* Prices may differ from that shown
The first thing that you notice about these boots is the price, and it an exceptionally large price at that. But are they worth the money?
As a keen rugby player I train at least 3 times a week and play matches weekly. Due to this I need a high quality boot that will last my through the sodden winter months, and these boots have succeeded in this admirably. The waterproof material succeeds in keeping the inside dry and they are easy to clean and maintain.
They are also particularly comfortable, even in the first few wears i didn't have any problems with blisters or rubbing and this high standard lasted throughout their life. The change with the tounge from the iconic style of previous preditors may not look as appealing but they help with kicking and allow you to use the outside of your foot to transfer greater power and accuracy to the ball.
However there are downsides, and they are considerable. When you pull on the laces to tighten them the bits that hold them often snap. This results in loose laces and a less secure hold on the foot. Another problem is the rigid material used on the sole, which reduces movement in your foot and makes it harder to run at full sprint.
I would say despite it being quite a good boot it is not worth the high price tag, you are paying for the brand.
I succumbed to the hype about coloured boots and the fact that Predator boots are all the range. But just how good are they?
I was a keen football player and played every week. Therefore for me I needed something that has plenty of durability and would not fall apart at the first sight of a bumpy pitch and a hard ball drenched in mud. I have had many a football boot pack up on me mid way through a season and this just does not cut it. These do however and despite my concerns about them not being strong enough I have found them extremely good in this department. When I strike a ball within my action I tend to drag my toes onto the ground which can cause the toe end of boots to split. These however have not and have been very secure.
The fit is excellent and I did also have a few concerns about the fact that because I have a wide feet narrow fitting boots are not really that suitable. Adidas tend to have in my experience quite narrow fittings but these ones do not and I have found them to be very comfortable to play in. I have played extra time matches and they have kept me feet fresh and not aching at all like some brands have in the past. Its the rest of my body that aches whenever I have played longer than 90 minutes.
Now to the colour. Ok So I am still quite old school in terms of the colour of the boots, Usually I have opted for mainly black boots however I went for something a bit different this time. First of all I found them a but of a nightmare to clean. Also as I expected I did receive some grief off my teammates. If you can put up with that and often clean your boots anyway then you will not have any issues.
Price wise you are looking at around £100 for the pair. So is the price worth it? If you are playing regularly and can afford them yes. But in reality the average league player doesn't need a pair. I brought mine as an impulse purchase as a treat because I could. The leather was great and really soft and I had never had predator boots before. The pimples on them do make a slight difference in terms of curling the boot and giving it shape when I strike it. However if you do not have the skill in your locker to play the type of balls that means you can curl it then these boots a simply a fashion accessory. A lovely one to have though.
Predator X is a prehistoric sea creature, reputedly the most fearsome beast ever to swim the oceans. It's also a new football boot. I only own the latter.
What Manolo Blahnik pumps and Christian Louboutin slingbacks are to women (they are, right? At least ones in Sophie Kinsella novels ...), football boots are to me. I go into shops just to look at them, I imagine myself wearing them and visualise just how much richer my life would be with them on my feet. I cut out pictures of them and carry them around in my wallet so I can get them out and gaze at them wherever I am. Actually, I don't do that. But the rest is true enough. I'm pretty keen on new boots, and a new pair of Predators is a significant waymark in human development.
The X series of Predators are, surprisingly enough, the tenth instalment of arguably the most iconic boot in football, the evolution of a design that was born in 1994 based on the concept of adding rubber ridges to the instep so as to improve the purchase and traction of boot-on-ball and generate greater spin and control. For non-explicit reasons (most likely that this was always a load of gimmicky, if million-selling, nonsense), this feature of the boot has been gradually played down and faded out, but Predators are still the choice of plenty of the world's best (and worst, and most aspirationally-deluded) players, including Adidas's perennial poster-boy and flagfoot David Beckham (who has had his own colourway since 2002).
~*"~ How does it look? ~*"~
Perhaps not co-incidentally, what with this being a tenth edition of the Predator, the X boot strongly recalls the very first designs - a clean, simple and uncluttered look that, in the classic colourway at least, emphasises the iconic black-red-white Predator style. This is a distinctly modern boot, with some new touches - the Powerspine system, which supposedly delivers more force to the foot; asymmetrical lacing; Taurus leather; no tongue - but at the same time, it's a strongly retro look that seems to echo where Adidas is going design-wise generally at the moment, reflecting the fuss-free Adipure boots that I also own.
It's a good look, I think, moving with the way other manufacturers are harking back to the past with their football designs (Umbro and Nike especially). Previous editions of the Predator have been excessively littered with bells and whistles, and have ended up looking rather cheap and plasticky. This is a classy design with relatively understated touches of innovation - Adidas always seem to feel the need to reinvent the boot with their new releases, but at least they're not too overpowering here.
Traditionalists may not like the removal of the tongue, but I always found them a bit of a pain, especially when the elastic holding them down inevitably broke. In keeping with the rest of the design, this move, combined with tucking the laces away to one side, effectively strips the boot down to a simpler look.
~*"~ How does it play? ~*"~
Looks are undeniably a big part of football boots currently (witness the neon rainbow of colours lining the shelves of every sports store), but Predators have always been worth their considerable price tag for the quality they deliver on your foot. At once, they're good-looking and effective, catering to concerns of flair and durability. My previous pair of Predators (the Mania series) lasted me a good six years; I'd be surprised if these didn't prove similarly long-lasting. The new Taurus leather is supposed to be thinner and tougher than the material used on previous models, and reputedly feels like you're wearing nothing at all (Ned Flanders' voice pops into my head). Is there much difference? Meh. Not really. It's decent leather, though, and feels much the same on your feet as previous models - instantly supple and blister-free, but with the sense that they won't split apart the first time a twenty-stone centre-back stands on your foot.
Although the rubber "fins" that were so hyped with the first few Predator releases are basically non-existent here, the X series features instead the "Predator Zone", a raised, bubbly rubbery surface like a series of goosebumps across the same area of the instep. This is supposed to achieve the same greater degree of control as the fins, and again, you do feel like that's apparent when you stroke a few experimental passes around. Is there really a difference, or have fifteen years of adverts just conditioned me to think so? One of the few negatives I commented on in an otherwise glowing review of my other pair of Adidas boots, the AdiNovas, was my tendency to over-hit passes in them. As I conceded at the time, this is largely because I'm a bit crap, but the Predator Xs seem to help remedy my shortcomings, helping me (for whatever reason) place my passes with a little more accuracy. In fairness, these are also considerably more expensive boots - at £134.99 for the most expensive pair, they're more than double the cost of the aforementioned pair, but I think there's some truth, however moderate, in the idea that Predators do give you excellent control over the ball.
Additionally, these aren't the flyaway boots that seem to be made out of old Sprite and Irn-Bru bottles that so many other models are at the moment, but they are pretty light - although they're not designed for speed, instead prioritising power and comfort, they don't sit heavily on your feet, fitting snugly (but not too snugly) around the foot and giving you support and flexibility when you need to change direction quickly. So then - hard-wearing, with a good touch on the ball and comfortable, supportive design - the X series ticks just about every box you could want from a boot (and probably should do for the price).
~*"~ How do I choose? ~*"~
As if there isn't enough choice between different boot manufacturers and different models of boot, when you've finally pinned down the make and type you want, there are further sub-divisions still. Soft Ground or Firm Ground? Natural Firm Ground or Artificial Firm Ground? X Absolion or X Absolado? I didn't just make up the last two - rather, they're cheaper versions of the same design, something Adidas tend to do, carrying through the same concepts, look and principal features, but with cheaper materials and stripped-down details.
As for the type of stud, I find the Firm Ground (Natural) to be a good all-rounder. With rubber blades on the soles of the boot, there's enough grip for all but the most mud-sodden and slippery of pitches, and enough softness and give to stand up to artificial pitches and hard earth without the abrasion and blistering you'd get with a metal-studded boot. It's not perfect at either extreme of condition, but if you're only going to buy one boot (and at this price, you probably are), it's a solid choice that gives you comfort whatever the weather. Of course, there's also variety in terms of colourway - alongside the black/red/white design, there are white, red and blue models, as well as the aforementioned Predator X DB version as worn by the evergreen Becks himself - but of course, here the difference is purely aesthetic. Go for whatever you can stand to be seen - and kicked - in.
~*"~ In short ~*"~
One of the best versions of one of the best boots on the market, the Predator X combines classic, faintly retro good looks with the level of design and performance that have carried it through ten incarnations. If you don't baulk at paying over £100 for a pair of football boots, you can't go far wrong here.