It seems they fall in to two categories – there’s the “Oh my God, what have they done to a once great looking boot” contingent and then there are the “hats off to adidas, a brilliant job” supporters. Of course, most are having to go on looks alone. Even with possession of all the technical data, there’s no substitute for getting a pair of boots on your feet and trying them out for yourself. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing at Footy Boots for the past couple of weeks – putting the Predator X through its paces. So, have adidas come up with a winner or have they created the DeLorean of the football boot world? In my view, there’s no doubt – the Predator X is better.
Comfort / Fit
Some things just feel right from day one and the Predator X is very much part of that category. I was trying a pair in size 8.5 and whilst the boots were ‘off the shelf’ they felt like they had been made bespoke.
The Predator X is one of the most comfortable boots I’ve tried on in many a long year. To simulate the feeling, imagine your Grandad pulling on his faithful old slippers that he bought for 10 shillings and a coupon out of the Daily Mail circa 1970! I first wore these for practice on a pretty hard surface but encountered no blistering what so ever. That’s still true 3 games in.
From the first time you lace the Predator X up, the innersole moulds itself to the foot which, when aligned with the Thermoform technology, produced an incredibly comfortable fit.
Some Predator purists will doubtless bemoan the lack of a fold over tongue but personally, with the asymmetrical lacing / wrap around collar, I felt the fit was snugger than ever.
For the Predator X, adidas have come up with Taurus calf leather which is super soft but also boasts impressive water proof and anti-abrasive qualities. Indeed, it’s so soft that it’s possible that protection levels maybe a little lower than in previous models. Though, having not been stamped on yet I couldn’t say for certain. As with almost all adidas boots, they are well ‘put together’ and while only time will tell, I’m not expecting them to start falling apart any time soon.
With the Predator X, adidas were keen to try and get the players foot as close to the ball as possible. New Opitfit technology achieves that by bringing the upper materials in all areas as close as possible to the top of the foot. It seems to work too. OK, we’re not talking barefoot, beach soccer here but if you feel the need to run at pace with the ball under close control, the Predator X will give you the confidence to do so. Equally, if you’d rather knock the ball off to a team mate, you’ll get a great touch when doing so.
The new kicking zone of the football boot, which is a rugged but lightweight mix of rubber and silicon, is interesting. It looks and feels pretty similar to the material on pimpled table tennis bats and when you strike the ball cleanly on this zone you certainly feel like you’re getting a bit of grip on the ball. The grip clearly will help enable spin and swerve and, as adidas claims, it does seem to be pretty effective when wet as well as dry. The downside for me is the positioning of the Predator element. If I am striking the ball with my body over the ball, like in a deadball situation, I regularly strike on the zone. However most of the time during open play I’m not making contact with the Predator element, so it gets minimal usage.
The new PowerSpine is also a welcome addition for me offering an extra level of rigidity. And, for what it’s worth, I’m not overly sorry to see the back of the PowerPulse element. All that talk of ‘moving Tungsten powder’ brought back too many painful memories of 3rd year chemistry, which I wasn’t that good at (O level, Grade C in case you were wondering).PowerSpine Lab Test
What I felt when running and striking in the Predator X was support the PowerSpine provides. Whilst not being restrictive, it was helping to keep my foot straighter when knocking the ball about and while the increase in power wasn’t overly noticeable, I was pleasantly aware of the extra reinforcement.
I can understand some people’s initial concern with the aesthetics of the Predator X. It does have the look of a football boot draws its inspiration from previous versions rather than standing out as a brand new model. But the more I look at it, the more it grows on me and any concerns you may have will vanish when you get the boots on your feet. They are supremely comfortable and seem to be true to size. The new technology has purpose and succeeds where it needs to. The mantra of the Predator – power, swerve and control – has been adhered to and you certainly can’t accuse the boots of being gimmicky.
I suppose it could be argued that they could be a touch lighter and at £135 they are not cheap. But then, quality rarely is. And these boots are quality.