#TBT RANKING ALL OF ADIDAS’ PREDATOR BOOTS

Has there ever been a more poignant time for nostalgia in soccer? Retro kits have become collectible, sought after pieces of fashion and brands are dipping back into their archives to resurrect classic ware. Just have a look at Man United’s 90’s inspired 2017/18 away kits and more importantly, the recent re-release of the adidas Predator mania. It is with all that warm/fuzzy nostalgia that we take a look back on one of the most iconic and game-changing soccer boots ever, the adidas Predator. We aren’t just taking a look back, we’re ranking them. This is obviously for fun as this list is based on opinions which vary from person to person. But we also looked at aesthetics, tech, feel, and iconic moments like Beckham’s free-kick versus Greece or Zizou’s World Cup winning performance. With out further convoluted explanation here is our ranking of the adidas’ Predator boots. 

1. adidas Predator Accelerator 

Released: 1998

Worn by: Zidane/World Cup 98 Final

Choosing the Accelerator for the top spot wasn’t as tough as you’d think. They looked like boots from another planet and sleek all at once. The rubber fins on the upper were tapered down from previous models which adeed to that more refined look. The revolutionary sole-plate, fold-over tongue and dominance of k-leather made the Accelerator second to none at the time. Though they looked a tad bulky, the cleats fit incredibly snug thanks to an offset lacing system and solid heel-counter.  The fact that Zidane wore these in that World Cup 98 final only adds to the legendary status of the boots.

 

2. adidas Pedator Mania

Released: 2002

Worn by: David Beckham/World Cup Qualifier vs Greece

There is a reason adidas brought these pearls back from the death. It’s crazy to think that a boot from 15 years ago could hold up to today’s standards, but the Mania’s absolutely do. In some cases, they actually surpass some modern football boots. Arguably the most streamlined of all the Predator models, they were tight, narrow and gorgeous. The trademark rubber fins were further shaved down and restricted to the strike zone for grip when curving the ball. The fold over tongue was given an elastic band to hold it in place, a reinforced heel-counter added stability and the Traxion soleplate allowed players to modify their studs for pitch conditions. For the countless superstars that rocked these, the Mania’s will forever be remembered as the boots that Becks wore when he scored that fabled free kick versus Greece to send England to the 2002 World Cup. 

 

3. adidas Predator Touch

Releasesd: 1996

Worn by: John Harkes/MLS opening day

This was when the Predator really started to gain traction as a proper boot. Aesthetically, they fulfilled their namesake as they looked more menacing than any other iteration in the range to date. Aside from the look, the Touch was where adidas added tried-and-true materials to a modern concept. Classic k-leather was segmented and built around pronounced rubber teeth which solely graced the upper surrounding the laces and toe-box. An enlarged fold-over tongue increased the strike-zone and a reinforced sole-plate added to the complete step up in quality. John Harkes made these fresh when he rocked them for D.C. United in the very first MLS match ever. 

 

4. adidas Predator Precision

Released: 2000

Worn By: Patrick Kluivert /Euro 2000 hat-trick vs Serbia

Smooth, stealthy and sleek, adidas clearly wanted to refine the Predator with the Precision model. The patented rubber fins were dramatically reduced while velcro was added to the fold-over tongue for less distraction with a streamlined strike-zone. Once again, k-leather engulfed the boots upper for unrivaled feel. The Precision also marked the introduction of the revolutionary stud configuration and sole-plate. Called the Traxion system, it gave players the option to swap studs for adaptability to ever changing pitch conditions. Detractors argued that the Precision was overly clunky, even more so than it’s predecessor. To that we say, go on youtube and type in Patrick Kluivert hat-trick vs Serbia 2000 Euro. Go on, we’ll wait.

 

5. adidas Predator Instinct

Released:  2014

Worn by: Angel Di Maria/ 2014 Champions League Final

The last of a dying breed. By 2014 the Predator was entirely a different boot. Aside from its name and brand, the Instinct shared zero with the OG 94 Predator. Visually nearly every colorway created for the iteration was brash or hideous, sometimes both. What made the Instinct so beloved was its tech and on-pitch performance. Players absolutely loved them and for good reason. The upper implemented several synthetic materials including SL rubber plus a welded Gel pad, which reinforced the various zones and reasons in which a player touched the ball. The shockingly lightweight boots also received a versatile sole-plate via the control frame which offered grip in all weather conditions. Angel DiMaria famously rocked the Instinct when he destroyed Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UCL Final giving Real their elusive 10th Champions League title.

