Whenever adidas decides to drop a Super-Light version of any of their boots, it immediately gets all of us here at The Instep excited. When you take boots that are intriguing to begin with, made of high quality materials, and then you up the ante with some new features and a lighter listed weight…things are going to get interesting! The Predator LZ II SL has a high standard to live up to with me as the original LZ SL is still one of my all-time favorite boots to play in, so I was anxious to throw these out on the pitch and start testing. Would they prove to be worth the extra $50? Or would the top-end LZ prove that the low player uptake is merely because the normal LZ II is better?
Nothing makes a first impression in terms of non-limited releases like the adidas SL box. Bigger than a normal shoe-box and a slightly see-through finish on the box hints at the awesome boots and extras that are waiting inside. For testing, I received the colorway labeled “Black with Solar Slime,” while the boot should actually be called “Black with Fruit Loops” or something like that. If you are okay with owning bright boots, these definitely fit the bill. The groups that I play footy with know that I test boots, but they were definitely more curious about the LZ II SL and noticed very quickly that I was wearing a new pair of boots. Coupling the bright zones with the black sheen of the upper makes for a great overall look and helps the boot to look “cool” without being too over the top with color.
After being broken-in (which we will discuss later), the LZ II SL really starts to shine in terms of blending the thin nature of the SpintSkin and rubberized zones. Where the original LZ SL zones felt more like a plastic material and had been greatly reduced from the standard LZ, this version’s zones seems to be identical to what you would find on the standard LZ II. Add in the barefoot feel that the one-layer SprintSkin provides, and you have a blending of the barefoot touch from the upper and a slight added grip that all the zones afford. The zones provide a very different playing experience and gives some added grip wherever they are placed, but the idea that they would improve spin or power is unfounded. Dribbling might actually take a small learning curve with these as the ball might stick to your feet a little more than with another boot, but they are very enjoyable once you have gotten used to the grip.
With striking through a ball, the “drive” zone is perfectly placed and each shot feels great coming off the boot. The Predator has been lacking the thickness of the classic models for some time, so this boot should not surprise anyone when it comes to how it feels driving through a ball. Oddly enough, despite the “pass” zone being my favorite zone of the original LZ, I prefer the way receiving a pass on the instep (not to be confused with our amazing site) feels with the SprintSkin and the updated “pass” zone. The zones on this updated version also feel like they sit seamlessly on the boot and are truly part of the upper instead of the original LZ where the zones could have easily been pasted on the boot after production.
There are some great boots that we get to test here at The Instep, but the LZ II SL is one of those rare boots that has been really, really “fun” to test. The experience has been enjoyable and I have really enjoyed this boot. Although I would love some updated soleplate work, the standard set-up that we have grown to enjoy over the past few seasons is dependable and makes sure that there is not a big problem with traction or stud pressure on this release.
While most may not care and it may not affect how you feel about the boot, I do feel that the placement of the zones on the LZ models would serve as great teaching tools for players that are just beginning. Simply being able to say to strike a ball or dribble a ball where one of the zones have been placed would make it easy for quick instruction and easy for a new player to teach themselves where to place their boot when addressing the ball.
Do not let the Predator moniker fool you on these boots- there is some definite break-in time here. Stiff as a board upon first wear, it took two or three practices before I could keep them on for longer than 20-30 minutes without changing into something already broken-in. However, once the start to break-in and offer some flexibility, the fit of these boots makes for a great ride. The type of boot that is snug around your foot to the point of actually creating a slight warming feeling, the comfort that occurs after a somewhat painful break-in was really impressive. It is also impressive – considering how little stretch the SprintSkin upper offers – that it is so comfortable, but it seemed like these boots really emerged once the stiffness went away. As far as protection, I got hit with a two-footed lunge while wearing these and I feel like I can truly attest to their protection ability. Add in that the culprit was a big high school player that is still learning the game, and I felt the entirety of the tackle right on my toes. Despite the zones and what you might think may add protection, this is a thin boot and you will feel the tackles in a very similar way to an F50 or similar lightweight model. Do not expect the zones and the simple addition of the Predator name to aid you when someone decides to get stuck in…you will feel it.
While the price difference from this to the standard Predator is typically a deal breaker, I feel that adidas may have finally justified the jump! A bag, extra laces, and two different insole choices combine fantastically with a boot that I genuinely prefer to the normal Predator and a boot that actually feels like a better model. If you are a big F50 or speed boot type fan but you want it to be blended with some control elements and Predator aspects, then adidas have provided you with the perfect option. A great release and a boot that, if you have the opportunity to get it, should be a definite purchase! One thing is for sure, I have no plans of moving on from mine anytime soon!
SIZING: Read this as the sizing varies depending on your foot!
While I have read and heard of some people needing to go up half-a-size, I thoroughly enjoyed my LZ II SL in my normal size. If you have used the LZ and you didn’t need it to stretch at all to be comfortable, then true-to-size would also work for you. However, the LZ II SL has almost zero stretch involved with this upper and you should keep that in mind. For most folks, I would suggest true-to-size…but if you are always dependent on your boot stretching a bit to fit just right, going up half-a-size is your best bet.
Check out more about the Predator LZ here.