adidas Predator 19+

In the hallowed halls of boot lore, there are only a few silos that are seen as one of the forefathers of modern boots. The number of those legends that still exist in this day is extremely small. Most have fallen by the wayside as they give way to something newer, better, lighter, or simply more visually appealing. The adidas Copa, with newfound vigor and focus, appears ready to continue its exceedingly long tenure. The Nike Mercurial doesn’t seem anywhere near the end of its time. The Nike Tiempo, always wrapped in leather and always befitting of the name stays strong. Then, we have the Adidas Predator: a boot built to power its way into the market, onto player feet, and into a generation of soccer hearts.

After its slight departure for the well-received ACE (a boot that helped herald in a new age of adidas boots), the Predator made its way back into boot contention last year with the Predator 18. Despite some debate about whether that boot truly embodied everything we missed about the Predator, it was well-received, well-reviewed, and saw a world of old and new fans alike welcome the Predator moniker back with open arms. With 2019 now fully upon us, and the inevitable update of all of the boots under the adidas roof, we were quite anxious to see which direction the Predator decided to take. A step back towards the ACE? Or, a step or two back to the power-hungry tanks of Predators-gone-by?

We’re a little worried that we didn’t get either of those things, but we’ve taken our time, put the new Predator 19+ through its paces, and reached a verdict.

The Look

Since the launch of the Predator, we’ve seen several looks for the boots. Whether there wasn’t enough change or not between the 18 and the 19, we still love the look. We certainly have a personal favorite, but they all have serious merit. There are still those who wouldn’t be willing to make the shift over to the newest Predator, but the first few colorways have already covered enough ground to make sure that every prospective shopper might find something they could live with.

Sadly, the biggest negative aspect of the boot (it’s lack of change) is only heightened by the way the newest Predator looks. The biggest change appears to be a light addition to the heel and some change around the ridges on the forefoot. It’s almost like adidas has highlighted the only changes we’re seeing on the new boot. Although, to be fair, without the color change on the ridges and the fairly obvious heel, we’d think that this was a boot whose only change involved the name.

When you sneak under the Predator, the stud pattern is completely identical to what we saw from the last Predator. The studs are all various sized diamonds with the design/look of the soleplate keeping with the aesthetic that we saw on the Predator 18. As with all of the newer adidas models, the boots no longer claim the ability to handle FG or AG types of surfaces, but we’ve mentioned that adidas has recently really upped their turf/indoor game. If there was ever a time where it would be great to have both an FG and turf boot, adidas has certainly made now the perfect time.

The Touch

When we first started to hear whispers that the Predator would be coming back with the Predator 18, there were so many questions. Would the Predator moniker be given a worthy boot? Would the boot hearken closer to the Predators of old or would they look like the next big step from the ACE line? Then, perhaps the biggest question, would the boot be worth our time? Well, the 2018 Predator was a success, and the boot world did find themselves warming to the rediscovered legend. There were a few qualms that were mentioned. Some thought the boot sat closer to an ACE successor than the next step in Predator evolution. There were others that felt the Predator was the wrong canvas to paint on with the laceless adidas brush.

All in all, the Predator 18 was a high quality boot, but it really just whet the appetite for where adidas might take the storied boot next.

With the Predator 19+, despite trying to sense any of the smallest differences, the boot performs exactly like the previous model. With the continued use of PrimeKnit by adidas, the Predator offers a soft, smooth feel on the ball. No matter whether you find yourself playing out of the back, bossing the midfield, or pushing the attack, the Predator is going to offer a smooth feel on the ball that gives a consistent quality towards a buttery, soft touch without ever dampening your time on the ball. Even on the parts of the boot that are ridged, you never feel that the boot is going to be too thick and hamper your time on the ball.

When the drills kick in or the first whistle blows, the Predator is a blast to ping passes or smash shots. The PrimeKnit still offers a great blend of being soft, but thin enough to offer what modern players demand from their boots. Expect passes to pop off the boot and receiving the ball to be incredibly supple. When you decide to unleash your best towards the keeper, the Predator might not reach the shooting heights of those Preds of old, but you are still going to love the cannon blast that you feel as you drive through the back of the ball. The ridges aren’t going to feel vastly different on the ball than any other part, but there is some slight change on the strip of exposed PrimeKnit that runs where the typical tongue would sit. It’s still quite soft, but striking the ball there offers much more of a warm, soft sensation than the ping you get from the rest of the boot.

We’ve already said it, and we’ll continue to mention it, it’s a great boot to use, but these are all things that we said (in very similar ways) to the Predator 18. We love it (but we wanted so much more!).

