Hot off the pitch is the latest incarnation of the Adidas Predator, the Predator Lethal Zones, and Adidas have made major design changes for this model. The first thing you notice about these shoes is the unique look and the fact they only weight 225 grams. The 5 Lethal Zones are mounted rubber of different textures and their orange color really pops against the blue base of these boots. You’re also going ot notice a much lower profile than you may have seen on previous Adidas predators as the shoe tapers down from a high heel cup into a low toebox. The traditional Adidas three stripe design is featured on the heel and helps to give these soccer cleats a more aggressive look. But lets get down to business.
The upper on these Predators has been completely redesigned and is all synthetic. Recent incarnations of the predator line have all featured natural leather of some sort, and this is sure to rub some players the wrong way, but in truth the original predator soccer shoes were rubberized synthetic, and I like the fact they are getting back to basics. The Predator was originally developed to give the best strike on the ball possible, and while leather can give a great touch and feel, it’s not really going to help you direct the ball one way or another. The five Lethal Zones on the upper of these boots are designed to help different aspects of your game.
First up we have the zone right on the top of the outside of your foot, nearest to the base of your little toe. This zone is designed to help you dribble the ball up the by using ribs that are spaced out evenly to get most grip and traction on the ball surface in the smallest possible area. For my part, I did notice that I felt the contact with the ball on the ribs and enjoyed the spin it put on my outfoot shot, but I dribble with the inside of my foot so it wasn’t much use to me.
Second up we have the zone covering the top of your toes. Now this area is covered with recessed ribs, which are shaped differently than the ones on the rest of the boot, and textured to have a gap in the middle of each one. Designed to cushion to ball as it hits your foot, and I can say that its does absorb and distribute the force of the ball along the shoe well. Each individual gap in the ribs is also supposed to have a “vacuum” effect that help the ball stick to your foot and kill it immediately. Now I’m pretty sure that’s not physically possible, and if this effect does exist, I doubt you’d be able to perceive it as the little spaces can’t create much suction. I certainly didn’t notice it, but the “control pad” effect itself is helpful and really similar to the Nike CTR360 Maestri. Basically, it takes the stings out of passes.
Moving on the zone sitting around your big toe, called the sweet-spot, is designed to give you longer contact on the ball when your shooting enhancing the spin you’re already putting on the ball. This doesn’t mean the ball will spin just because you strike it with this element, but I definitely felt like the ball was spinning faster and curving more while I was wearing these boots. I also noticed that this zone gives your big toe a little bit more protection under the light upper so if you’re playing with a harder ball or on a cold day you’re not gonna get that stinging feeling after you really wallop the ball towards goal.
Next up is the zone on top of your forefoot, which is built with the midfielder in mind. The ribs on this area of the shoe have a rougher texture deigned to give maximum contact on the ball no matter the conditions and follows the natural curve of your instep. This part of the shoe is built to give the contact and power need to feed long, accurate passes forward as you move up through the midfield on the run and its one of my favorite parts of theses Adidas soccer cleats. It also covers the majority of the area where the traditional Predator element sits, and yes, you can use it to strike to ball and get some extra grip for a long range shot. I found it felt really clean when I struck the ball, especially on free kicks, and I imagine Beckham, Nani, and the other pros will love it as much as I do.
Control and Pass
The last zone on the new Adidas Predators is on the instep of the shoe and is designed to work the same as the control fins on a Nike CTR360 Maestri. Its the only zone that doesn’t feature “ribs,” outlined in orange, and is made from memory foam. As we all know, memory is great at absorbing energy and incredibly comfortable on your foot (mt bed is made from this stuff and its truly amazing). It works just as it should, really helped me control passes, and fits like a glove. The only bad thing I can say about it is that there isn’t more of it covering the rest of the shoe as I truly love the feel of it. However, these shoes will need some break-in time as the “dribble” and “sweet spot” zones can rub a little bit until they’ve molded around your foot. And one other caveat boys and girls, don’t use the hot water trick on these babies, the glue that holds them together can take the heat and it will shorten their lifespan.
These predator soccer shoes feature the Adidas Sprintframe soleplate with an F50 adizero cleat pattern and miCoach pods. I like this sole plate, as its lightweight and gives great energy return so you can feel the cleats coming up to meet your foot on the run and you won’t get bogged down. The TRAXION stud pattern also gives you decent acceleration is wet and dry conditions and I had no problems biting in to the ground with them on. The center cleat is also nice as it gives you foot a bit of extra support and when combined with the comfort-style insoles they come with, makes for a smooth ride. The miCoach compatibility is also nice, and its interesting to see how your stats measure up against the pros.
Overall, these are decent successor to the Adidas adipower, and a worthy addition to the predator line that combines the heritage of an iconic shoe with the latest in light weight technology. Just be sure to allow some break in time as they can rub a little bit at first and cause you some discomfort. They run $220 USD, but you can order them from our affiliate partner, SoccerPro.com, right now for 10% off. Just follow this link or click the image above.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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