When it comes to providing can't-miss spectacles, no sport on Earth comes close to matching the riches of soccer's offerings. The holy cathedrals that house the game are cauldrons of noise and passion, serving as places of worship on match nights with an electricity that seeps into your soul and remains there long after the final whistle. On these intoxicating evenings, the floodlights illuminate the senses, calling forth the modern masters to write their own pages in the game's history.
Over this process icons are made — indelible images that become synonymous with the sport at its most sublime level. One of the greatest examples of this accumulation of prestige is the Adidas Predator, which has earned the title of GOAT among soccer boots since first being introduced in 1994.
The Predator's history is so iconic that it's as easily visualized as some of the game’s most base elements. If you’re told to imagine a soccer cleat, you’re likely picturing an Adidas Predator.
Some of the franchise’s features remain constant, like the augmented 3-Stripes evoking the movement of a beast of prey and the use of rubber elements on the upper to ensure the sweetest of strikes, but the 1998 Predator Accelerator is when the range came to represent more than just a soccer boot. It certainly didn't hurt that the product's main selling points (swerve, power, accuracy and control) found their perfect representations in David Beckham's free kicks, Steven Gerrard's long-range screamers and the outlandish ability of Zinedine Zidane.
Now, 25 years later, the Predator is ready to reintroduce itself while paying homage to its glorious past. The new Predator Accuracy boasts everything we've come to love while also pushing the range into new territory. This is the lightest, most sophisticated version of the franchise yet, but one that's still rooted in the core principle of the OG Predator — unmatched goal-scoring accuracy.
“The game is progressing,” says Abel Gizaw, Global Product Manager at Adidas Football. “It’s becoming faster. The boot is lighter than previous iterations. We’re looking at what the Predator will stand for not just in 2023 but down the line with helping the attacking player and goal scorer. We’re looking at the Predator in a lens of ‘how can we help a player’s development and aid them in scoring more goals?’”
The Accuracy’s creed is "Miss Nothing," and Adidas has once again found the boot’s perfect incarnations out on the pitch: 19-year-old Jude Bellingham (the present and future of England's midfield), 20-year-old Pedri (the same for Spain) and 23-year-old Alessia Russo (the recent target of a world-record transfer bid in the women's game).
Here are three players who simply don't miss.
Aesthetically, what pops out is the change from the traditional Predator colorway with sharp pink replacing red. This is an attempt to capture the thematic experience of wintry matches played under the lights.
“It’s winter but it’s one of the key moments of the season — January, February, March, Champions League returns, the Premier League has so many games within a short period of time,” Gizaw explains. “We looked at how we could have that visibility on the pitch but also really allude to that match day experience. When you go to a stadium during this period, you have that atmosphere and the stadium floodlights. The key inspiration was the imagery we had in mind of game night.”
In terms of features, the most eye-catching is the HIGH-DEFINITION GRIP TECHNOLOGY placed strategically in the kicking zone. This rubber element gives players full confidence when striking the ball, but the technology also maintains softness and flexibility.
The Accuracy helps to optimize precision play with its latest innovations while also prioritizing what all consumers and athletes demand above all else: comfort.
Other elements that maximize comfort include construction using HYBRIDTOUCH technology — a coated microfiber material that has a softer, molded fit — and PRIMEKNIT material on the laceless version for easy entry and a secure lockdown of the foot.
The outsole is equally gorgeous with its split tooling, wrap-around 3-Stripes and pink detailing, while the stud configuration has been optimized for use on firm ground.
All these improvements to various areas of the boot have been done while incorporating one key theme. The game’s faster than ever, so the Accuracy has significant weight reductions overall, and especially on the upper, to keep up with modern demands.
“You go online and you see social platforms posting top speeds for players,” Gizaw says. “Every week someone seems to be breaking a barrier. For us it’s more what can we do to aid that process and weight is a key one. The lighter the boot, the more comfortable players feel, the faster they feel.”
The Predator Accuracy marks the continuation of winning start to 2023 for Adidas. At the start of the year, the brand released its Predator Precision Archive — a fusion of modern technology with some of the most iconic Predators of old.
Shortly after that, the next-generation Adidas Copa Pure boots were launched. Inspired by the Copa Mundial and that classic leather look, the latest Copas have zero disturbing elements with all the focus on the quilted lines of calf leather for the purest sensation of touch and control.
"We've always had the mentality of the Copa being for the football mastermind, the player consumed with the element of pure touch," says Adidas football category director Jack Elkins. "What does pure football mean to you? I think to everybody it can mean something different, but the most rational side of the Copa Pure is pure touch, pure fit, no distraction and a seamless experience. We really look to offer those things and the 'football mastermind' element has always been there, but when we look at the way the game has progressed, even in the last few years, it's become even more Americanized, let's say, in certain aspects — like this hunger for stats, for straight-line speed, for how much people are running every single game and all those other elements that are happening."
The construction process has also changed from kangaroo leather to calf leather, making them available for purchase in California. And like the Accuracy, the Copa Pure boots are easily the lightest in the range's history, coming in almost 50 grams lighter than their predecessors.
And since this one is for boot purists, it only makes sense that the launch had three colorways, including blackout and whiteout versions.
The game has never been faster, more exacting or with less margin for error, and it's clear that those demands are equally true for boot manufacturers. Adidas has always been at the forefront of innovation and evolution, and 2023 marks another milestone year in technological advances while remaining true to their iconic place in the history of soccer.