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Creative: Pro:Direct / Photography: Pro:Direct / Words: Pro:Direct

With every new adidas Predator launch comes hype. This iconic silo is one of the greatest innovations in football product history meaning when that hype rolls into town it’s flanked by its old pals expectation and pressure. How do you make the game’s most celebrated football boot better? We’ve been knocking about in a pair for a while now to find out if that’s even possible…

Mention the word Predator in any changing room and players immediately think of control, touch, power and whip. The Predator legacy has been built on being able to offer something that other boots cannot – genuine, game-enhancing technology. Step up the Predator Edge+, the boot tasked with carrying the Predator baton into a massive year of domestic and international football.



Out The Box


First impressions of the adidas Predator Edge+ football boots? Slide them out the box and our first impression is that you’re holding one of the most advanced pieces of boot technology on the market. They feel every bit as futuristic and loaded as they look. If you’re from a generation that drooled over the glory years of the Mania and Accelerator then there’s a lot to take in, but have an open mind to colourways and this is a step towards that authentic Predator technology – we’ll back this up later, promise. If you’re a bit younger and favoured the likes of the Lethal Zones, then you’ll be all over this.

In short, this is one seriously aggressive piece of kit. Every part of the boot is scientifically backed with shooting, passing, bending and power technology. It looks like a loaded weapon and you can’t help but run your fingers down those new strategically positioned rubber Zone Skin panels.

Anyone still piping up that a Predator can’t be a Predator without a tongue? There’s always a couple. Trust us, we love the OGs as much as anybody but there’s a reason why technologies evolve, because better ones replace them.

Related Article: Which Predator Edge Price Point Should I Buy? What Are The Differences?

On Feet

Everything about the Edge+ is unmistakably Predator. There’s a sudden urge to grab a bag of footballs, set up camp on the edge of the box and launch a curling assault on both top corners. For us, that’s a feeling that every single Predator release should give you, and if it doesn’t then it just ain't Predator enough.

We’ve opted for the elite laceless Edge+ for this review, of course the Predator Edge is also available in a laced and low-cut silhouette too, but we’ve gone for laceless edition to see what the full weight of adidas innovation is all about.

Getting the boots on you feet? Easy to be honest. We’ve done some pretty messed up dancing trying to get laceless boots on in the past but the Predator Edge+ goes on pretty quickly and delivers that trusted locked-in, harnessed sensation once you’re in. The type of feeling that makes the boots feel like an extension of your feet, like a part of you. Is that a weird thing to say? Probably.

Related Article: 7 Things You Need To Know About The Predator Edge+



The first thing you'll notice if you wore the previous Freak and Mutator generations is that the collar on the Edge+ feels far more natural. The previous generations were a little bit intimidating to look at because of the height, but the Predator Edge+ puts an end to that with a cut that adds that bit of extra harnessing without feeling awkward or intrusive.


Which fit should you go with? We’d go true-to-size with these. No need to go up or down half a size. If you’re big into your speed boots and have narrow feet then you might find that the Predator has a little bit more space inside due to the shooting tech almost holding the boot up rather than letting the material drop onto your foot. We don’t want to say you’ll find them bulky because that isn’t the case, but due to the nature of modern speed boots, they will feel a tad more layered, but still, seriously lightweight.

Related Article: The Key Differences Between the Predator Edge vs Predator Freak

Balls Out

The Zone Skin vamps might feel a bit stiffer than the previous Freak and Mutator editions when you first put them on, but go with it as after a few sessions the boot feels like it begins to soften to your foot. So at first, expect the rubber vamps to be a little ‘grippy’ when you’re dribbling but this will improve quickly and the ball will begin to feel natural while still being influencing by that control tech.

The new Facet Frame soleplate delivers ideal traction for changing pace at speed and offer the perfect platform for stability. It’s split into two piece so also offers decent flexibility too.

All good so far, the feet feel locked in and harnessed in the Predator Edge, the boots feel lightweight and you can feel the Zone Skin vamps take the zip out of receiving a pass or absorbing the speed when plucking a ball out of the air. A little stiff? Potentially, but this will soften, trust us.



Shooting


Yeah, this is what you came for. If you’ve just landed on this article and scrolled straight to this bit then fair play, and welcome.

What can we say about the change of rubber spikes to rubber vamps? The best way to describe it would be that on the Predator Freak it felt like the rubber spikes were placed on top of the boot, whereas on the Predator Edge it feels like the shooting technology is actually part of the boot. Extensive research at Loughborough Uni proved that the vamps are more effective at influencing control, touch, power and swerve than the rubber spikes and that’s been backed by player feedback.

The biggest compliment we can give the Edge+ is that it feels like a Predator. Does it feel like it adds extra whip and power to your shots? Yeah, it does. The vamps genuinely influence the swerve when you strike across the ball. Whether you’re bending the ball around a wall or playing a long pass in-behind down the line from full back the pass is genuinely aided by the technology in the upper. Obviously, you’ve got to have that in your locker in the first place, but if you have then you will feel a difference compared to other boots. It just feels easier to put spin on the ball.

That shooting tech is a reminder to us of why adidas invented the Predator technology back in the mid 90s. It works. And it sounds cheesy, but it’s fun. Trying to bend free kicks all day long in the Predator is as enjoyable now as it was as a kid in the Manias. No other boot is as fun to do that in.

Verdict

The identity of the Predator on feet has never been stronger. Saying the Predator is ‘back’ would be unfair to the Freak or Mutator but the Edge+ does feel like an upgraded edition, a natural progression. If you’re after a boot that allows you to maximise your influence on spinning the ball and control, all lovingly wrapped up in harnessed lightweight comfort, then this is it. 

Shop the full adidas Predator Edge football boots collection here.