Before their release, there was much intrigue in soccer circles for the Adidas adiPower Predator SL. At that time, we were referring to them as the Kinetic and little was known about how they were pieced together. Adidas then added a twist by releasing them before anyone actually expected, adding to the hype. Hype can sometimes make a boot, but it can also break a boot. In this instance, Adidas seem to have passed the test, with a huge number of players saluting the artistic design and performance characteristics. But then again, there have been doubters and testing can produce such different results at times!
For testing, I wore the impressive Black/Electricity/Sharp Blue Metallic colorway in a size 9US.
Normally I am pretty nervous about wearing lightweight boots for the first time, but it wasn’t so with these. Why you ask? Well, Adidas is currently running the same PowerSpine soleplate through several different silo’s and since I have tested several, I knew what to expect. During those tests, the break-in phase was pretty standardized, with a slightly stiff feel through the first session. After that, they offer a comfortable ride through wear. And true to form – the soleplate on the adiPower SL followed the same consistent pattern! My advice is to wear them for the first time in a jogging session, allowing the soleplate to gently loosen up. I haven’t encountered any other areas of discomfort since they arrived, which is extremely important seeing as the materials are completely paired down to a minimum.
One area where I did have a problem was with the insole. Adidas provide 2 in the box; a comfort and a lightweight. If you want to get the most out of these, seriously consider using the comfort insole at all times. I found that the lightweight version bunches up through wear and it really doesn’t add enough padding. It is extremely thin and the benefits of the comfort completely outweigh the lightweight!
adiPower vs adiPower SL
To shorten this section and get straight to the point, here are some of the primary differences between these and the adiPower Predator:
- Weight: the adiPower is 7.8oz while the adiPower SL is 6.8oz.
- Materials: the adiPower uses a Taurus, full grain calfskin upper while the adiPower uses a Synthetic upper.
- Predator Element: On the adiPower it is very prominent and you can definitely differentiate between the different sections, while the adiPower SL is less noticeable as it blends in evenly with the rest of the upper – it is lined with a silicon rubber but you might think it is simply the same as the rest of the boot.
If you want a boot designed for power and striking solid shots, go for the adiPower Predator. But if you want something that is lightweight and offers some slight additional help in terms of power then the SL is the boot for you!
You get a mixed bag with these boots – primarily because it is difficult to determine their actual focus. Are they a power boot or are they designed for speed? My answer would be a mix of both, although the lightweight characteristic is definitely more noticeable than the power. The Predator Element is really just a layer of silicon that has some ridges – completely different to what you get on the actual Predator. You do get some rebound on contact with the ball, what I would estimate to be just enough to deem it as a positive addition. But for me, it is the lightweight nature of the boot that makes them a real contender. At 6.8oz, these boots are designed for in-flight takeoff! While wearing them, you experience moments where you feel like you are barefoot, but then you turn and accelerate quickly only to discover the level of traction and support blows you past a defender.
On the ball, you get pretty decent touch. Because the upper is synthetic you don’t get that natural feel on the ball, but the thin nature of the material lets you feel the ball more effectively. This has its benefits and negatives. The most obvious negative is that of injury, with less padding to protect you when its needed most. Personally, I didn’t have any problems with them in that regard, even after going in on some heavy challenges.
When it comes to design these boots are simply awesome! I am a huge fan of how they look, especially when you wear them in night games under lights. The Blue and Yellow detailing really makes the black upper pop, offering an ideal look that could have been worn by the entire cast of TRON during filming! Alternatively, if you want a clean and bright colorway, check out the Running White/Black/Sharp Blue Metallic.
How do they fit?
They fit very much true to size lenght wise with a slightly tight fit up top. I found they were pretty ideal for my foot shape, but for players who need additional support through the arch/midfoot, they might not be the ideal choice. Having worn them for a few weeks now, the fit is extra snug and everything about them feels right in-game.
I strongly recommend that all players forget about the ultra light insole and go straight for the comfort version. You get a lot more comfort and because it is slightly thicker, it is less likely to bunch up in game. Realistically, you want to have more padding to absorb energy as you land. Lighter is definitely not better in this area! The final thing is the price-tag. These boots have been on the market several months now, but that inflated $250 retail price seems to be stuck, with no downward movement as you would expect. I am sure plenty of you are waiting for that drop and I hope it comes soon so that more players get to experience what these boots have to offer!
There has been plenty of controversy around whether Adidas has altered too much of this release and if they can still be classified as a Predator. Traditionally, the Predator boot has been built around a power zone – this release is designed around the concept of being lightweight. In essence, it sort of misrepresents what the Predator is all about. I love the boot, but feel Adidas should have branded it as part of its own silo. But, for what they are, the entire package is pretty awesome and they suited my style as an attacking player to a tee. They seem to have the right mix of characteristics to match any player who likes to get forward with the ball. On top of that, I would go as far as stating that defenders will also see some positives in this release. They are the best superlight weight option for defenders on the market right now. The synthetic upper gives a nice balance of touch and durability, with my pair looking good following a few weeks of testing. You do need to give them a light cleaning after wear, but for the most part they hold up really well. A solid release from Adidas!
(boots supplied for review by WorldSoccerShop)