adidas launch new Predator Freak with even more 'Demonskin'
"Predator is about control"
The adidas Predator is a boot that evokes a feeling of nostalgia. The likes of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Zinedine Zidane spraying inch perfect passes, whipping in inviting crosses and scoring outrageous free kicks, with the help of that iconic fold-over tongue is an image that will make so many football fans yearn for the early 2000s.
But football boots have evolved. Gone are the days of the fold-over tongues and heavy leather. The technology is now so much more advanced, making the boots more lightweight, but maintaining the same level of control. That is, after all, why the retro boots were designed that way: for control.
So how do you modernise a football boot and make it super lightweight, while retaining that element of control? In short: Lose the laces and add some spikes.
That is what adidas did last year with the adidas Mutator and they have gone even further with the newly unveiled Preadtor Freak.
The spikes come in the form of 'DEMONSKIN', a technology adidas first unveiled this time last year on the Predator boot. It comprises a layer of rubber spikes - calibrated by a computer algorithm - laid in a formation that aligns to key contact points with the ball.
Having tested last year's version first hand, I can attest to their efficacy. It felt bizarre not to see the ball bounce off my feet. But don't take my word for it, just ask Paul Pogba, who said: “From first wear, I knew adidas had created something special with their DEMONSKIN material. As soon as I touched the ball, I really felt a difference in the way my foot connected."
And this year they've gone one step further, adding even more DEMONSKIN to the boot, for even better control using both sides of your foot.
"Predator is about control," says Artur Markowski, Senior Product Manager at adidas football.
"What we're focusing on is how the shoe interacts with the ball. Even though the shoe is lighter, due to the engineering, we can give the same durability with different materials that might not have been possible in the 1990s or early 2000s."
"There is a heritage of rubberised control elements in the Predator family," he explains. "So it wasn't completely new to the players."
"When we develop a new product, there is a lot of prototyping and a lot of feedback rounds. Players' feedback is taken into consideration. And not just from a certain league, we go globally to different players, male and female, amateur and professional."
Another key addition to the Predator Freak is the 'split-cut collar design' - essentially an elasticated entrance separated into two parts to make them easier to put on.
"The material we're using is still primeknit, the construction has changed though. It's now two pieces, and you can pull it on the tongue and the heel, so you can more easily get into the shoe," Markowski explains, just to put any laceless-sceptics minds at rest.
The boot will be worn by global superstars including Paul Pogba, Toni Duggan, Marc-Andre Ter Stegan, David Alaba and Abby Dahlkemper and is available now.