There are certain expectations that come with every new Adidas release, especially in the popular Predator range. Yet on this occasion and the Adidas Predator LZ (or Lethal Zones), Adidas has dramatically changed things up. The result is a boot built for 90 minutes of control rather than the much expected power. The design is very eccentric and the lightweight nature of the boot makes things even more confusing! I had the opportunity to take in the Predator LZ launch event in Los Angeles last week and it turned out to be a very educational experience. With that information in mind and having already worn the boots in 5 games, here are my thoughts on the new release.
For those interested in the Predator LZ, pairs can still be found at eBay.
What does LZ stand for?
LZ stands for Lethal Zones, or the 5 performance areas that sit across the upper. Each zone has been strategically positioned to help improve ball control, handling and feel for increased precision and accuracy with every touch. The five zones include: First Touch, Dribble, Sweet Spot, Drive and Pass.
These boots came straight out of their box and into a training session, and the following day I used them in a game. No problems to report. When you can put a pair of boots on barefoot and feel comfortable, you are off to a good start. The inside of the boot is lightly padded and very smooth. On release, there was controversy that Adidas had dropped a leather upper and PowerSpine for Synthetic and SprintFrame, but when it comes to comfort, they work out to be just as effective. In face, the SprintFrame soleplate offers a more natural level of flexibility. It only takes a few sprints and quick turns to have them performing at the level needed come kick-off.
The 5 Lethal Zones
Its quite obvious that the primary strategy for this release is the 5 Lethal Zones. Combined, they make up a new type of Predator that is designed for Control rather than Power. In a sense, this boot is more of a Hybrid that takes on a whole new category of boots. You might have spotted this summary on the Predator #UNLEASH post, but I think it sums up each zone effectively.
- The large First Touch zone has recessed ribs to cushion impact and stop the ball. It’s a vacuum effect for instant control.
- The Drive zone has a raised and thicker 3D shape following the natural curve of the instep to help create rebound distance and open the game.
- The Dribble zone is designed for quick contact with the ball and close control.
- The large Control/Pass zone is memory foam with a sticky coating on top. This ensures consistency, precision and killer passing.
- On the Sweet Spot zone 3D ribs ensure longer contact with the ball to generate speed and spin.
Through testing, the one thing that I found out about these boots is the each Lethal Zone serves a very valid purpose. Adding to that, each zone actually doubles and can offer players an additional benefits in other areas. For example, the Dribble Zone, which I found to be effective when playing outside of the foot passes (think of the Ryan Giggs left footed cross from the right). The Pass zone also makes for a great region to take the ball out of the air with little rebound. But getting the most out of each zone takes time. Don’t expect to take these out of the boot and have each zone mastered, even if your current skill set is at a high level. There is a certain level of mental training that takes place through the first few wears. You will need to reset your mind in order to accept the zones and not think about them as you are trapping or controlling the boot. Again, there is a lot to soak in.
Adidas has transitioned to a Hybridtouch synthetic upper, which turns out to be very useful. It is very soft and the upper feels supple even with the added Lethal Zone components added on. To find out more, read our “What is Hybridtouch?” post.
As a winger, there were 2 zones that I was able to focus on and reap the benefits of a little more than others; Dribble and Sweet Spot. I used the Dribble zone while making quick turns and taking on defenders. Sweet Spot turned out to be extremely useful addition for swinging in pin-point crosses.
This release is one that immediately catches your eyes, with the Bright Blue/Infrared offering a pretty unmistakeable look. Each of the 5 Lethal Zones has been highlighted in some way, to distinguish it from the rest of the boot. For those that want a more traditional Adidas look, it will be released. Even though the initial release is bold and colorful, Adidas don’t have any plans to abandon the traditional Black and Red colors we expect to see. On a final note, I definitely prefer this release colorway to that used in the F50 miCoach series!
Compared to the adiPower Predator
I feel like we were just introduced to the adiPower Predator, yet the range will go down as the stepping stone between a heavier Power boot and a lightweight Control boot. I am actually surprised the adiPower had such a short reign as I loved what the adiPower had to offer! There is not a great deal of similarities between both boots, other than the fact that they are designed by Adidas! You have a Power zone on each boot, but the upper, soleplate and technology has been radically switched up on the Predator LZ.
How do they Fit?
Because they are built on the SprintFrame soleplate, you are getting a very similar fit to a lot of other Adidas boots currently on market. Length wise, they fit very much true to size. The Hybridtouch upper doesn’t offer a great deal of stretch from first wear, but they are super supple and easily mold around your foot. Players with a medium/wide fit will find them to be ultra comfy. Through the midfoot, the boot looks like it is a medium fit, but there is some overspill that keeps your arch decently well supported – this of course being a pleasant surprise about the boot!
Predator LZ Launch Event
We had the opportunity to attend the LA launch event for these boots and it turned out to be an extremely educational experience. We also got to shoot some footage for KickTV – check out the full episode here.
This is a very complex release, with each different zones playing its own role. As a result, you find yourself trying to perfect each zone immediately. Unfortunately, this is the sort of release that needs time to really mold to match your performance. If you are a Predator fan and are going to stick with this release or future versions, it turns into more of a transition phase than a negative! The real negative on this release lies with the insole, which offers little breathability. At times I felt like I was wearing Aluminum foil on my feet, with the warm LA weather providing the oven like heat! It produced a very uncomfortable feel. As a result, I have switched out the insoles with an extra perforated pair I had.
For those interested in the Predator LZ, pairs can still be found at eBay.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: An all new type of hybrid boot that features 5 Lethal Zones designed to improve ball handling, control and feel. Hybridtouch synthetic upper and a SprintFrame soleplate replace the tradition Leather and Powerspine seen on previous Predator releases.
Category: In a dramatic switch, the Predator is now a Control boot rather than a Power specific. It is almost a hybrid of sorts.
Weight: A lightweight 8.0oz, allowing for plenty of speed and acceleration.
Would I Buy Them: There is a lot about these boots that would tempt me to buy a pair. The added technology and ideal weight give it a certain aura of sophistication that makes them appealing. I would definitely have them on the “consider” list.
Player Position: Again, they are almost a hybrid of sorts and that makes them an ideal choice for most players on the field. The 5 Lethal Zones have something to offer each player, it is simply a matter of finding the zone that works most effectively for your game. Ultimately, anyone can wear these and reap rewards!