Adidas Predator: Accelerator, Mania & every edition of world-famous boots

Steven Gerrard David Beckham Alessandro Del Piero split
Getty/Goal composite
One of the most iconic football boots is making a comeback in 2018 and Goal takes a look back at the evolution of Adidas' famous range

  1. Adidas Predator (1994)
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    #1 Adidas Predator (1994)

    The Predator sprung to life in 1994 as Adidas sought to shake up the market with a boot that was designed to optimise a player's control of the ball when passing and shooting.

    Made of leather, the upper side of the boot also featured rubber ridges, which helped to increase friction when striking the ball, allowing a player to apply more spin.

    "We as a brand are all about disruption both on and off the pitch and when Predator first launched it created just that," Robert Ashcroft, Adidas' Category Director, told Goal. "There has always been a demand for newness in both the look and feel of a product and also the innovation it offers.

    "By creating a unique look and delivering ground-breaking Predator technology, we were able to offer consumers and players something they had never seen or experienced before in a football boot."

    Like most boots at the time, the original Predator was predominantly black, with three white Adidas stripes and a subtle touch of red on the sole.

  2. Adidas Predator Rapier (1995)
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    #2 Adidas Predator Rapier (1995)

    The following year, in 1995, Adidas launched the Predator Rapier, which was an upgrade on the original, though it retained many of the same features.

    A strip of ridged rubber was still present, but it was confined to the top and sides of the boot - areas which are used mainly when striking - rather than all over. The Rapier also featured a longer tongue, which could be folded down.

    Like the original, it was mostly black leather, with three striking white stripes, but more red was subtly introduced to the heel.

    The name of the design was inspired by the rapier sword, a weapon designed for penetration and precision.

  3. Adidas Predator Touch (1996)
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    #3 Adidas Predator Touch (1996)

    As the Predator brand became more widely known, Adidas made some more alterations to the range in 1996 with the new Touch style.

    The boot incorporated a different style of studs known as 'Traxion' (TRX) studs or blades, which were a departure from the traditional screw-in circular type. A ridged rubber patch figured on the front of the boot, taking up more space than that of its predecessor.

    In terms of style, Adidas continued to add more vibrancy to their range, increasing the red on the heel and adding it to the tongue, which folded down to cover the laces.

    Interestingly too, the famous three stripes were reduced in size and resembled the iconic triangular striped logo.

  4. Adidas Predator Accelerator (1998)
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    #4 Adidas Predator Accelerator (1998)

    As the 1990s wore on, the Adidas Predator boots grew bolder in style and the 1998 World Cup in France was accompanied by an all-new design called Accelerator.

    The rubber ridges which were a predominant feature of the previous editions was reduced in size and sown into the leather exterior of the boot, while 'Traxion' blades remained on the sole instead of studs.

    Black was still the base colour for the Accelerator, but once again more red was added to the colourway, while the three white stripes, which had been reduced in size for the Touch, were bigger than ever before.

    Around that time, stars such as Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham began to be increasingly associated with the Adidas Predator boots, while a variety of colourways were available and their popularity soared as a result.

    A re-imagined version of the Accelerator boots was launched in 2018.

  5. Adidas Predator Precision (2000)
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    #5 Adidas Predator Precision (2000)

    At the turn of the millennium Adidas launched a new style of Predator boots, which blended elements of previous designs with fresh features.

    Patches of ridged rubber were incorporated on the entire front of the boot, while the 'Traxion' blades were now replaceable, in a similar fashion to traditional studs, to allow players to adapt to different conditions.

    The tongue of the Precision boots was slightly longer than that of the Accelerator and the famous three stripes undulated in a wave towards the heel.

    In keeping with the changing football fashion, the boots were available in a variety of colourways, but the traditional black-red-white remained chief among them.

    Adidas launched a limited edition re-boot of the Precision in 2017, with the help of Beckham and Zidane.

  6. Adidas Predator Mania (2002)
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    #6 Adidas Predator Mania (2002)

    Widely regarded as the most iconic in the Predator range, the Adidas Predator Mania brought a more futuristic feel to the boot.

    Launched ahead of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, they were much more streamlined than the Precision and the rubber ridges, which had previously featured across the front, were now confined to the inside, as well as being turned white to contrast with the black leather.

