How the latest Pred was born
“WE WILL ALSO GET AMATEUR PLAYERS TO TEST THE BOOT HIDDEN FOOTBALLERS WHO TRY THEM OUT IN SECRET SO NOBODY LEAKS THEM”
The Predator is finally making a comeback, so why exactly have Adidas chosen to resurrect the boot?
DL: The Predator was well and truly dead. It was the end of an era and at first there was no desire to bring it back. Adidas had no interest in the heritage of the Predator and wanted to focus on the future instead of the past, but we both felt very differently about it. SH: Dean and myself were passionate about the idea of redesigning the Predator and had a heated debate about it. Thankfully, we both managed to convince everyone we could make something new that would appeal to modern footballers, as well as those who who have loved the original Predator over the years.
How have you given the old Predator an upgrade?
SH: Footballers don’t really like change, as they know what they like to wear on their feet and get used to what is comfortable for them. So we felt it was wise to use a lot of the same features of the ACE 17+ boot. DL: The new Predator is laceless and features a sock fit, meaning it will feel just like the ones players such as Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Arsenal’s Mesut Özil are wearing now. It has to appeal to them as well as current players and amateurs – we didn’t want them thinking they were putting on a completely new boot.
Have Adidas’ star names helped to design the boot?
SH: Yes, and they’re a big part of the design process, because they are able to give us instant feedback on what they like about the new features and what they think could improve the boot. Paul Pogba and Mesut Özil were both involved as they helped us to build the new shoe, and they’ve tested it in training sessions. DL: When we get the professionals involved, we start by sitting down with them and explaining the story behind the boot and what we want it do. We call this ‘romancing’, and then they try it out. Pogba and Özil both love the new boot – they have said it’s easier to get into than the ACE 17+ and felt they could wear it straight away without having to break them in first.
How long has it taken to make the finished product?
DL: It’s taken about two years to develop it from start to finish – it’s a very thorough process. We’ll also get some amateur footballers to test the boot. These are what we call deep-rooted testers – hidden players in Germany who try it out in secret so that nobody leaks the boot to the public beforehand. Their feedback is just as important as the game’s best players, because they will play on different types of pitches and also in different conditions – so it has to work for everyone.
Will the new Pred be as successful as previous ones?
SH: I think that depends on several factors. Obviously sales will be one measure of success, but the biggest factor will be how players perform in the new boot. The older Preds were part of so many iconic moments like David Beckham’s free-kick against Greece or the Zinedine Zidane volley in the Champions League final. If players like Pogba, Özil and Rakitic produce iconic performances and goals at the World Cup, they will inspire more people to get them and become iconic.
Left Pogba and Özil have been testing out the new Adidas Predator footwear in their training sessions