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.
Before getting started, make sure to check out the Nike Vapor VIII and Adidas Predator LZ review. This should give you some insight in what to expect when comparing both ranges..
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?
They are both fantastic boots.
both great but i feel for a control boot the maestri's are just better. and i'd take the vapor of these 2. not a nike fanboy but i like the old predators (powerswerves and older) a lot better
personally the thin bladed studs for me on the Vapor 8 helps me change direction better than the blocky thick studs on the predator.
I have also found the change of direction in Vapors to be a lot faster, however, they do not give me any balance at all.
I have to agree with you here.
Predators are dead.
RIP PREDATOR BOOT!
Nike needs to work on creating a boot that lasts and is of quality. Maybe different opinions out there, but my experience is that the Adidas just last longer and are build with better quality. Something always goes wrong seemingly with the Nike's and I WANT to like them, but can't justify only having a boot for 6 months.
I agree. I had adiZero's before my Superfly's and my adiZero's performed well for me (first release). They scuffed, but lasted. I wore my superflys for a 3/4 of a year before one match on turf ripped off the sense stud. And for a $400 shoe, I would've expected something better..
Come on then Bryan – you say that these are the top two performing boots on the market… Which one comes out on top? 😉
At the end of a 90 minute match, which one is more comfortable?
Adidas just made this sooo far, they don't even think about they oldie & lovely predator fans out there..
Change the upper due to earth resource saving? That's what should we do
Change the outsole to make 'em lighter so we could play better? Sounds good
Remove the PowerSpine coz they adds the miCoach compartment? As i itf doesn't mind
BUT change the predator into some freaking mind control boots it's considered could be not PREDATOR boots anymore! adidas please, remove that PREDATOR name!
I think a lot of players are feeling the same way, well put!
Actually, the initial predators were developed to increase control and swerve rather than power, so I think these are more of a back to basics boots for the predators rather than a complete switch in focus. Also, predators have always been about innovation and change, so I think in a way this a step in the right direction for adidas.
In terms of ball feel and dribbling I'm sure the mercurial comes out on top but how does the lz compare in terms of dribbling and ball feel when dribbling. I tend to dribble with the top of my foot around my toe area right where adidas placed this first touch zone, rather than where they placed the dribble zone. Wiill this negatively affect my dribbling since this zone is not specified for dribbling. I'm fully confident my first touch will be fine but how about any touches afterward. I'm just thinking this recessed zone will be too grippy and I don't Want to be tripping over the ball when taking it through defenders and tight spaces where precision dribbling is necessary.
which of these boots would you recommend to someone with narrow/medium width feet?
The Vapor VIII would be the better option, since it is slightly tighter around the forefoot.
My friend bought the vapor VIII and within 4 games one of the back studs completely broke off. And the other has a crack in it.
Bryan, which boot would you recommend for a tall fast striker?
It depends if you have long and thin feet, then you should buy vapor 8. If you have short and broad feet, you should buy lz. I prefer vapor 8 according to my feet
I was trying to decide between the Adidas predator and the puma powercat, (I know this isn't about puma , sorry), I went for the predator because my feet are wide and it's the one that fits me the best. It feels like it wraps perfectly around my feet, there is no gaps between the boot and my feet at all, it's amazing, and that gives me more feel to the ball and also can kick stronger with less effort, the strips along the shoe help me control the ball better, it's like it sticks to the shoe when you receive it. I personally don't like too light of a cleat, mine weight 9.7 OZ each in a 10-1/2 size, my friend bought the Nike and they weight 7.7 OZ each but in a size 7, he says he has little balance and he feels like he could injure when making quick changes on direction, however, he says he can take off faster. So far I've been happy with the feel and performance of the predators, like I said, it's what fits me better, I would need nikes size 12 in order to stick my feet in them and will have 1' of extra shoe tip because they are really narrow.