    A protective heel was incorporated too, while the tongue was longer again and uniquely included an elasticated band, which went under the boot, to secure it to the top of the laces.

    A wide variety of colourways were available including the trademark black-red-white, such as white and black, champagne, champagne gold, red and silver and gun-metal. Like the Accelerator range, the Manias were re-released in 2017, with Beckham to the fore in the promotion campaign.

  7. Adidas Predator Pulse (2004)
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    #7 Adidas Predator Pulse (2004)

    After the widespread success of the Predator Mania, Adidas launched the Predator Pulse in 2004 and the design was tweaked once more.

    The rubber strips continued to feature on the inside of the shoe, but they were made longer and thinner. They also switched colour from white to red.

    Greater protection was incorporated into the design too, with the hard material of the heel being extended to the middle of the exterior.

    This version of the Predator also saw the introduction of 'Power Pulse' technology, which is said to shift the boot's centre of gravity on impact with the ball, thus helping to apply greater power when shooting. 

  8. Adidas Predator Absolute (2006)
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    #8 Adidas Predator Absolute (2006)

    The Predator Absolute followed the Pulse and was a popular choice for footballers at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

    In a departure from the style of its predecessor, Adidas reduced the number of traction strips to just three, while grooves ran vertically down the inside of the boot and the elasticated band on the tongue remained.

    The traditional colourway increased the amount of red so that it featured on the heel, sole and top of the boot, with the three stripes moving closer to the front.

    A limited edition gold colourway was created for France captain Zidane, which he wore at the tournament.

  9. Adidas Predator Powerswerve (2008)
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    #9 Adidas Predator Powerswerve (2008)

    In 2008 Adidas launched the Predator Powerswerve and it was very much of a similar style to the Pulse and Absolute editions.

    However, a marked departure came in the form of the new 'smartfoam' technology which featured on the front of the boot, with rubber ridges being ditched for the first time since the original.

    The 'smartfoam' was intended to improving the quality of a player's strike by increasing the contact with the ball.

  10. Adidas Predator X (2010)
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    #10 Adidas Predator X (2010)

    Drastic changes came in 2010 as Adidas launched their 10th edition of the range: Predator X.

    The tongue, which had been a unique feature of the range for the duration of the previous decade, was removed completely, with the laces partially hidden, which was said to improve the control of the ball

    As with the Powerswerve, rubber strips were not present and the front of the boot featured a single area of foam.

  11. Adidas Predator Lethal Zones (2012)
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    #11 Adidas Predator Lethal Zones (2012)

    After the release of the Predator X, the old style was very much left in the past and Adidas began to explore new innovations in their Predator Range.

    In 2012 they released the Predator Lethal Zones (or LZ), which was totally unlike any of its predecessors in design.

    In fact, since they used the same 'SprintFrame' technology and stud configuration, the Predator LZs were more similar to the new F50 and adiPure ranges.

    The 'Lethal Zones' alluded to in the boot's name were five distinct sections of the shoe: first touch, dribble, drive, pass and sweet spot, which were each optimised for the different areas of the game.

  12. Adidas Predator Instinct (2014)
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    #12 Adidas Predator Instinct (2014)

    There were even more daring alterations made to the Adidas Predator in 2014 with the release of the Instinct in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    The boot, which borrowed from the F50 range in terms of the synthetic material used, was used by stars such as Angel Di Maria.

    The design of the Predator Instinct featured white hexagonal shapes on a black background, with three orange stripes on the sides.

  13. Adidas Predator 18 Team Mode (2018)
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    #13 Adidas Predator 18 Team Mode (2018)

    Four years after its discontinuation, the Predator was reborn in 2018 with the launch of the new Predator 18 Team Mode.

    The Predator 18 has revived the traditional look which characterised the range throughout the 2000s, but care has been taken to bring the boot into the modern era, with a 'PrimeKnit' and 'ControlSkin' textile upper, as well as a sockfit collar to improve stability.

    Recalling past ventures, the front and sides of the boot feature a ridged texture, but the tongue remains a thing of the past.

    World Cup winner Paul Pogba is the face of the new era of Predator boots, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Zidane.