Over the past few weeks, we have seen some radical new releases hit the market and the Nike Vapor VIII and Adidas Predator LZ were 2 that caused quite a stir. There has been a mixed bag of comments for both, with some players left heavily impressed and approving the changes, while others are scratching their heads with a multitude of questions. When we talk about top performing boots on the market, these sit one and two on the ladder. Of course, which one sits on top will depend on different player opinions! Either way, I decided it would be a good idea to compare both in terms of the changes made to each boot and what those changes bring to the table for players.
Changes to the Upper
There is huge importance in getting the upper of a boot right. Control and first touch are often the first characteristics that players look. During the release phase of both boots, there was plenty of discussion from fans and plenty of questions about the changes each company employed.
- Without a doubt, Nike’s transition was received more positively, as they moved to a thin Suede Teijen Microfiber. On the Vapor VII, the Microfiber upper was extremely stiff and took time to break in. On the Vapor VIII, it is buttery soft and the compliments continue to roll in from players who love its addition. I myself was heavily impressed and was impressed with the natural touch it provides. The one thing I am not impressed with, however, is the fact that the suede is very tough to keep clean, and they tend to scuff easily.
- Adidas stunned fans by moving from a tradition K-leather upper to a lighter Hybridtouch synthetic upper. Fans have continued to voice concerns on the change-up, even though it seems to be a change that syncs with the boots transition from a power to control boot. There is a lot of technology on the upper of the new Predator and on release there were concerns that this would result in a stiff feel. But I can confirm that the upper is very soft and moves fluidly with the natural movements of your feet. To find out more, read our “What is Hybridtouch?” post.
Mixing up the Soleplate and Stud Configuration
Both companies also decided to make some changes to the soleplate on each boot. Nike made the jump to an entirely new and revolutionary soleplate, whereas Adidas decided to go with a tried and trusted solution that has been adapted on all of their current high-end releases.
- Adidas fans had a lot of questions about why Adidas removed the PowerSpine and went for a SprintFrame soleplate instead. Well, the primary reason was because they wanted to include the option of miCoach technology. And with the boots moving to more of a control boot, it was only natural to take a tried and trusted solution. We have seen how the SprintFrame has impressed players across several different ranges.
- Nike decided to play with our minds on this one, and they released the range with a mind-blowing 2 stud heel configuration. The idea is that it pentrates and releases from the surface quicker, allowing you to accelerate faster. Through testing I found there were no traction or balance issues, but I couldn’t give a definite answer on whether it really does help with acceleration. The one aspect to the stud design I didn’t like was the sharp corners on some of the studs – I understand it might be part of the concept, but there is concern about player safety in tackles.
Compared to Previous Releases
Both Nike and Adidas chose to dramatically change thins up with their new releases. It is not often that you see such dramatic changes on any release, let alone the big two in the space of a few months.
- Nike’s transition was definitely smoother with the fans appreciating the changes that were made – maybe this says more about the sub-standard performance of the Vapor VII than anything else. The suede microfiber upper is a lot more responsive and offers a natural touch on the ball, something that is matched perfectly by the flexible soleplate. The 2-stud heel design is not only a change to the previous Vapor, but it is a change to every other boot on the market! I also have a post and video up that compares the Vapor VII to Vapor VIII.
- On the flip, Adidas fans are left wondering what the company is doing to the fabled power boot. It is quite obvious that Adidas are looking to change things up and they see an opportunity to grasp a larger set of fans with a new hybrid power/control boot. Instead of just a power zone, you now get a control, dribble, drive, swerve, pass, chip and dance zone…ok, slight exaggeration there but you can see there is a huge difference in the technology added.
Factoring in Weight
The weight of a boot is something that has taken on more importance for companies over the past few years, and we are increasingly seeing developments that allow for lighter boots to be released.
- Seeing as the Predator is a speed boot, you would expect it to be heavier than the Vapor. At 8.0oz, the Predator LZ is still a fantastically light boot and is right about the zone where I believe all lightweight releases should fall. Compared to its predecessor, the adiPower Predator, there is actually a 0.2oz increase in weight.
- The Vapor VIII is actually the lightest soccer cleat we have ever seen Nike release to date. They weigh in at 6.5oz, which is a pretty dramatic 1.5oz drop from the Vapor VII.
Price – How Much Will You Need to Spend?
With the growth and popularity of soccer, companies can easily inflate the prices of their boots and we are currently at a point where paying $200 for a pair is a very common occurrence. And of course, new releases often mean higher prices.
- Nike decided to keep things consistent, with the Vapor VIII left at the same price point as the VII – a retail of $219.99.
- Adidas moved their new Predator release up from $199.99 to a retail of $219.99. This is a big jump that ultimately sees them sitting at a level price point with the Nike release.
Which Would I choose?
Of course you are all going to ask which boot would I choose, so I figure it is a question that should be tackled now rather than later. I would choose the……..ok, so it not that easy! Both boots have very different attributes to offer players right across the pitch and I have areas on both boots that I like and other that I simply don’t like.
- Nike Vapor VIII – I’m impressed with the flexible soleplate and advanced stud configuration Nike has created. Plus the fit across the forefoot feels fantastic, you definitely get that ultra snug feel that makes the boots feel like a part of your foot. The upper is also buttery soft and in my opinion is a fantastic upgrade from the dire synthetic used on the Vapor VII. However, the suede upper scuffs easily and is an area that needs to be addressed. It is great to see Nike break their own lightweight record, but it sits a little too light for me.
- Adidas Predator LZ – The transition from a Power to hybrid Control boot is a bold move from Adidas – I’m still on the fence with that one as I feel they could have easily created a new range for this boot and stuck with a more tradition Predator release for the Predator range! I do, however, love the zones on the boot and feel like Adidas has nailed each area pretty spot on. No doubt they will find ways to “improve” each zone, but they are on to something. The weight is pretty ideal in my opinion and gets a big thumbs up from me!
There you have it, a pretty comprehensive breakdown on what to expect from both boots from a SoccerCleats101 perspective! Again, you can pick up a pair of Nike Vapor VIII for $219.99 or the Adidas Predator LZ for $219.99.
How do you guys like the new releases and if you had a choice, which would you choose to wear?