The Predator 19+ still falls into the one issue that has been facing the laceless adidas revolution since the beginning: lockdown. We worry that by mentioning this on each laceless review that some of you worry that the boot will feel as loose as an old sock, but what we’re really talking about is just an ever-so-slight bit of extra movement that occurs on quick cuts or other intense movements. Adidas still offers a laced version of each of their laceless options, but all of the adidas + models should be able to offer the absolute best aspect of everything that’s involved with a boot. While we mentioned that the Copa 19+ continued the movement forward with adidas+laceless, the lack of change in the new Predator means that there’s still a little bit to be desired from what the 19+ brings to the table.

The Predator’s stud-pattern is built to give you a sturdy base when you’re lining up to launch that crossfield pass or try and destroy a shot from the top of the box. The studs are well placed and designed so that you never find yourself slipping and sliding, even if the field is a little bit soggier than what would be ideal. The only issue you might find is that the size of the studs might have a hard time if the fields you play on are naturally tough to get your studs to actually dig in, or if your typical field is usually more hard-packed dirt than grass. While the other adidas boots might be a safe risk on turf fields, we’d suggest only using the Predator FG on the prescribed surface.

Much like the Predators of old, the newest Predator is built like a tank. Don’t expect the boot to fall prey to any durability issues. We’ve tested the Predator 18+, the 18.1, and the 19+, and none of them look like they’re anywhere close to the end of their lives.

The Feel

Something that adidas has been able to provide consistently across the entirety of their stables for the last several iterations is comfort. In fact, you’d have to go back to some of the original MESSI signature boots to run into an adidas boot that didn’t check every box on the comfort checklist. The Predator 19+ is no different. Although this is another realm where we aren’t really seeing any change, we’re not too concerned as the Predator 18 was a comfortable ride. If the 19 can match up with the previous incarnation out of the box and through break-in, then any player that finally decides to cross over to the Predator world will certainly be pleased.

The Predator 19+ certainly carries over its previous boot’s standard of comfort. Right out of the box, there’s a bit of stiffness in the soleplate and some tight spots (which, considering the lack of laces, feels completely necessary). This quickly gives way to a quality level of comfort. We certainly weren’t surprised, and we’re definitely glad that this is one area where adidas didn’t change too much. Adidas made a big deal about the inclusion of BOOST technology in the insole of the reincarnated Predator, but it’s so minimal that we didn’t really notice. This is certainly the one arena for the Predator 19+ where the decision to keep things the same didn’t show up as any kind of negative. It doesn’t matter what you change or what you leave the same, if the boot feels like a brick on your feet, then it’s going to be trashed.

The stiff nature of the soleplate on the Predator 19+ is something that’s only present because of a desire to offer a high level of responsiveness. The boot’s plate will soften up a bit during use, but you’re not going to ever get to the point where you can fold this boot completely in on itself. We noticed that stiffness during the first wear, but it faded quickly as it blends with the general build and function of the boot.

Verdict

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

This might be the most difficult boot I’ve ever had to write about in this section. The current adidas Predator 19+ will run you around $275, but SoccerPro.com currently has the newest adidas power offering available for $250. Still, it’s tough to make it feel like a great purchase option when you can save a significant amount of money by simply hunting down any remaining Predator 18 boots instead of springing for the Predator 19.

WHO’S WEARING IT

The newest Predator can be found on nearly every major pitch the world over. Whether with laces or without, it would be certainly the exception instead of the rule to see a full 90 minutes pass by without the Predator 19 making its presence felt on the pitch. Look for Arsenal’s midfield maestro Ozil to rock them (whenever he actually plays), Manchester United’s Pogba to blast shots with them, and a host of other professionals to showcase the latest and greatest from the three stripes every time they hit the field.

FINAL VERDICT

The Predator 19+ is still a very good boot. If you’re in the market for a quality laceless option and you’re looking for a boot that does feel like it adds that extra wallop and cushion whenever you drive through a ball, the Predator is a great choice. However, nearly every issue we have with this boot is derived from how little adidas has actually changed from the 2018 version. Outside of a heel counter change and some slightly altered visuals, this is just a re-packaged Predator 18+. For a brand that just went crazy with the Copa and is only a few years removed from shelving their entire collection due to lack of creativity, it’s a shock. We’ll let you decide: is it a testament to the boot that it’s still a great option with the minimal change? Or, is this a whiff of epic proportions by the three stripes for not adding anything to such a storied boot? We know where we stand.

 

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