With so many boot choices currently available to players, it can be difficult finding the right boot for your particular style of play. Two hugely successful recent releases, the adidas Predator 18+ and Nike Mercurial Superfly, offer completely different sets of characteristics but are both the leading boot options for their particular brand. Fans clamor toward any new releases in each silo and they are definitely some of the easiest to find on pitches all across the world.
What is it that makes them so popular with players? And how do they compare against each other performance wise? Here, we take a look at what each has on offer, detailing the important characteristics you need to know about each.
Who Are They Designed For?
Predator18 – Before their retirement, the Predator series was highly touted as being the true pure power boot. With their re-introduction to the market, adidas completely revamped their strategy and the target market of the silo. Now, they are a hybrid control, intended for players that want to control the game.
Mercurial Superfly – The Superfly has always been about speed. Nike has created a boot that emphasizes streamlined visuals with dynamic acceleration. Absolutely designed for speed merchants that are active in the attacking side of the pitch, even if that is outside defenders breaking forward.
Predator18 – Through the forefoot, adidas use a material called ControlSkin, a super soft synthetic material that provides a clean and effective touch on the ball. This is enhanced via the inclusion of a tiered Predator control system. A Primeknit upper through the mid foot and around the heel offers a sock-like fit and is essentially what helps create the snug laceless design.
Mercurial Superfly – Nike use a full Flyknit upper that wraps all the way around your foot on the Superfly, creating a second-skin-like fit. Each Flyknit strand is individually coated with All Conditions Control, or ACC, for added control in wet weather. Micro-texture on the Flyknit upper helps with touch and control on the ball at high speeds. Around the ankle, Nike use a shorter Dynamic Fit Collar that is not as restrictive around the ankle but still offers a seamless fit.
How do They Fit?
Predator18 – You’d think they would be extremely snug given their laceless design, but there is some give through the upper of the Predator 18+ with extra breathing room up around the toes. I’d label them as being more relaxed, suiting a true to size fit.
Mercurial Superfly – In comparison, the Superfly has a much more snug fit right through the upper. Compared to previous Mercurial releases, it is a lot more accommodating and provides some additional width to suit a wider audience. But, they are still a Mercurial geared toward speed, so the silhouette is intended to be sleek and aerodynamic. Even without tightening the laces, the Superfly has a more constrictive fit around the foot compared to the Predator.
Traction + Soleplate Details
Predator18 – adidas use their tried and tested ControlFrame with BOOST in the soleplate for added return. There is plenty of flex if you want to bend the place 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.
Mercurial Superfly – There is a lot of undulation featured on the insole of the Superfly VI, something we also saw on the Superfly V. This is part of the dynamic internal system used by Nike to create a “Racing-seat-like” fit. Coupled with a split soleplate chassis and Chevron studs, everything on these is built for explosive speed and sharp deceleration.
What Players Wear Them?
Predator18 – Modern creators such as Paul Pogba, Dele Alli, Mesut Özil and Ivan Rakatic.
Mercurial Superfly – Speed merchants and goal scorers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Alexis Sanchez and Marco Asensio.
After all is said and done, both of these boots are very different from each other. The Superfly is all about speed with a tight fit right through the upper, while the Predator is a control hybrid, provided advanced tech in the form of a laceless upper. Personally, I have positives about both silos, with each providing something unique in play. I much prefer the fit of the Predator, but the traction provided by the Superfly is a step above.
When it comes to retail, both are priced very similarly, with plenty of colorways available in both silos. This also means there are several already on sale at great prices. The Predator retails for $299.99 while the Superfly comes in at $274.99.