On the back of the adidas Predator Instinct launch we caught up with adidas Football Product Manager, Antoine Hadjimanolis, who talked us through the development of the 14th generation model, the history of the Pred and what's next for the famous boot.

What are the new technological features of the Predator Instinct?

The Predator is all about control. To ensure that the Predator players get complete control over the ball, The Predator Instinct has been made with a variety of new technological innovations. The boot itself is made of a new hybridtouch material, which combines the comfort and performance benefits of leather and synthetic.

A new gel pad on the medial side further improves the touch and control the boot provides. We've extended the upper rubber zones and merged them with the outsole to give the boot a more 360 degree feel. The biggest innovation is the new control frame that goes all around the boot and down onto the forefoot. Around 20 percent of control is done using the bottom of the shoe. This is something we have never really investigated before. By developing the control frame we will give the players greater control than ever before, especially while dribbling.

What are the new design features of the Predator Instinct?

The 20th anniversary of the Predator is a big, iconic moment for adidas. To celebrate the anniversary of the Predator, we're launching 14 separate instinct designs throughout the year as part of the Predator Instinct range. We wanted to make the launch design really iconic by bringing back the traditional adidas Predator colours of red, white and black.

What is the inspiration behind the new design?

The Predator Instinct range is inspired by predatory animals that use their instinct to hunt. The design patterns of the boots directly relates to the attributes of these animals.

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Where did the “Predator Instinct” name come from?

The instinct name ties into the animalistic inspiration of the boot. We wanted to stay close to the true essence of what it means to be a predator. Instinct is right at the heart of what predators do in the animal kingdom.

How important is the Predator in adidas history?

Without doubt it is the most important boot in adidas history. It’s where it all started. Before Predator, football boots all looked pretty much the same. When the Predator 94 came along, it was such a striking design. The zones on the shoe, the layering on the rubber, all this was completely new. The Predator is without doubt the greatest adidas icon. Even youngsters today know the importance of Predator, not only for them but also for past generations. It is certainly the most anticipated boot we will be bringing out this year.

How has Predator evolved in the past 20 years?

The Predator has really moved with the times. The difference between the 1994 Predator and the Predator Instinct is absolutely drastic, from materials and components to technology and weight. The adidas Innovation Team has worked with us on the boot, making sure that the latest technological innovations are included as the boot evolves.

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Are there any boots that are particularly important in the range?

The first key one is the ‘back to club’ Predator Instinct. This is incredibly important because it's the boot that will coincide with the launch of the Predator range. The second big peak is the Revenge Instinct boots. This is the history set of three Predators that we are re-releasing with original designs– the 1994 original Predator, the 1998 Accelerator and the 2002 Mania. These are the most anticipated boots in the range. Every day we get requests on social media asking adidas to bring back these Predators, so we think the response to these is going to be outstanding.

Why is Mesut Özil the lead ambassador for Predator?

Özil is an ideal incarnation of the playmaker. He is a very polished young player. Some players, such as our f50 players, are all about speed and creating danger. Özil is more about control, influencing the game from midfield. He has tremendous anticipation, touch and vision, meaning he is the player who brings the rest of the team into play – the metronome of the team.

How would you want the boots to be remembered?

The boot is already a success; we have already almost doubled pre-sales for the boot since the last launch. With this being the 20th anniversary and a hugely anticipated product, expectation is high and the fans will be the judges of its quality by how many they go out and buy.

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How long have you been working on this Predator?

The boot went through a 24-month development cycle, so we started working on the Predator Instinct in 2012. All of our boots go through a two-year development cycle. The adidas Innovation Team will often be working on the technology for the boots even further in advance.

Have you had any feedback from the players?

We received feedback from players all the way through the 24-month development process, from design phase to testing. At each stage of the cycle, players would be testing out the boots. The boots were tested by all our big global players, and by hundreds of amateurs.

The reaction has been outstanding. The boot has been long anticipated and the older players are often really pleased to see the traditional red, white and black colourway returning.

Do you have a personal favourite in the range?

My favourite is the re-launched Accelerator because of what it represents. I absolutely love the boot and found it an amazing experience to work on bringing back such an iconic boot 16 years after it was released.

Additional reading:
adidas Launch Predator Instinct