Favored by many attackers and midfielders for decades, the adidas Predator silo is one of the most popular designs to have ever hit the shelves. Since manufacturing the first modern football cleats, way back in 1950, adidas has led the industry in terms of innovation, function, durability, and comfort for the better part of the century. Though adidas hit their stride early on, they haven’t stopped evolving their line; continually using new materials and construction methods to produce boots that are lightweight, responsive, comfortable, and provide excellent traction. Perhaps the biggest leap forward in company history was when they released the original Predator design in 1994.

 

In the Beginning

The first run Predators were a basic black with adidas’ white three band design. Not drastically unlike other soccer cleats on the market, the original Predator design included one major advantage–they featured raised rubber ridges on the toe and striking area to help put maximum spin on shots and passes, and to increase control while ball handling. This innovation came from a one-time Liverpool player, named Craig Johnston, who was at the time coaching youth soccer in Australia. He took his idea to a number of footwear companies, but adidas was the only brand to see the promise of Johnston’s idea, and the rest is history.

Rise to Dominance

With added control and the ability to put more spin on the ball, Predator cleats became a hit with everyone from youth players to international superstars. The likes of David Beckham and Zinédine Zidane wore the latest Predators as they rose to international superstardom. Over the years, the Predator continued to evolve. From a flip-down tongue to offset laces for a larger striking area, K-leather uppers, and a variety of stud configurations, the Predator was constantly changing, while staying firmly established as the top playmakers’ cleat.

Cancellation

All this came to an abrupt end in 2015 when adidas decided to scale its soccer cleats line down to two main silos, the ACE and the adidas X. Though there was

beauty in the simplicity of this move, many longtime fans of the Predator were disappointed. Both the ACE and X were and are incredible adidas soccer boots, but something about the aggressive and confident design of the Predator was sorely missed.

Return to the Big Stage

Luckily for fans of the Predator, adidas relaunched the line in 2017 and included remakes of classic boots from the 90s, as well as ultra-modern designs that borrowed a lace-less lockdown system from the ACE. Predators are now even more lethal on the pitch than they were when they were first introduced over 25 years ago, as the newest addition to the family, the adidas Predator Mutator, demonstrates. Many superstars have chosen to wear adidas Predator boots on the world’s biggest stages. Athletes like Ivan Rakitić, Paul Pogba, Fabinho, and Dele Alli have put Predators back in the spotlight.

 

Predator Tech Throughout the Years

Every leading soccer boot company attempts to think ahead of the curve. Players are always searching for footwear that promises better performance on the pitch, and constantly evolving sports science and technology allows manufacturers to make performance improvements and add innovative features to every new design. Of course, not all of these ideas stick (e.g., replaceable studs), but many of them, including textured striking areas, sock-like liners, sewn-in tongues, and flexible outsoles, have become standard issue on many silos.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the advances the Predator silo has pioneered over the years:

1994

The most noteworthy design characteristic of the original Preds would definitely be the rubber ridges, or “fins” on the striking area and top of the foot. A bit awkward-looking compared to modern textured striking areas, they did achieve their intended goal of increasing swerve and touch response.

1998

In 1998 the Predator Accelerator hit the market with a load of new features, including a TRX (traxion) outsole, asymmetrical lacing, and remodeled fore-foot rubber vamps that took the place of the classic Pred fins.

2000

The new millennium ushered in a new cleat design. The Predator Precision featured removable studs so that players could change their cleats to match the field conditions on any given day. A good idea in theory, there were occasional issues with studs coming loose during play. Needless to say, this idea didn’t catch on.

2003

The Predator Pulse introduced one of the first sock liner designs in 2003. Made to improve fit, responsiveness, comfort, and overall performance, sock liners have been available on numerous releases ever since.

2007

The 2007 Predator Powerswerve was created with input from one of soccer’s biggest superstars, French midfielder Zinedine Zidane. They featured a high-tech Smartfoam striking area. Smartfoam was supposed to allow for a longer contact time, without power loss, allowing you to put more spin on the ball. It’s another great idea on paper that didn’t catch on.

2009

A “back to basics” cleat, 2009’s Predator X featured a new Powerspine technology that gives the right amount of added rigidity, which helps transfer power into every shot.

2011

The last big step forward before cancellation, the adiPower Predator introduced the lightweight Sprint Frame outsole. These cleats also had raised fins with different configurations on different

parts of the foot. These evolved in subsequent years into Lethal Zone or LZ technology.

2017

The Predator 18 and the designs that follow it draw from the rich history of the silo, while also incorporating technological advances from the Ace and X. A Controlskin / Predatorskin / Demonskin textured striking area, a lightweight and breathable Primeknit upper with optional Sockfit collar, and cutting-edge outsoles make these new Preds absolute beasts on the pitch.