New News

The History of an adidas Icon – The Predator

We’re here at On the Line, ready to take you on a thrilling journey! We’re diving deep into the archives, unearthing the rich history of adidas, and exploring the magic that made the Predator the legend it is today!

So, fasten your seatbelts! We’re about to embark on a nostalgic ride through the Predator’s history and the moments that defined footballing history. From the iconic three stripes to the game-changing design of the Predator, we’ve got it all covered!

So, whether you’re a die-hard adidas fan, a football enthusiast, or just love a good story, this one’s specially crafted for you! Let’s get started! 

’94 – The adidas Predator

Debuted for the first time at the 1994 World Cup, few quite anticipated the sheer potential of the adidas Predator and the impact the silo would have on the sporting world in the years to come.

The adidas Predator1994

Arriving in the iconic Black, White & Red colourway that is inherently synonymous with the Predator brand, it was John Collins who first showcased the silo’s potential by placing one in the back of the net against the Rangers.

A sensational goal!

Stemming from Craig Johnston’s inspiration from the curvature and spin of a table tennis bat upon impact with the ball, the first line of Predator featured raised rubber elements, taking the game to new heights. Quite literally…

Designed to provide exceptional power and accuracy with every shot, Johnston’s dedication to his craft paved the way for players to master techniques such as the Straight Curl and classic Chip Shot with greater ease than ever before.

Complete with a Kangaroo leather upper, a material adidas have now begun to phase out due to lack of sustainability, the Predator provided the player with a durable, yet soft and comfortable feel and fitting in a compact form factor.

Fun Fact: The Predator weighed a staggering 391 grams– A damn sight heavier than the current Predator Edge that sits at a much lighter 260g!

’95 -The Predator Rapier

In a nod to the Predator’s acceptance as a silo set to stay, adidas a year after unveiling their first Predator boot created the notorious Predator Rapier.

Sporting essentially the same design as the 1994 original Predator, the Rapier for ’95 provided players with the addition of a fold-over tongue to make placing the boots on feet much easier, whilst delivering a ‘close to the ball’ feel.

The Predator Rapier1995

The most exciting aspect of the ’95 Rapier?

It was the first football boot to offer its players a range of different colourways, with the addition of a limited edition white colourway.

Fun Fact: If it weren’t for the Rapier, adidas would not have kickstarted colourful colourways and football pitches wouldn’t be as vibrant or dynamic as they are today.

’96 The Predator Touch

Two years after its inception into the sporting world, adidas continued to refine and tweak the praiseworthy Predator, and gave rise to the Predator Touch in 1996.

Little did we know that the silo that would soon kickstart the career of none other than David Beckham.

Having heard rave reviews of the boots from fellow players, the football star requested for adidas to supply him with a pair just in time for the opening fixture against Wimbledon.

The result?

adidas had only one Size 8 boot available set aside for Rangers Charlie Miller, and even had his name embroidered onto the tongue.

The ’96 adidas Predator Touch as worn by Ranger’s Charlie Miller

Beckham got some stick for this in the dressing room, but it didn’t stop the Midfielder from securing one of the best goals in Premier League history, as he plotted the ball into the back of the net from the halfway line to kickstart his journey with the Predator.

It was here Beckham and the Predator became one of the most iconic duos that the football world had ever seen.

’98 The Predator Accelerator

Launched in 1998, adidas continued to upgrade the design of their Predator range with the Predator Accelerator– a boot to feature an-all new Traxion soleplate with accompanying bladed studs and altered lacing.

Where once there had been centered lacing to the upper of the boot, adidas now placed a much cleaner-looking A-symmetrical lacing system to offer players a larger & more refined striking zone.

The Predator Accelerator1998

The rubberized elements we saw on the boot’s predecessor, The Predator Touch, had been significantly reduced to provide a more uniform silo, enabling the textured elements to sit flush alongside the kangaroo leather upper.

Not only this, but adidas’ placement of their signature three stripes dominated the landscape of the boot, to form a wraparound design that remains one of the most iconic looks to ever grace the world stage.

2000- The Predator Precision

Who can forget the Predator Precision -the boot that delivered us the sensational free kick by Beckham against Greece in the golden era of 2000…

Never before had a boot so rightly lived up to its name . ‘Precision’ at its finest.

Sporting a bigger tongue, this time with Velcro, adidas made it their mission to ensure the contact zone consistently delivered a much sought-after close-to-the-ball feel with every strike.

Remember those rubber elements we saw adidas use on the accelerator? These became more fin-like and reduced in size to cover less of the forefoot, but adidas utilized just enough material to provide the player with the power and precision that the Predator was known for.

But whilst an excellent boot, adidas hadn’t quite anticipated their Velcro would stop working when it got worn and dirty, but considering its iconic history, we can let that slide.

Player of the Year Boot worn by Zidane – 2000

Fun Fact: The Predator Precision became the first predator to feature interchangeable Traxion studs, allowing players to tailor their game based on pitch conditions and positions they played.