 

 

6. adidas Predator

Released: 1994

Worn by: Ronald Koeman/World Cup 94

The ones that started it all. The original adidas Predator was an absolute game-changer, plain and simple. It looked like something an actual reptilian Predator of some sort would wear. At a glance, the boots seemed all flash and little substance, but a deeper dive into the concept uncovered some revolutionary tech that would influence soccer boots to this day. For the first time, we saw those iconic rubber fins which looked more like scales. Their purpose was to add more control via grip when curving a shot or pass. Going against the trend at the time, the small rubber tongue did not fold over and the timeless three-stripes were tweaked to fit the overall vibe of the boot. The mighty Ronald Koeman wore these at the 94 World Cup in the good ol’ US of A. 

 

7. adidas Predator Rapier

Released: 1995

Worn by: Paul Gascoigne 

Picking up where the OG left off, the Rapier looked very similar to its predecessor but featured a slightly lighter, more stripped down upper. The rubber fins were now super conspicuous as they now covered the entirety of the strike-zone. Soft leather was employed on the majority of the boot including the fold over tongue, which was now in place to cover laces and offer a more integrated upper that players of the day were accustomed to. Still in its infancy, the Rapier was given minor tweaks, but the best was still yet to come for the Predator. One of Englands best, Paul Gascoigne rocked modified versions of the Rapier in his days at Rangers. 

 

8. adidas Predator Powerserve

Released: 2008

Worn by: Dimitar Berbatov/ birth of the Berba spin 2008 vs West Ham

After the relative flop of the Absolute, adidas decided to refocus on what made the Predator unique. While they didn’t bring back the rubber fins, they did revisit the sweet spot by adding SmartFoam. The dense new material added more responsiveness when kicking the ball while the enlarged fold-over tongue completely covered the laces which further expanded the striking surface. The Power Pulse tech seen in its predecessors was back again with interchangeable insoles and adidas’ ever-enduring Traxion system gave the Powerswerve a solid foundation. The Powerswerve was really a return to form for the Predator. Several elite soccer players wore these including the silky Dimitar Berbatov when he invented the “Berba Spin” on a cold Manchester night in 2008.

 

9. adidas Pedator adiPOWER

Released: 2011

Worn by: Xavi/ 2011 Champions League Final 

The adiPower were a bit of a paradox for Predator purists. As with other iterations previously mentioned on this list, by 2011 all semblance of any predator DNA was gone. No red, no black, no fins, and certainly no fold-over tongue. What remained was an entirely new boot, a damn good one but not really a predator. The adiPower feature pioneering tech courtesy of segmented strike-zones. These sweet spots were comprised of 3D rubber and silicon. The synthetic supper was surprisingly soft and the new sprint frame made for an equally surprising lightweight boot. Again, a great boot just null of any Predator magic. Players adored the adiPowers, watch Xavi put them through the paces in his masterclass vs Man United in the 2011 Champions League Final.

 

 

 10. adidas Predator Absolute

Released: 2007

Worn by: Kaka/2007 Champions League semi-final vs Manchester United

This was an obvious transitional period for the Predator. Attempting to evolve adidas’ Power Pulse technology, the Absolute offered options via interchangeable sock liners for varying degrees of response. The upper for the second time incorporated more in-fashion synthetic materials with less k-leather and zero rubber fins. The elastic strap on the fold-over tongue was back making the boots aesthetically more Predator but overall the DNA that made the boots timeless was gone. Arguably the ugliest of the family, the Absolute was still on the feet of the world’s best at the time. Case in point, Kaka in his prime, dominating for Milan when he single-handedly shredded Man United’s defense to bits en route to a Champions League semi-final victory. Just like most of the moments highlighted on the list, we beg you to youtube this.  

 11. adidas Predator Pulse

Released: 2004

Worn by: Fernando Morientes/ 2004 Champions League semi-final vs Chelsea

Visually very similar to the Mania, the Pulse was considered by many, the first relative flop in the Predator’s illustrious lineage. The Pulse was the beginning of an awkward phase for the line. Gone were the rubber fins, in were a partial synthetic upper, Velcro tongue and the introduction of Power Pulse technology which added weights at various points within an interchangeable insole. The idea behind this was naturally to increase striking power. Fernando Morientes tormented many a defense in Pulse back in 04. Most notably scoring to knock Chelsea out in the 2004 Champions League semi-final.

 

12. adidas Predator LZ

Released: 2012

Worn by: Steven Gerard/ Euro 2012

Aside from a few, you’re going to notice a trend. Most of the more modern Predators are at the bottom of our list. Not because they’re bad boots necessarily, but because they’re vastly different from the originals. We understand things must evolve but sometimes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But moving along the Predator LZ were a complete rework. For the first time, an all synthetic leather was employed and featured unique segmented ‘Lethal Zones’ thus the moniker. The LZ’s were also versatile as they were lightweight yet durable and maintained elements to aid in ball control plus striking. When we think of midfield general who can drop 50-yard dimes and smash 30-yard screamers, we think of England’s own Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool legend rocked the LZ’s for England in Euro 2012. 

