With the return of adidas Predator in release of the adidas Predator 18 on 29th November 2017 we take a look back at the history of this iconic boot.
From Prototype to Pitch
South African-born Australian former footballer Craig Johnston (Liverpool) retired from the game in 1988 in order to return to his native Australia and help care for his seriously injured sister. Whilst coaching a group of schoolchildren in Australia, he came across the idea of using rubber instead of leather to build ridges on the top of a football boot to, theoretically, aid control of the ball.
Johnston’s early prototypes and designs were initially rejected by various sports shoe manufacturers until he then persuaded German footballers Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner to be filmed using his prototype football boots in snowy conditions.
This was enough to convince adidas to take up Johnston's design.
Predator Models Timeline
In total there have been 13 different adidas Predator models, with the 14th model adidas Predator 18 (Skystalker) released late November 2017.
- Predator (1994)
- Rapier (1995)
- Touch (1996)
- Accelerator (1998)
- Precision (2000)
- Mania (2002)
- Pulse (2004)
- Absolute (2006)
- PowerSwerve (2007)
- Predator X (2009)
- AdiPower Predator (2011)
- Predator Lethal Zones (2012)
- Predator Instinct (2014)
- Predator 18 (2017)
The principle behind the Predator involves attaching rubber strips to the forefoot to increases the speed of the ball from contact. Initially the focus in Predator commercials was on shooting strength, however this developed towards the effect on ball spin and precision.
The original Predators were made of black kangaroo-leather with white stripes and red elements, colours that remain iconic.
Original adidas Predator
The original adidas Predator was made of leather. It featured rubber ridges. It only came in a few colors, black with white stripes and red accents. This remains the iconic colour scheme of the Predator.
adidas Predator Rapier
The Predator Rapiers were the first adidas soccer boots available in different colors with a white and red colour option.
adidas Predator Touch
The Predator Touch introduced rectangular and anatomically placed Traxion (TRX) studs. Until this time studs had always been round.
adidas Predator Accelerator
The Predator Accelerator was released in 1998 to coincide with the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™. The boot was worn by players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham.
adidas Predator Precision
The Predator Precision introduced replaceable Traxion (TRX) studs that were fitted by the tightening of a small screw. Studs were available in various lengths to allow the boot to be adjusted to different ground conditions.
adidas Predator Mania
The Predator Mania was released to coincide with the 2002 FIFA World Cup South Korea and Japan™. Designed with a "Far Eastern" style in mind, the Predator Mania featured sharp angular styling and came in various colour schemes in addition to the traditional black–red design.
adidas Predator Pulse
The Predator Pulse was introduced in late 2003 prior to UEFA Euro 2004 Portugal and was the first boot include what adidas calls the Power Pulse System.
adidas Predator Absolute
The Predator Absolute was introduced in mid-2006 to coincide with the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. The Predator Absolute is the first with changeable PowerPulse innersoles, allowing for the regular 40g innersole and a lighter weight design. adidas made gold/white Predator Absolute for Zinedine Zidane to celebrate his last international tournament
adidas Predator PowerSwerve
With the Predator PowerSwerve in late 2007, adidas introduced a foam material they call Smartfoam to give the Predator element more rebound power, swerve, and improved control through longer ball contact. Scientific tests during development showed that, in comparison to its predecessor, the Predator PowerSwerve achieved up to 8% more swerve and increase of 3% in power behind every shot.
adidas Predator X
The adidas Predator X boots introduced in late 2009 featured Powerspine technology and a new upper material they call Taurus leather. The adidas Predator X football boots are the first Predator to remove the tongue in order to reduce the material between the ball and boot for better ball feel and a more secure fit.
adidas Predator Lethal Zones
Released in May 2012, the adidas Predator Lethal Zones featured a SprintFrame and stud configuration found in several other ranges such as the adidas adipure and adidas F50 adiZero. The adidas Predator Lethal Zones included five Predator zones design for first touch, dribble, drive, pass and sweet spot.
adidas Predator Instinct
The Predator Instinct was released to coincide with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. A black and white colourway named Battle Pack was inspired by the natural instinct of predatory animals.
adidas Predator 18
Available from 29th November 2017.