’02 – Predator Mania

Quite possibly the most recognisable boot in the Predator series- the 2002 Predator Mania.

Delivering a much larger fold-over tongue, the Mania provided players with greater coverage of the laces and utilized a rubberized band to keep the tongue in place (A significant improvement over the Velcro used for the Precision boot!)

The adidas Predator Mania x Zidane -2002

The rubberized elements again became an area of focus, where this time they were designed to only cover the inside of the forefoot, with the signature three stripes again placed to the outsole.

Featuring a split soleplate, adidas looked to reduce the weight of the boot, bringing it down to 325g, a significant 17% weight reduction since the release of their first Predator, making the boot the lightest of its day!

Not only this, but the addition of the heel counter provided players with a focus on providing support to the heel and ankle and went on to help Zidane score one of the greatest Champion League goals of all time- a sensational volley against Bayer Leverkusenin at the 2002 Final.

Not only this, but the welcome addition of a heel counter provided players with a previously neglected focus on

’17 – The Predator 18

Following on from a 3-year hiatus, the Predator made its return at the end of 2017 to give us the “18+” – the first laceless Predator and one to feature a super-soft PRIMEKNIT upper with a control skin that provided excellent grip.

The adidas Predator 18+ Late 2017

The infamous rubber elements?

These came to be replaced with intricate ridges across the toe box to provide better contact with the ball, whilst a flexible stretchy sock-fit collar enabled a more locked-in feel.

adidas Predator 18+ Playtest

’20 – The Predator Mutator

After a mixed journey for the Predator, with many revisions made to the boot, in particular concerning the boot’s tongue, lace placement, adjustment of rubberized elements and incorporation of a split soleplate, the Predator Mutator made one of the boldest statements of all.

The rubber elements that the Predator was known for were back and in an entirely new way.

The Predator Mutator – 2020

Showcasing 406 refined miniature spikes across the forefoot of a Demonskin upper, adidas spiced things up with their design for this particular year and even offered players the opportunity to choose from either High or Low-Cut versions for the first time.

The high-cut version in particular, offered an exclusive signature PRIMEKNIT collar for exceptional lockdown.

adidas Predator Mutator 20+ Playtest

’22- Predator Edge

Seeing the spikes removed and replaced with something more fine-tuned to the Predator of old with a lowered collar, the Edge’s colourway takes influence from the 2012 Predator LZ.

The Predator Edge – 2022

A power Facet in the tip of the sole gives more power with every swing, much like the 2006 Predator absolute with its signature POWER PULSE technology.

adidas Predator Edge Playtest

’23 Predator Accuracy

Drawing inspiration from the rubber grip elements featured in iconic models like the Predator Mutator and Edge, the Predator Accuracy incorporated these rubber components and strategically placed across the key strike zones, creating what adidas proudly dubs a “High-Definition” grip structure.

Distinguished by its sleek and seamless design, the Accuracy seamlessly merges the aesthetics of the legendary ’98 World Cup Predator with the finesse of the Precision Euro from 2000, resulting in a truly captivating blend of styles.

Enhancing both form and function, the boot boasts a two-piece Primeknit collar for ultimate comfort and support. Additionally, a cleverly designed metal Power Facet near the forefoot’s tip redistributes weight towards the front, providing an extra punch when striking the ball.

And when it comes to personalization, the Predator Accuracy offers a plethora of colorways to cater to every taste, ranging from vibrant pinks and oranges to refreshing greens. The choices are abundant, making it a delightful dilemma for enthusiasts like us!

adidas Predator Accuracy Playtest

’24 – adidas Predator 24

Adidas really spoilt us for 2024 as the release of the adidas Predator ’24 marked 30 years since the release of the OG Predator.

This masterpiece in football footwear excellence sports a black base, punctuated with vibrant pops of orange and electric yellow accents that hark back to the nostalgia of the 90s. It features a traditional fold-over tongue, enhancing the strike zone on the latest Hybrid Touch 2.0 upper.

While the Predator Accuracy was impressive, the ’24 Pred’s upper takes it a step further. It’s softer, thinner, and less padded, offering players an optimal feel for the ball and enhancing performance.

The evolution of the rubber fins is noteworthy. Influenced by Craig Johnston, they’ve come a long way and are now smoother, yet textured in a way that optimizes grip and spin with every touch.

The Predator ’24 signs off with a revamped soleplate that sees adidas move away from their tried and tested split-sole concept found in the likes of the Predator Accuracy, and instead opts for the Control Frame 2.0.

This design utilizes triangular studs with two bars in the centre, enhancing stability and responsiveness in the mid and forefoot.

This makes locking and detaching from firm ground surfaces an effortless task. Truly, the Predator ‘24 is a testament to Adidas’ commitment to innovation and excellence in football footwear.

adidas Predator ’24 Playtest

Feeling an overwhelming sense of nostalgia?

Let us know in the comments which Predator boots you’ve tried and tested. We’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, be sure to check out our take on the latest adidas Predator ’24 – you won’t want to miss this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *