FourFourTwo shares its 20th birthday with one of the most iconic boots ever made - the adidas Predator. We caught up with adidas product manager Antoine Hadjimanolis to find out more about the new Predator Instinct.
What are the new technological features of the Predator Instinct?
The Predator is all about control. To ensure that the Predator players get complete control over the ball, the Predator Instinct has been made with a variety of new technological innovations.
We have used an entirely new tooling for this boot, allowing us to implement new innovations and give a really striking new look to the boot. The materials which we have used are specifically engineered to provide optimum control and comfort to our players. The boot itself is made of a new hybridtouch material, which combines the comfort and performance benefits of leather and synthetic.
A new gel pad on the medial side of the boot further improves the touch and control the boot provides. To provide greater flexibility of movement for the players, a new TPU outsole with full board construction gives the boot greater flexibility.
We have extended the upper rubber zones and merged them with the outsole. By doing this, we give the boot a more 360 degree feel, allowing for greater control in passing. The zones are made of specially engineered rubber to give greater grip and control.
The biggest innovation comes in the form of the new control frame. This frame goes all around the boot and down onto the forefoot. By using a malleable TPU material the players will possess greater levels of grip when making contact with the ball. This ensures a better touch, especially at the bottom of the boot.
Around 20 percent of control is done using the bottom of the shoe. This is something we have never really investigated before. By developing the control frame we will give the players greater control than ever before, especially while dribbling.
What are the new design features of the Predator Instinct?
The 20th anniversary of the Predator is a big, iconic moment for adidas. To celebrate the anniversary of the Predator, we are launching 14 separate instinct designs throughout the year as part of the Predator Instinct range. The patterns and design of the Predator Instinct can already be found on the Predator launched ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as part of the adidas Battle Pack.
But the most important boot is the new Predator Instinct, which officially launches the campaign. We wanted to make the design really iconic by bringing back the traditional adidas Predator colours of red, white and black.
What is the inspiration behind the new design?
The Predator Instinct range is inspired by predatory animals that use their instinct to hunt. The design patterns of the boots directly relates to the attributes of these animals.
Why have you returned to a classic colour way?
20 years ago when these colours were first introduced, the red was designed to symbolise blood. This is something that we wanted to bring back. By using the classic colours of red, white and black we can introduce new technological innovation to the Predator while celebrating the history of adidas and this iconic boot.
Will the Predator Instinct differ from the other 13 boots in the series?
The Predator Instinct is the boot launching the Predator Instinct series. Throughout the year, we will be releasing 14 different designs based on the ‘Instinct’ theme. We have already had three versions of the Predator teasing the launch, including the Battle Pack Predator boot worn throughout the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Where did the Predator Instinct name come from?
The instinct name ties into the animalistic inspiration of the boot. We wanted to stay close to the true essence of what it means to be a predator. Instinct is right at the heart of what predators do in the animal kingdom. It also fits nicely with the actions of players on the football pitch. Anticipation and choosing the next move on the pitch has a lot to do with instinct. This name fits in very naturally with the boot and adidas players who will wear the boot.
How important is the Predator in adidas history?
Without doubt it is the most important boot in adidas history. It’s where it all started. Before Predator, football boots all looked pretty much the same. When the Predator 94 came along, it was such a striking design. The zones on the shoe, the layering on the rubber, all this was completely new. The Predator is without doubt the greatest adidas icon. Even youngsters today know the importance of Predator, not only for them but also for past generations. It is certainly the most anticipated boot we will be bringing out this year.
How has Predator evolved in the past 20 years?
The Predator has really moved with the times. The difference between the 1994 Predator and the Predator Instinct is absolutely drastic, from materials and components to technology and weight. The adidas Innovation Team has worked with us on the boot, making sure that the latest technological innovations are included as the boot evolves. The boots have adapted depending on trends as well. The trend today is for lightweight, sleeker and less layered products. This is something that is reflected in the new Predator Instinct range, without being minimalist like the f50.
Are there any boots that are particularly important in the range?
The first key one is the ‘back to club’ Predator Instinct. This is incredibly important because it is the boot that will coincide with the launch of the Predator range. The second big peak is the Revenge Instinct boots. This is the history set of three Predators that we are re-releasing with original designs– the 1994 original Predator, the 1998 Accelerator and the 2002 Mania. These are the most anticipated boots in the range. Every single day we get requests from fans on social media asking adidas to bring back these Predators, so we think the response to these is going to be outstanding.
Why is Mesut Ozil the lead ambassador for Predator?
Ozil is an ideal incarnation of the playmaker in football. He is a very polished young player. Some players, such as our f50 players, are all about speed and creating danger. Ozil is more about control, influencing the game from midfield. He has tremendous anticipation, touch and vision, meaning he is the player who brings the rest of the team into play – the metronome of the team. He is also a very iconic young player, something which made him fit perfectly with the image of the Predator.
How would you want the boots to be remembered?
The boot is already a success; we have already almost doubled pre-sales for the boot since the last launch. With this being the 20th anniversary and a hugely anticipated product, the expectation is high and the fans will be the judges of its quality by how many they go out and buy. We are well on the way to this being a really successful launch.
How long have you been working on this Predator?
The boot went through a 24-month development cycle, so we started working on the Predator Instinct in 2012. All of our boots go through a two-year development cycle. The adidas Innovation Team will often be working on the technology for the boots even further in advance.
Have you had any feedback from the players?
We received feedback from the players all the way through the 24-month development process, from design phase to development and testing. At every single stage of the cycle, players would be testing out the boots. The boots were tested by all our big global players, and by hundreds of amateurs. The reaction from the players has been outstanding. The boot has been long anticipated and the older players are often really pleased to see the traditional red, white and black colourway returning. The young players have also really loved the new Predator and the way it plays. They often say that it gives them a status and a confidence because it is such an iconic boot.
Do you have a personal favourite in the range?
My favourite is the re-launched Accelerator because of what it represents. I absolutely love the boot and found it an amazing experience to work on bringing back such an iconic boot 16 years after it was released.comments