Craig Johnston’s impact on football probably isn’t what he expected it to be. The South African-born Australian player had a good career, including five First Division wins with Liverpool, and he even co-wrote the Anfield Rap. His lasting achievement, though, came after retirement.
Johnston came up with a way to increase a player’s control, specifically through using rubber to build ridges on the top of boots. He went away, tweaked the idea and made a prototype, eventually selling the rights to adidas in return for 2% of all sales. And so, the Predator was born.adidas
This was in the late ‘80s, although adidas released the first Predator for the 1994 World Cup. Since then, the Predator's impact has only grown and it has been worn by Zidane, Gerrard and, arguably most famously, David Beckham. adidas has dipped back into its archives for its latest take on the boot, celebrating the first-ever release of the historic Predator with the limited-edition Predator Edge 94+.adidas
As its name suggests, the new release is a nod to the original design, with particular reference to the white Three Stripe shape of its predecessor. The 94+ also recalls the first Predator through its forefoot ridges – a nod to Johnston’s prototype – and colourway, which combines a black and white upper with a red sole.
By celebrating the 1994 boot, adidas is also honouring the legacy of the Predator line. In the 28 years since it was first released for the World Cup, the Predator has been described as an “unfair advantage” for the way it improves a player’s control, passing and shot power. At the time, other brands couldn’t keep up and it kickstarted a footballing arms race that continues to this day.adidas
In that time, adidas has revisited the Predator for 18 different versions. The most recent is the Predator Edge, which acts as the basis for the special-edition release. The boot’s nostalgic detailing is combined with the technology from the Edge, including the split outsole and hard-hitting Power Facet.
The Predator Edge’s silhouette is also used, with its laceless design and two-piece PrimeKnit collar for extra protection. There is one major difference, though, with adidas opting for a primarily leather construction to give it another nostalgic and premium feel.adidas
The Three Stripes’ celebration of its original Predator is a throwback to the start of the boot’s journey, before it had been worn by a whole generation of world-beating talent. Back then, it was a new frontier, based on a prototype drawn up by an ex-Liverpool midfielder at home in Australia. It’s been some journey since then.
adidas Predator Edge 94+ price & how to buy
The adidas Predator Edge 94+ are available to buy right now from adidas, kicking off its special-edition releases ahead of next month's World Cup.