To carry the Predator name takes responsibility. For the boot it's the perfect balance of control, power, comfort and unmistakable visual identity. For the player it's character that complements ability. These are the ingredients to the Predator plate. After a two year break we're ready to see if adidas have cooked that up with the Predator 18+.

No pressure then. The return of the Predator 18+ comes with a heavy weight of expectation. Players will naturally pine for the Predators of old. Red tongues, leather uppers and free-kick fire. That’s understandable, but at the same time it’s unrealistic to expect adidas to simply revert to the old school vibe. There’s a reason that no boot silos from a decade ago are still on the scene – far better technologies are available.


The first piece of advice we can give about the adidas Predator 18+ is to be open minded. Were we big fans of the old Predator models? Of course we were, but we advise that you don’t go comparing it to the Mania, Powerswerve, Absolute etc. This is a different beast.

It’s impossible for a boot to be iconic from day one. Yes, previous Predators became legendary. Big players produced big moments – Beckham’s free kicks, Zidane’s UCL Final volley. The story of the Predator 18+ is there to be written by the likes of Dele Alli, Paul Pogba & Mesut Ozil, that’ll take time and big games… a World Cup say.

Will today’s kids be talking about the Predator 18+ in the same manner as we talk about the Mania or Accelerator? Perhaps not. But that comes down to the fact that the Predators of the late 90s and early 00s were at the early stages of innovation, completely unseen before. There wasn't anywhere near as much boot choice or innovation. There’s so much more now, so much that it becomes harder to stand out. Boots and colourways come and go far quicker.


Out of the box

It’s lazy to label the Predator 18+ an ACE just because it casts a similar shadow. Yeah, at first glance it looks a bit like an ACE, it’s a similar shape and it’s laceless, but that’s where the comparisons end. To touch, the new CONTROLSKIN on the Predator 18+ is incredibly soft. Almost rubbery, your fingers almost sink into the upper around the striking zone.

Visually, the DNA of the Predator is still present. The solid white Three Stripes, the flashes of red, Predator branding inside and outside the heel, and the ridged upper. This is a modern day Predator, that much is obvious. It feels far more like a Predator than an ACE, put it that way.



As we’ve mentioned the boot will feel particularly snug when you first put them on, but this is perfectly normal. We’d recommend going true to size but do expect them to be tight at first and become more comfortable as you play on. If you are concerned about that tightness, or if you have extra wide feet you can go half a size up.

Balls out

The fun bit. The fact that you feel locked in and secure in the adidas Predator 18+ makes you feel faster. It feels like the boot becomes your foot rather than being a part of it. Yeah, that sounds weird, doesn’t it?

The Predator truly feels like a boot that is created to be on the ball. Some speed boots are designed for getting to the ball, for racing the opposition, but the Predator 18+ is built for control. No, the famous Predator ridges on the upper aren’t as prominent as previous Predator generations, but the emphasis is far more on control than bending in free-kicks.


The CONTROL SKIN is the stand out feature for us. It genuinely feels like it aids your first touch, especially bringing a ball out of the sky. The ridges that extend across the top of the foot absorb the impact allowing you to stop a ball dead with added ease.

The absence of laces provides a larger area to pass and receive the ball with the instep, but it’s shooting where the Predator 18+ earns its name. The CONTROLSKIN feels like the entire upper is a sweetspot. Previous Predator models were focused on aiding shooting on the instep, to strike across the ball and add some curl to your shots, but the Predator 18+ is different. Striking the ball with your ‘laces’ is where the Predator 18+ excels. We’ve hammered balls at goals in all different types of boot – speed boots  offer a small striking area, control boots offer a larger area, but the Predator 18+ is easily the strongest shooting boot we’ve worn in recent seasons.

Striking the ball with full power feels far more controlled and arrowed. With previous Predators you felt obliged to drop the ball on the corner of the 18-yard-box and bend shots into the top corner. The Predator 18+ makes you want to drop the ball anywhere outside the box and strike it as hard as you can. Genuinely, the CONTROLSKIN does feel that it gives your shot an extra punch of power, as well as a more accurate guided ball.


On Feet

The first thing you immediately notice when you slip the adidas Predator 18+ on is that the boot looks far better on feet than it does off. The SOCK FIT COLLAR comes to life as it stretches, allowing flashes of red to burst through and give the aesthetic a more Predator feel.

It's gonna feel snug at first, maybe too tight. But that’s normal. When people see no laces they assume the boot is going to be loose, but it's actually the opposite, at first the boot overcompensates for the lack of laces by squeezing the foot tightly. Your foot does begin to push against the boot to feel less squashed. It doesn't take long, and after a couple of training sessions you’ll have your preferred fit.

Does it feel like a Predator of old? No, because it isn’t. We talk about the return of the Predator, but once you slip them on it doesn’t feel like a return. This feels very much a Predator 2.0. 


Yeah, that hi-top collar will throw you off at first but it’s far less intimidating visually than the collar on the ACE or other brand’s equivalents. The SOCK FIT COLLAR flows effortlessly around the ankle to harness and caress rather than distract. A far smoother feel than the Nemeziz collar.

The ANATOMICAL UPPER allows the heel to slot in and lock in. You get a real sense that once you’re in, you’re in. One of the main concerns from players who haven’t worn laceless boots is that the foot will slide around inside the boot, but there’s no chance of that here.


The negatives?

Tough one. It’s hard to get too excited about the soleplate but it works fine. No issues at all. Realistically, you can’t notice the Boost in the sock-liner, but again, not a problem. The only negative that may arise would be purely down to player preference, and that would be original tightness of the fit. The Predator is quite thick compared to other boots, especially speed boots, but that’s as far as the criticism goes.


Overall, the adidas Predator 18+ is the complete football boot. Locked in comfort, technology that aids touch, passing and shooting, and a lightweight feel that makes you wonder what more you’d actually want from a 2018 adidas Predator. Yeah, red fold-over tongues look nice and nostalgic, but it’s not in adidas’ nature to compromise on performance to please a group of players that shout loudest. That’s not what they do.

What they excel in is creating the absolute best product for the absolute best players. The fact that it retains Predator DNA and has the versatility to host winning colour combinations is a beautiful bonus. Predator ain’t back, Predator is reborn.

Pick up the adidas Predator 18+ collection from