first Lethal Zone I paid particular attention to was the First Touch Zone. This is the large contact surface area on the forefoot of the boot with recessed ribs. The effect of this zone was definitely tangible – maybe not quite to the extent as the advertised vacuum effect though. However, cushioning and controlling a high ball was certainly made easier with this zone.
The next zone to inspect was the archetypal Predator zone, Drive. This is on the forefoot of the boot it’s the raised and thicker 3-D shape, that follows the natural shape of the instep. Again this was an outstanding area of the boot. It offers a huge amount of friction and grip when trying to curl in a shot or cross, but the ‘rebound effect’ also comes in useful when playing a long ball.
The Sweet Spot zone was an interesting one. I’m not sure it is entirely necessary to be honest. This zone is the larger surface area on the medial side of the boot which aims to improve all aspects of striking the ball. The idea is that the raised 3-D ribs to create an enhanced contact time on the ball. However, I’m not entirely sure that this is noticeable. It was fairly inconsistent for me and if anything, I think it is too high up on the boot. However, anyone who can perfect the ‘knuckle ball’ effect when taking free kicks might find this area a little more beneficial.
My favourite zone without doubt was Pass – the memory foam on the medial side of the boot. It is really odd to touch; it’s almost sticky and spongy, but wow it’s effective! Granted, similarities to the CTR360 Maestri II will be made, but this is slightly different. You can really feel the pad absorbing the ball when both controlling and then passing the ball. I really cannot put into words just how impressed I was with this zone.
The last zone to test out was Dribble – and it’s safe to say I was less than impressed with the ribs of rubber positioned on the lateral side of the boot. They’re designed to provide a small contact surface area with the ball and configured for a large number of quick ball contacts, spaced out to ensure optimum grip. However, I think they are pretty much pointless! This is surprising, as this is one of the areas key dribblers like Nani pointed out as an important zone. Then again, I’m not Nani, but I just didn’t understand what this zone offered your average footballer!
Still 3.5 effective zones out of five isn’t too shoddy for a first attempt…
Any other business
I always like to comment on how easy boots are to maintain and I’m pleased to report that you should be able to keep the LZs in pretty pristine condition. The only difficult area to keep dirt free is the three stripes on the heel. These have ridges on them that seem to be a magnet for debris!
Another plus point is the continuation from the adiPower to create another lightweight Predator boot. Traditionalists might feel that this is yet another signal that the adidas ‘Power’ boot is a thing of the past but I disagree. At 235g, these are a great weight for a Predator.
However, I do feel that the Predator is slowly losing its identity a little and is slowly becoming unrecognisable from the original. That said, I completely understand that the game is vastly changing and adidas will want to reflect that in their boots.
Who knows, maybe adidas will bring out a completely new silo in the future to address this slight concern!
The adidas Predator LZ is a superb football boot and one that is very much bringing the Predator brand bang up to date with the constantly quickening modern game.
It’s testament to the boot that a player in any position on the football pitch could don these boots and not feel out of place – they really are an outstanding all-rounder.
It will be interesting to see just how the dramatically changed boots go down both with the pros and amateurs alike, but my bet is that it will be a revolutionary success!