Sort of a confusing title, right? Well, don’t stress yourself out because you did read it correctly, and we are comparing the Adidas Predator LZ versus the Adidas Predator LZ.
A few weeks back, we were introduced to the second coming of the Predator LZ range, but even though we were introduced to a completely new design, Adidas kept the boots name unchanged. They didn’t even add a number to distinguish both versions. It is simply the “original Predator LZ” versus the “new Predator LZ“. In terms of performance, there is also a lot that differentiates the boots so I figured it would be the ideal to time to break down what you can expect from the new vs the original.
Search for all Adidas Predator LZ releases at soccer.com.
Re-calibrated Lethal Zones
The original version featured very flat, uniform panels on each of the Lethal Zones that were intended to provide a little extra grip and power behind shots. It worked very effectively and produced a great feel on the ball. In contrast, the new version features textured regions, with a lot of added dimension through the boot.
All of the Lethal Zones are still covered with the rubber compound and they labeled with the same terminology, but there is an totally different set of performance characteristics included. Now, the emphasis is on controlling what the ball does, with the main Drive Zone the new focal point. The multi-dimensional shooting zone offers players the opportunity to wrap their foot around the ball and get some additional swerve. Because each mini panel sits at a different level and in a pyramid style shape, it creates a contour connection with the surface of the ball, allowing you to add more spin that you would with a flat, uniform connection.
Another area that has undergone some obvious change is the Pass Zone that sits on the instep – I prefer to refer to this region as the Control Zone. Rather than using a memory foam panel, the new version features raised 3-D panels that offer more rebound on connection with a solid pass, so you can get the ball out of your feet when you look to play it or control it infront of you.
[Also: Adidas Predator LZ Review]
The 3 remaining regions have also undergone some remodeling and they each offer more dimension for an alternate type of connection on the ball. Along with the performance modifications, the visuals of the boot have undergone some major changes and the result is a boot that reminds me of a sci-fi movie. They are like Terminator meets Freddy Krueger, (wait, that actually happened) with the Terminator melting down the rubber and Freddy molding it onto the face of the boot. It is a very complicated piece that I am sure the finest abstract sculpture would be proud of.
Signature 3-Stripe Moved
Along with the obvious design changes, Adidas has moved their signature 3-stripe from the heel to the side of the boot and angled them in the opposite direction. It definitely creates a different look that seems sort of subtle when you look at them initially. As a result, the heel region becomes less of a focal point on the boot. One thing that Adidas has done is added a perforated effect through the region that does actually create a more modern look.
Lacing Channel Modified
In an effort to really reinforce the lacing channel, Adidas has create a new partial honeycomb design to the inner seem. This allows you to really pull the laces tight without damaging any of the material in the upper. To ensure you are getting an even more effective connection on the ball, they have layered the rubber paneling around the lacing and stitched it down into place. In other words, you get more surface area and lace lace, almost like what you would get from a fold over tongue.
Why all the Changes?
That is a great question. It seems slightly odd that Adidas would look to modify the range without creating a new silo. In my opinion, here is what has happened. The original Predator LZ was released in May 2012, which is over a year ago. With the range seeing a large amount of success, there wasn’t a great rush to create a completely new boot. Creating a new version of a boot involves a lot of research and development and with the current influx of new innovative technology, probably left Adidas in a position where they wanted to get the next version just right. So, they have worked on creating an updated version of the current range to function as a “stand-in” until the next version is completely ready to rock the socks off the soccer community.
Note, this is just my opinion on the matter!
If you are Buying A Pair
Well, obviously the older model is going to be available at a much more affordable price point right now. Stores are looking to move them, so you will find them at large discounts, with the only problem being the sizes that are left on offer. If you find a pair in your size and on sale, they are well worth investing in. Since the latest version has just recently been released, you are not going to find them discounted in too many spots. You will need to fork out the full amount to get a pair, or you could wait for them to drop in price as new colorways are released.
A Word From Adidas
I quizzed Tor Southard, Senior Merchandise Manager of Adidas soccer, about the new release this past week and he got back with this release. Here is the main question I asked him and the response I got.
Q - I’m wondering why the new version was labeled with the same name tag as the original version? My take is that this release might be more of a “stop gap” boot that sits in place until you have the next version of the Predator “perfected” for its release date. Any truth in that?
You are on the right path. The goal of Predator Lethal Zones is to provide ultimate ball control. Going from the 2012 version to the 2013 version the goal was to fine tune the zones. We went back and looked at how we incrementlly improve each zone to improve the intended purpose of that zone when contacting the ball. This is why we now have SL rubber strips on the medial side of the shoe vs. a foam cushioning on the 2012 version. Some of the zones have taken on a different geometry or thickness vs. the 2012 version. All changes were made with improved control as the final goal.
Search for all Adidas Predator LZ releases at soccer.com.