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Ranking Each adidas Predator Release Based on Performance

adidas Predator History

How incredible is it to think that the adidas Predator silo has been around for over 26 years, since their introduction to the market in 1994. Yes, adidas put them into retirement for a brief period between 2014 and 2017, but during that time the number of remake versions kept fans hungry for a re-release. The Predator is seen to be the elite power boot, one of the most influential silos ever released. They have continually been designed to help player performance and allow those that need it the opportunity to focus on striking the ball with power, swerve and finesse.

Since their introduction, there have been over 15 official installments released to market. Here we take a look at each one and rank them based on playing performance and overall value to the market. If you have worn any boot in the series, we encourage you to share your experience with that specific boot (and how you would rank them) in the comment section below!

adidas Predator Precision OG

No. 15 – Predator Precision

Released: 2000
Key Technology: Traxion studs plus Velcro tongue.

The fifth version of the Predator hit shelves in 2000 and offered players a completely different type of performance for the range. The Predator elements on the front of the boot were dramatically trimmed down and stacked in a vertical line to help improve spin on the ball. They almost had the appearance of a fan vent! adidas also moved the soleplate and stud configuration in a new direction, with a new Traxion system, where players could remove and replace the blades. The problem, was the overly bulky and full-bodied feel of the Precision.

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adidas Predator X

No. 14 – Predator X

Released: 2009
Key Technology: Old School design plus Powerspine technology.

It was a case of taking a step back in time with the Predator X, with this boot returning to the ranges roots while bulking up in the weight room. Realistically, it is the increased weight that leaves this boot so low on the list, but the fundamentals of the boot have to be applauded. Along the Predator Zone, a dotted rubber panel was added to increase swerve on shots, while the tongue was removed to create a more streamlined look. Then there was a new upper, with adidas introducing a fresh material called “Taurus” leather. This was a more economical material designed to be slightly more durable than K-Leather used on prior models.

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adidas Predator Absolute OG

No. 13 – Predator Absolute

Released: 2007
Key Technology: Changeable PowerPulse sockliners

To further advance from the Predator Pulse, adidas introduced interchangeable insoles for the Absolute. Basically, you could choose a regular foam version or swap out for a sockliner that featured a liquid filling and acted as a source of increased energy as players swung to take shots. The actual Predator element was also modified, but didn’t perform anywhere near as positively as prior versions of the boot.

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adidas Predator Pulse 2004

No. 12 – Predator Pulse

Released: 2004
Key Technology: Power Pulse Technology.

In order to further develop the Predator range through its sixth installment, adidas went with a highly advanced insole system.The Power Pulse was basically a series of weights placed in a cavity at the front of the insole that were intended to increase striking power. It was the shift in weight as the boot moved toward the ball that reportedly helped pivot your foot more forcefully and strike firmer shots.

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Samba Collection - Predator LZ

No. 11 – Predator Lethal Zones

Released: 2012
Key Technology: Five Lethal Zones

There was so much potential behind the release of the Lethal Zones, with adidas taking a completely new direction. Rather than being a Power boot, it was quickly pointed out by designers that there boots were set to be a hybrid, and Control became the new key word. Each of the 5 Lethal Zones on the boot was intended to provide players with a different type of performance characteristic. Dribble, First Touch, Drive, Pass and Sweet Spot were the specific regions players set about mastering, each with strategically positioned rubber elements. This is also the first Predator with a synthetic leather upper and incorporating the adidas miCoach system. They were definitely advanced, but not the best from a Predator performance perspective.

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adidas predator touch 96

No. 10 – Predator Touch

Released: 1996
Key Technology: Increased fin coverage across the strikezone.

As the third generation of the series, the Predator Touch was released with high expectations. An increased number of fins were added right up around the lacing system, giving players more opportunity to add swerve and power through the strikezone. The tongue was also adjusted to sit across the top layer of laces and create a larger strike area.

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adidas Predator Rapier 95

No. 9 – Predator Rapier

Released: 1995
Key Technology: Introduction of the Fold-over tongue.

adidas second generation Predator release came back with a new aesthetic appearance and all the technology expected from the initial release. This time around, things were slimmed down slightly and the boot was made to be slightly lighter. Then there is that famous fold-over tongue, which set a trend for the range right through till the release of the 2009 Predator X.

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adidas Predator 20+ Boot Review

No. 8 – Predator 20 Mutator

Released: 2020
Key Technology: DemonSkin with 406 rubber elements

Finally, adidas get back to creating what fans deem to be a true Predator release. The big talking point with this release is DEMONSKIN, an all-new technology developed to enhance grip on the ball and maximize control. Taking cues from the extremes of nature, Predator 20 Mutator sees the boot’s iconic shape re-imagined further, with a striking silhouette centering on a high collar and low-cut front creating a sharp and streamlined design mutation. With a little more time and experience on the market, these will easily find their way closer to top spot on this list.

