We have had a lot of new tech advanced releases introduced to the market in recent times. Two that have stood out and received much praise are the adidas Predator 18+ and the Puma FUTURE 18.1. It is not easy meshing new pieces of technology along with solid performance, but these two silos have a lot of value to offer players on pitch.
Here, we take a look at both side by side to see what they have to offer, and give you our take on who will benefit from each boot.
Predator 18+ – Return of the Predator without laces, a modernized version of the boot that revolutionized the game on the feet of legends David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Zinedine Zidane.
Future 18.1 – The first boot with a truly customizable, locked down fit thanks to the inclusion of NETFIT technology. It allows the wearer to lace their boots any way they want.
Predator 18+ – ControlSkin, a super soft synthetic material, is employed by adidas to create a clean and effect touch on the ball. To the touch, it is absolutely glorious and not what you would expect. From images, the tiered Predator styling on the front of the boot looks rigid and stiff. But, it is actually a built in foam structure that is incredibly pliable, and so super soft under your fingers. It has also has a stretch like feel to it, something that makes it very different from your standard types of synthetic you’d find on other boots.
adidas’ highly rated Primeknit is used through the midfoot and runs into a compression mid-cut collar. This combo allows for a laceless style design, where the constrictive nature of the fit means you don’t need laces.
FUTURE 18.1 – Puma actually double up the use of NetFit through the strikezone and allow it to play a roll in how it feels to strike the ball. It is incredible to think a knit material could create added definition that plays a role in actual feel, but it does. Because of its construction, there is a slightly more rigid feel about these compared to other knit style boots. You don’t get a natural flex through the forefoot, with the upper being a lot more compact. This has the positive of providing durability over time.
An evoKNIT sock around the ankle provides a dynamic and much more aggressive cut than past models, and it really does create a tight connection around your foot.
Traction and Soleplate
Predator 18+ – adidas return to a ControlFrame outsole on this edition of the Predator. it provides plenty of flex in both directions, in other words it bends with your toe down and in the unnatural opposite direction. I hope your foot never bends or extends in that direction, but the purpose is to actually provide some leveraged spring-back as you strike the ball. This is the type of soleplate that can be used competitively from first wear – if you deem that the upper feels naturally in tune when you put them on.
FUTURE 18.1 – Underfoot, the FUTURE introduces the brand new RAPIDAGILITY outsole, made of super lightweight and reactive PEBAX. The actual configuration contains a mix of conical and bladed studs that are designed to bring the best results in traction and stability. Unlike other recent Puma releases, the soleplate here only bends in one direction, so you get the bonus of some added spring back as you release from the surface.
Predator 18+ – The one thing that excites me about these boots is just how accommodating they are for a wide variety of players and foot shapes. Because of the laceless style and the inclusion of a very tight ankle entry, there is bound to be a selection of players that immediately determine them to be a bad option. But, I say give them a chance. Once you slip your feet in, the actual fit and feel is pretty terrific with the upper stretching in a very unique fashion.
FUTURE 18.1 – As far as fit goes, the FUTURE provides a very unique experience for all foot shapes thanks to NetFit. The NetFit system is the net that runs around the upper of the boot. Basically, there are areas where the net is separated from the upper and you can use these areas to run your laces through, creating a wildly different type of fit as you pull the laces and tighten them. Depending on how crazy you want to get, you can create dramatically unique fits with the ability to specifically enhance tension in a particular area.
Price + Colorways
Predator 18+ – If you decide to buy a pair, they come in a really tidy flip style box. It is a fitting addition to a high-profile package. Along with the boots, you will find a perforated Predator boots bag, a black shoe horn to help slip in and out of the boots, and an additional pair of comfort insoles. There have been several colorway releases to date, with the Lone Hunter version being the only edition to step outside the norm. The current Deadly Strike version could be the best looking to date. The silo has an original retail of $299.99.
FUTURE 18.1 – Since there is a strong focus on the lacing, it will come as no surprise to hear they come with an additional set of laces for players to create their own custom design. In late 2017, the FUTURE was released as a limited edition introductory release. Since January, we have seen several new colorways introduced including the current dizzying Texture version. The best to date in my opinion has to be the Fizzy Yellow edition. The silo has an original retail of $219.99.
Think of the adidas Predator 18+ as the next level of innovation with a little bit of extra mystique associated to it. Adidas has already proven it can create a game ready laceless boot, this release looks to build on that. It takes the Predator to a level where it has never been before.
As for the Puma FUTURE 18.1, it is a boot that takes fit in a whole new direction. Think of them as a boot with multiple functionality, having the ability to suit narrow and wide fitting players.
Choosing between both boots would be a very difficult task. Both have their own unique set of traits and performance benefits. They are not intended to hit the same category for players, so for most of you the choice comes down to what you are looking for. I can answer the “which is better” question as I have just as much respect for both boots. Maybe wearing one of each is the way to go!