The Adidas Predator is an iconic and evolutionary football boot that was originally released in 1994. The Predator introduced the use of rubber strips/ridges molded within the leather upper to improve swerve and spin when striking a football. The Predator technology was developed by Adidas, but it was invented by Australian footballer Craig Peter Johnston; a player for Liverpool FC during the 1980's, he invented the prototype for the Predator football boot during his retirement in the early 1990's. Johnson also encouraged Adidas to design the Predator studs with a quick release: so that the boot would avoid players sustaining metatarsal injuries; a problem common amongst modern football boots.
Predator (first version, released in 1994)
Predator Lethal Zone
When the Adidas Predator was released in 1994, it was simple titled as the "Predator"; however, as time passed, many additional versions of the Predator have been released. The revolutionary nature of the Predator football boot caused a media 'storm', with many ex-footballers and managers questioning whether the boot gave an unfair advantage, and if the boot should be allowed to be used in competitive football matches. The first player to score a goal using the Predator football boot was John Angus Paul Collins: he scored the goal during an 'old firm' football match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC. As of 2015, the Predator boot has evolved into the following versions:
The design of the early boots - Rapier to Pulse - stuck to traditional black leather, with only slight modifications in design and appearance. From the Predator Absolute onwards, the design and appearance of the boot changed dramatically: the boot becoming multi-coloured and in no way resembling the original boot. On later versions of the Predator football boot, such as the Lethal Zones, Adidas have described the Predator technology as: "gives you five lethal zones to control the ball with every touch, improving your all round performance".
Adidas has employed a range of sporting stars to promote the Predator technology; amongst them: David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Xavier "Xavi" Hernández i Creus, Steven Gerrard, Ronan O'Gara and Jonny Wilkinson. You may have noticed that not all of those sports stars are footballers: while the Predator technology was initially released as a football boot, it has been implemented into an Adidas rugby boot. Adidas have not focused entirely on developing their Predator football boot: they have also released a 'Messi' football boot that features the Adidas Traxion cleat design.