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adidas Predator Powerswerve Rome

No. 7 – Predator Powerswerve

Released: 2008
Key Technology: SmartFoam Strike Zone.

The ninth incarnation of the Predator range became one of the most iconic releases of the modern era thanks to players such as Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Robin Van Persie, Dimitar Berbatov, Raul and David Beckham. Along the Predator zone, a layers of SmartFoam, a new more energetic material, was added to increase rebound while striking shots. adidas also increased the size of the fold over tongue to extend right down the lacing system and increase surface area. Falling in line with previous releases such as the Pulse and Absolute, players again had the choice to switch out the insole for a tungsten filled system.

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David Beckham Champagne Predator Mania

No. 6 – Predator Mania

Released: 2002
Key Technology: Increased presence of K-Leather.

When the Predator Mania was released prior to the World Cup in South Korea/Japan there was an immediate intrigue surrounding the boot. Adidas took a radical new approach with the range, with a lighter more streamlined boot the end result. The Traxion soleplate system was again used, so players could change out the blades and accommodate to different field conditions. A distinct layer of fins lined the strikezone and made the perfect tool for bending shots and getting a little extra rebound on shots. The Mania is one of the boots many fans wish adidas would release a remake of.

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Original adidas Predator

No. 5 – Predator

Released: 1994
Key Technology: First Predator fins.

These were the very first Predator released, the starting point for the illustrious range. Former Australian footballer Craig Johnston was the man behind the design, as he first translated his ideas on pure ball striking into the rubber teeth or fins that line the forefoot of the Predator. As far as performance, adding power and some additional swerve was the designated functionality, with their release revolutionizing the market. These are ranked so high on the list thanks to their radical emphasis on power and swerve while striking of the ball. Throw in the iconic three stripes and some red accents and a legend has been born.

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Predator 18+

No. 4 – Predator 18+

Released: 2018
Key Technology: Laceless dessign, Primeknit Upper

The Predator series returned from retirement in 2017, after several years sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a recall. adidas introduced a lot of sharp angles and elements through the upper, creating the power feature of the boot. Primeknit was the material used through the upper, with a higher knit collar running in a distinct fashion around the ankle for the first time. The use of Primeknit also alloweds for a much softer feel on foot and more dynamic movement through the upper. In reality, this was a distinctly different type of power boot, but one attracted plenty of attention from fans. It was also the first ever Predator release to feature no laces.

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Predator Instinct Sale Boot

No. 3 – Predator Instinct

Released: 2014
Key Technology: Redesigned Lethal Zones

The current model of the Predator range could easily move higher on this list, but only time and player feedback will determine how well they are received. From a visual perspective, they haven’t received a positive reaction, but ultimately it is on pitch that really counts. Following in line with the Lethal Zones release, there are 5 areas of the boot where adidas has focused their attention, each intended to offer a different performance characteristic. But where the Predator LZ was all about being a hybrid, the full bodied Instinct is more strongly correlated to the ideals of power and striking shots. Then there is the new Comfort soleplate – I doubt I need to explain its functionality, but from experience I can tell you these are one of the more natural feeling Predators released to date.

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adidas Predator Accelerator Remake

No. 2 – Predator Accelerator

Released: 1998
Key Technology: Re-engineered rubber fins plus a new soleplate

Seen to be one of the most popular Predator releases, the fourth generation had its fin dramatically reduced and the end result was a stealthier boot that caught the attention of fans. Rather than protruding fins, adidas made the design a lot smoother with the intent of providing players with a cleaner connection on the ball. The laces of the boot were also modified as adidas took to a new asymmetric design, allowing for a wider, more pure striking surface on the lateral side of the boot. There were also several key aesthetic changes, including the inclusion of a more prominent three-stripe design and a fresh, transparent soleplate.

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Adidas adiPower Predator 2011

No. 1 – adiPower Predator

Released: 2011
Key Technology: adiPower Strike Zone plus a Sprint Frame outsole.

Considering the concept of the Predator range, this version eleventh version was about as close as adidas could get to perfection. The fundamental attributes combine to make a very well balanced boot that performed extremely well and was versatile enough to suit pretty much every playing position on the field. It was also the first and only boot to feature a title before the “Predator” part of the boots name! The adiPower featured a divided Predator element along the strike zone, with the boot both zones comprised of 3D fins and silicon rubber Predator elements that worked to increase power and swerve respectfully. Then there was the Sprint Frame outsole, which provided a very highly respected level of traction. The fact that Robin van Persie still uses the Sprint Frame outsole on his personalized custom boots gives the sense it is the type of traction system that many pro players would easily accept back onto the market!

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About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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