Thursday, June 16, 2011
ESPNsoccernet: June 28, 6:11 PM UK
Adidas adiPower Predator TRX FG
I can say with absolute certainty that Adidas has won me back to the Predator line of boots. The adiPower Predator boots are such an improvement on the Predator X boots that it's hard to believe they're even related. The adiPowers are a complete overhaul of the Predator X - they're lighter, more comfortable, better looking, have a new soleplate and are still made of leather.
The colourway sitting in front of me is the white, black and fresh splash (or light blue), which happens to be my preferred colourway at the moment. At first I was a bit apprehensive with the colours because there aren't really any others for reference. It's a new colourway not seen on any other boot. However, after a couple of days, the appeal really sank in, and it isn't an understatement to say that the shoe wall looks 100% better.
The boot is primarily white, aside from the lace area, the three stripes and the heel. The heel is grey synthetic leather atop a blue and white heel cup. The lace area is the "fresh splash" blue while the three stripes on either side of the boot are black with electricity border. The tandem of these two elements really completes the boot to give it a, for lack of a better phrase, fresh look. Had the laces been electricity or warning coloured, I think the boot would simply be too bright. Good move, Adidas.
Oh, right, the actual boots. The studs are white with a highlighter yellow tip, which, however counter intuitive it may be, really works with the blue line running along the bottom of the upper. I don't think there's any denying the smooth appeal of these boots on your eyeballs - they aren't an assault, nor are they boring. They're that great balance of flash and reservation. Here's hoping ensuing colourways can achieve the same balance.
All right, even though the boots look great, my favourite part of the overhaul is the redesign in construction. At 8.2 ounces, these boots are only a few ounces heavier than the adiZero (5.8 oz), so that should give you a solid frame of reference. The vamp of the boot is all calf-grain leather and, coupled with the touch compound on the instep, there is ample striking area. One of the major improvements is in fact the redesigned touch compound. It still provides the same friction for better control and contact, but Adidas pushed it visually into the background. Instead of standing out as a feature, it works within in the shoe and seems part of a whole rather than a standalone feature.
I also like that Adidas brought the laces closer to centre than they did with the Predator X line. The way skewed laces of the Predator X made it awkward and cumbersome to tie them, and the lack of a tongue, meant there was less need to bring the top of the shoe higher, which leaves your ankle a lot more vulnerable. The adiPower boots addressed this and fixed it entirely, I think. The laces are still off-centred, but a tongue is reintroduced, which brings the top of the boot up a little bit to protect your ankle a little better.
The final major upgrade in my mind is the incorporation of the sprint frame that still includes the powerspine. The sprintframe is decidedly light, and the powerspine gives you added force behind your shots. The central diamond-shaped cleat allows for easier and more controlled pivoting as well. Overall, the cleat pattern distributes weight evenly, so you don't feel any unnecessary pressure on your feet; it's also lightweight and flexible, which we all know is clearly a plus. My only concern is the tension points at the corners of the vamp, where the leather will bend with every step. The stitching stops here and gives way to a moulded soleplate, which might invite tearing or separating. I can't say whether or not this is an issue because the boots are so new, but, even so, I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker. I'm leaning towards the opinion that splitting/tearing will be the exception.
Adidas may have borrowed elements of other boots to construct this boot, but it's the first time such elements have been combined in the same boot. It's this unique blend that produces a truly spectacular boot worthy of the price tag.
Kris Dyer is a writer for soccerprose.com