 

 

13. adidas Predator LZ TRX

Released: 2013

Worn by: Thomas Muller/ 2013 Champions League Final

By now you should understand how we feel about newer predators so no need to beat a dead horse. So let’s talk about what the Predator LZ TRX encompassed. First, it was a built-for-speed/control hybrid boot. The metallic neon green was something you’d see typically reserved for ultra light silos, but the LZ TRX had a more stout arsenal. Going off of the ‘five Lethal Zones’ from its sister model, the TRX added a sprint frame, a super soft synthetic HybridTouch upper and anti-slip heel counter for maximum stability. A hybrid boot for a hybrid player like Thomas Muller, who wore these babies in the 2013 Champions League Final when Bayern ousted a game Dortmund side. 

 

14. adidas Predator X

Released: 2009

Worn by: Raul/Shalke training

We’ve come to the end of the road and we’ve saved the worst for last. This basically marked the beginning of the end for our beloved Predator silo. While it was supposed to be a nod to the first, nearly every identifiable trait that made the Predators so iconic was now gone. Sure the relative shape and lack of tongue were similar to the OG 94, but that was pretty much it. Unlike the other more modern iterations, the X was universally dissed. Built of “Taurus” leather and a silicon/rubber hybrid, the upper was incredibly stiff. The new power spine which reinforced the heel counter also added more weight. Yes, plenty of legends rocked these including Spanish legend Raul, but probably only because there were few other options at this point. 

 

 

ADIDAS MANCHESTER UNITED AWAY KITS 2017/18

The Three-Stripes are really knee deep in that warm nostalgia at the moment. A week ago the Predator Mania’s and now we have more retro fire courtesy of the Manchester United 2017/18 away kit. Inspired by the legendary away kits worn by the Red Devils in 92. Yes, that also happened to be the year the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and David Beckham embarked on their illustrious trophy filled rise as Manchester United’s golden generation.

As for the kits, an all-over maple leaf looking print hearkens back those iconic 90s shirts but with a sleeker, more modern twist. The form-fitting strips are dominated in varying shades of grey while black accents feature by way of the crew-neck collar and sleeve cuffs. White adidas Three-Stripes branding flank each side while the Man United crest is given a the black and white treatment for a final stroke of class. 

The adidas Manchester United 2017/18 away kit is available now at adidas.com

FIORENTINA WOMEN’S FC CHAMPS OF ITALY BY SCOTT DUKES

Every now and then we get something that come across our email unsolicited but very poignant. We’ve always been proponents of the female aspect and perspective of the game. While brands and media have been a bit behind, there is finally a tangible movement taking place. Everyday clubs PSG or brands like adidas, NIke and Storelli are creating collections or gear tailor made for women. For us this is long overdue and that’s why were stoked to receive this photo journal of  Fiorentina Women’s FC courtesy of Scott Dukes. Soctt takes us on up-close and intimate journey into grassroots Italian footy from a female perspective. In just their second season in the top flight, Fiorentina Women’s FC won the Serie A title. These ladies deserve some shine. Have a look at the photo journal below.

For more and Fiorentina Women’s FC check out their website HERE   

For more on Scott Dukes check out dukesphotography.com

ADIDAS UNVEIL PLAMEIRAS “GREEN OBSESSION” KIT

Created for an iconic club and its rabid fan base, adidas have officially unveiled the Palmeiras “Green Obsession” kit. The limited edition jersey will compliment the 2017 on-pitch kit of the club, but serve more as shining tribute to their legendary fans. The shirt itself is as clean and crispy as they come. Dominated by a rich green, the accents come by way of a white v-neck collar and three-stripes adidas branding on the flank. Brilliant details come courtesy of an enlarged Palmeiras crest, the words limited edition in gold just beneath and the phrase “Obsessão” (Portuguese for obsession) on the upper-back collar. adi went further by adding a keeper kit which mimics the on-pitch iteration only in purple. It pays homage to the clubs rich tradition of top notch keepers and to the last time the club wan the Brazilian league title.

Sadly for most of us stateside this kit is super limited and only available in Brazil. If you got fam in Brazil might want to give them a holler for this one. For now check out the kit below.   

 

 

 

UNDER ARMOUR ‘AQUAFLAGE’ COLLECTION

We constantly talk about the importance keeping pace in modern soccer’s retail landscape. Slowly but surely the gap is narrowing, Under Armour are now very much part of this paradigm. With constant reworks, colorways and iterations under their belt this season, UA keep it moving on their latest. The ‘Aquaflage’ collection takes its moniker literally with the unique cammo made of water spots, splatters and vibrant blues. Both of the Spotlight and ClutchFit 3.0 get an almost identical dynamic ‘Aquaflage’ treatment. As you can see below both of UA’s stalwart silos really benefit from the new colorway giving the effect that these are new boots entirely.

