BOOT TALK - ADIDAS
Our resident boot nerd dives into some pieces of the adidas boot world, as we give those at home a little bit of reading to chew up their quarantine time.
PREDATOR, IT'S BACK!
There was that period that all boot connoisseurs remember: when the Predator was no longer. Even before the silo was killed off, and after it was re-introduced to the wild, the Predator was lifeless. It had lost all it once stood for - being
the badass of the boot world.
2014 saw the introduction of the Predator Instinct, after two generations of the Lethal Zones series. The Instinct was the last Predator boot, prior to adidas reviving the silo in 2018 with the Predator coming back in the form of a laceless variation (+) and it’s laced counterpart (.1).
Many viewed this reincarnation of the Predator akin to putting a Porsche badge on a Mazda. It had the ‘Predator’ label, but not it’s spirit.
“Now here with the 2020 Mutator, we feel like we’ve really reset the Predator journey with the right DNA.”
The man behind it all. Ben Herath, who led the charge in re-igniting the Predator spirit, wanted to maintain the DNA of the old, whilst re-inventing the boot with the new. "We took the Predator 18 as a starting point and we thought about how we could infuse it with real DNA from the Predator. It was a question of how do we bring more of that personality, performance, innovation, and spirit of the Predator into the new design”.
Ben Herath - VP of Design at adidas
Primeknit would always be a front runner for the base upper material. It is highly commercially viable for adidas to use this on the Predator, as it is not only cost effective to produce, but also reaps bountiful benefits for the player. Flexible, malleable, strong, and comfortable.
“...we felt that the Primeknit material that we created on the 18 was a great starting point for the design, but for us it was all about the haptics, all about the texture, the grip, thinking about what we could do in combination with that Primeknit. Primeknit is soft, its pliant, it’s flexible, adaptable, but then how do we add grip to that while also not detracting from the Primeknit offers.”
The marketing material from adidas exclaimed ‘IT’S BACK’ when re-launching the Predator in 2018. Back then that didn’t quite fit. It took a couple years, and now it fits like a glove.
COPA - PAST, NOW PRESENT
It seems adidas have a habit of taking the old, and turning into the new again. But when a brand has such a rich history of pioneering the game with ‘ahead of its time’ products, it’s all you could ask for them to continue doing!
The current Copa silo is just the perfect example. No matter how you look at football boots, leather will always be a part of the game. This naturally occurring material was chosen by our games forefathers for a reason. Ask any footballer and they’ll say the first benefit of leather is how comfortable it is.
This comfort also coincides with how the leather offers a close fit, as it’s able to mould to the shape of the foot. As it’s a naturally occurring material, you’re able to break down it down to a microscopic level, and literally change the structure of it - hence why we call it ‘breaking it in’. This allows for it to shape to your foot, offering you the fit only a leather boot could ever offer.
Adidas’ Copa 20+ is the current pinnacle of leather football boot innovation. Mixing super soft k-leather with a laceless construction offers an incredible playing experience, further solidifying leathers spot in the game. The FusionSkin construction works brilliantly in providing lockdown in it’s laceless nature, but also in creating a uniform transition from synthetic to leather.
The touch on the ball? Surreal. Leather always provides a forgiving and natural feel on the ball. Synthetics are great for a thin and barefoot sensation on the ball. But there will always be that level of class you feel when receiving, passing, dribbling, and hitting that hollywood pass into space to your no.9.
Something has us way more keen to see what adidas do with the Copa 21 series, than what they’ll do with the other silos. How they’ll one-up on the Copa 20+ is one big task, but you can trust adidas to continue innovating the game with the new, whilst still maintaining the DNA of the past.
FOR A RAINY DAY
The modern innovations in soleplate moulds renders SG (Soft Ground) boots a bit more undesirable than before. But you’d be very mistaken in writing off their spot in your boot bag. When the gaffer says to bring ‘a pair of studs’, he means a pair of Soft Grounds.
SG soleplates offer the most traction on wet surfaces, due to their aggressive nature. FG (Firm Ground) moulds are unable to match SG configurations in providing the stability and ‘bite’ required when the ground is too ‘soft’, due to either being too long, or the waters are falling from the heavens.
Have you worn some SG’s yet? It may seem a bit grim now, but our chances of getting some football in the rain still lives on. When football gets the green light to go back on, you should heavily consider joining the gang of those who invest in a good pair of Soft Grounds.
THE 'X' FACTOR
It was a sad day when adidas culled the F50. The introduction of the X silo saw a new generation of speed boots, but it just wasn’t quite what the boot world wanted. But since the introduction of the X18 series for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, many of those who once adored the F50, were back on the X bandwagon.
Every one of these boots here from the F50 family, has paved the way for the X to exist today. It’s safe to say that every generation, no matter how good (F50 adiZero IV) or bad (definitely the TUNiT series), gave something for the X to exist today.
In theory, speed boots are quite simple. A general speed boot wearer would say that they require an upper which provides a thin, barefoot touch on the ball, and a responsive and ‘snappy’ soleplate.
It’s safe in saying the current generation of X offerings provide sufficiently in these much needed departments of the speed boot realm. This is for both the laceless, and laced variations of the silo. But the question on many boot nerds minds would be of course, ‘whats next’? It’s closer to us than we think, but what could the X20 series bring to us? In the big battle between the X and the Nike Mercurial series, will adidas be able to pull a magic rabbit out the hat, and blow the speed boot race away like they did with the much loved F50 adiZero? 2020 has been a massive year for boots so far, and it seems it’ll only get better...
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