Predator on the Prowl

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What do England’s David Beckham and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane have in common?

They have both chosen Adidas throughout their long and distinguished careers, and in particular the Predator, one of the best known – and best loved – football boots in the world.

Based on a prototype concept by former Liverpool footballer Craig Johnston, the Predator has been developed over many years, and has included such evocative models as the Rapier, Touch, Accelerator, Precision and Pulse.

The Rapier was the very first Adidas boot available in an alternative to black.

The Touch blazed a different trail, with Traxion studs differing from the norm by replacing traditional round studs with those that were rectangular and anatomically placed.

In 1998 Adidas released the Predator Accelerator, timed to coincide with the World Cup in France.

Regarded as one of the best-ever Adidas concepts, this was the boot of choice of Zidane and Beckham.

Zidane adorning the famous Adidas boots in 1998. (Taken from The Pro Boot)

Then came the Precision, which introduced studs that were fitted by the tightening of a minute screw, and were available in varying lengths to make adjustment more akin to the classic screw-in soft ground studs. 

But it was not one of the company’s greatest success stories, with problems developing through loosened screws requiring more maintenance, which led to the model having to be revised and revamped.

Predator Mania at the World Cup

Taken from Gear Zone

Predator Mania came with the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Sharp, angular styling in various colour schemes – including champagne gold – made them a huge hit, and after eventually being discontinued to make way for newer models, the price of second-hand Manias soared, and continue to dwarf the original recommended price of £120.

The Pulse came with a PowerPulse sockliner which was claimed to move the boot’s centre of gravity closer to the point of impact.

The Absolute in 2006 was the first with inter-changeable sockliners – including a lightweight version – and its successor the PowerSwerve in 2007 featured innovative Smartfoam for extra rebound power, swerve and improved control from longer ball contact. 

Zidane, at the end of his playing career, worked with Adidas in the model’s further evolution, and the resulting boot achieved up to 8% more swerve and increased power of around 3%.

The Predator X introduced specialist Powerspine technology and a new upper material called Taurus leather, and was the first not to have a traditional tongue, which it is claimed improves overall performance by reducing the material between ball and boot to give better feel.

Predator’s latest incarnation is the soon-to-be-released LZ, due out before Euro 2012 and named after a series of so-called lethal zones which target five areas – first touch, pass and control, drive and dribble actions and the sweet spot.

Football fanatic Nicki Williams writes for outdoor clothing equipment retailer and

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