The Under Armour ‘Aquaflage’ Collection is available now in limited quantities at select retailers and at underarmour.com 

NIKE ‘CHASING SHADOWS’ PACK

For their latest pack Nike takes it limited to their X line with stealthy vibes. Keeping things fresh is imperative in today’s soccer retail landscape. Nike understands this better than anyone as they are the reason for the barrage of monthly boot iterations from anyone trying to keep pace. With an onus on flashy panache Nike’s real genius comes through when they rewind and bring it back to the basics, insert the ‘Chasing Shadows’ pack. Gone are the Volt and Hyper Orange we are acustomed to, in are Black, White, Wolf Grey with minimal accents as the pack stays true to its namesake. It’s alwaysrefreshing to see how a silo is given new life with a minimalist stroke. The Tiempo in particular looks clean enough to wear off pitch, for that reason it is our favorite of the range.

The Nike ‘Chasing Shadows’ pack is available now at Nike.com

DETAILS: A.S. VELASCA

“It’s not a football club, it’s not artwork, it’s all that at once.” Reads a quote on A.S. Velasca’s website. A club which was founded in 2015 by five like-minded individuals of French and Italian descent. Based in Milan, the club was born of the idea that football is nothing but an art-form. As such the owners have tasked artists to design a piece for the club to wear on their kits throughout the season. The artwork takes the place of where most clubs have a sponsorship blasted across the chest. While their kits are manufactured by Hummel, the artwork designed by  Parisian graffiti artist Zevs is brazen to say the least. It features the iconic Nike swoosh transposed over the equally iconic adidas trefoil, all done within Zevs trademark “liquidation” technique. According to a club official Hummel had nothing to do with the design. They merely offered a vibrant canvas. 

“Regarding our jerseys, Zevs is showing us disappearance. No more logos just a powerful artwork. In this brand’s world, Zevs superposes two drips in which everything disappear. As in Aikido, the artwork of Zevs is about abandoning the ego; enemy do not exist, we absorb it inside ourselves… to create something new. ” -Wolfgang Natlacen (co-founder)

When words like the above come from one of the owners of the club it is obvious that the clubs identity is crystal clear and executed, from top to bottom. A.S. Velasca are barely two years old and dwell in the bottom realms of Italian football, but with an ethos such as theirs we have a feeling Milan will soon have a third wheel.

For more on the A.S. Velsca kit and story head over to asvelasca.it

PHILADELPHIA UNION REMAKE FRESH PRINCE

Straight from the “Why has this never been done before?” files, The Philadelphia Union have absolutely crushed it with their very own rendition of Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. MLS teams have really spread their wings this year via social media with mixed reviews. In fact, earlier this year the LA Galaxy were reprimanded by the league for jumping on a viral montage of clips from when Timbers players were caught diving during their game. Enough about all that though, we just hope the video below remains untouched and glorious….Bravo Pilly!   

NÜRNBERG STADIUM RENAME INITIATIVE

For years the fans of the 1. FCN have dreamed of a stadium that bears Max Morlock’s name. Many have tried to realize this, but without success. Now, together with Consorsbank, have launched a crowdfunding campaign. If the campaign collects an amount of € 800,000, the Consorsbank will contribute the remaining 2.4 million to make this long pursued dream a reality.

The goal is to give the Nuremberg stadium its name: Max-Morlock Stadium. The campaign is shared with thousands of Club fans, who finally have the opportunity to participate in the realization of this dream. However, it is not just football fans that want to see Max Morlock’s name on the stadium. He was a hero from Franconia, who directed the eyes of the world to the region.

Max Morlock was an icon and a strong supporter of the 1. FCN. During his time with the club he led the team to German Champions in 1948 and 1961, he made the “Miracle of Bern” possible and helped the German football national team in 1954 to the world champion title. His dedication was not only the FCN but also to his hometown, the city of Nuremberg. He remained modest and never changed the club despite numerous lucrative offers. A talented player on the field, a generous person off. It is time for him to receive the respect and appreciation he deserves.

The initiative “Max Gemeinsam” was launched by fans, restaurateurs, politicians, cultural activists, entrepreneurs and local communities together with the Consorsbank. Coming from different corners of the region – or across the world for that matter – and differ in many respects, all are welcomed by one thing: the desire to revamp the Nuremberg stadium into the Max-Morlock stadium. The initiative is not for profit, but has only one goal: to bring people together and support those who desire the Max-Morlock Stadium.

The campaign kicked off on March 31st and is running until May 14th, a total of 45 days and is one of the largest crowdfunding projects in Germany. The movement is now in the final weeks and the community is looking for further support. Based on level of contribution, you will be gifted with a special souvenir that reflects the city, creative community and football culture. 

To contribute to the initiative go HERE