As we look upon the vast graveyard of discontinued boots, it is quite possible that one silo has the largest headstone that stands above the rest. The extremely popular line from adidas, you may have heard of it, the Predator. The silo is gone too soon and we are all sad to see it go. But let’s not focus on the negatives completely! Lets take a trip down memory lane and look at where the silo came from and where it ended up.
The Predator burst onto the scene in 1994 and was made of leather with rubber elements that were over the upper to help with striking the ball. A fun fact is that the first ever goal in a Predator boot was from John Collins of Celtic in a game against Rangers in April 1994, on a free kick against hated rivals Rangers.
Then in 1995, came the Rapier. The Rapier was the first Predator to also be released in a different color (White and Red) than any other adidas boot as they all used to be of black leather. The white and red colorway was only released in limited quantities. In 1996, we saw the Predator Touch. This is the first time the Predator lineup featured the Traxion studs, which are more rectangular shaped and are placed more anatomically. Although this differed from the old-school stud patterns, some professionals were not as into the switch and adidas also had the old school outsoles available for the pros who preferred a more traditional feel.
In 1998, adidas released arguably the most popular Predator to date. The Accelerator was released to coincide with the World Cup that year in France. Headlined by athletes like Zidane and Beckham, the boot sold like hot cakes. The Traxion studs were improved on this boot, more colorways were available for this generation, and the laces were asymmetrical which all players seemed to love. A popular and amazing boot to say the least.
The Precision was born in 2000 and it featured interchangeable studs for the first time in the lineup. These boots were considered largely disappointing as the reliability of the studs was poor and would often come loose in matches.
Ahead of the 2002 World Cup, the Mania was unveiled and was a huge hit. The soft leather and tongue made these boots very popular for strikers and creative players alike. A red and black colorway was available as well as a “Champagne Gold” color way that David Beckham headlined. My brother had a pair of these and I was one jealous brother when he brought them home from the store.
In late 2003, in anticipation for Euro 2004, the Pulse was released and featured the PowerPulse sock liner, which adidas claimed would make your shots more powerful by shifting the center of gravity towards the point of impact. The original black and red colorway continued with the Predator’s color trend. The Pulse also had the yin-yang David Beckham limited edition boots that were limited to only 723 pairs. The follow up of the Pulse was the Absolute, which had the interchangeable sock liners as well. The boot was released in three colorways, as well as one for Zidane to honor him in his last international matches.
When 2007 came along the Predator evolved into the PowerSwerve which had the Smartfoam that adidas claimed gave the player more rebound player to add more power to you strike. Packed with new technology, the boot was somewhat popular and performed well. In 2010, the Predator X was introduced and it was a game changer. It was the first Predator not to feature the tongue and possessed the new adidas Tauras leather. Adidas claimed this would help with feeling more of the ball by having less material in between the material and foot.
The summer of 2011 saw the birth of the adiPower and featured the Powerspine technology that helped player strike the ball with more power. The Sprintframe outsole that was originally made for the F50 found its way onto the boot. We also saw our first SL (Super Light) boot from adidas as the adiPower was released in a Sprintskin upper to shed weight.
In 2012, we saw the Predator LZ, or Lethal Zones, make its way onto the market. This time the Predator had different zones (First Touch, Dribble, Drive, Pass, and Sweet Spot) that were designed to increase the abilities of the player in different places. It also contained the SprintFrame outsole. We even saw the start of the miCoach cavity on the Predator here too. Another SL model was made in November of 2012, with another Sprinskin upper that weighed an extremely light 7.3 oz. In 2013 came the LZ 2, which was an updated version of the LZ and expanded upon the Lethal Zones with more raised rubber zones.
Last summer, adidas released the Battle Pack, which featured the Predator Instinct, although it was not officially released until later. The new boot was a new take on the lethal zones and had a gel pass pad, raised rubber elements for striking and controlling the ball. This release was more for the control type of player.
Players to wear the Predator silo ranged from Beckham, Zidane, and Xavi to Fernando Torres, Angel Di Maria, Steven Gerrard, and Oscar. The death of the Predator silo was like a King being assassinated before his time. Will the Ace or X take the place of this storied boot? Hard to say as this was one of the most popular boots that has ever graced the soccer field. Predator, you will be missed.