Adidas Predator LZ 2 SL Firm Ground Review
The adidas Predator LZ 2 SL is every bit as comfortable as the standard LZ 2. The upper is made from Adidas’ Sprintskin synthetic, which is the same synthetic used on the F50 adizero. The Sprintskin upper is definitely thinner than the Hybrid Touch synthetic found on the standard LZ 2, but still feels very comfortable. Other than the slightly thinner feel, the overall fit of the boot is nearly identical to that of the standard LZ 2, which is great.
Other comfort elements include a nicely padded synthetic leather heel liner, providing a very comfortable fit, while also keeping your heel locked in place. The SL model also comes with two sets of removable insoles, one lightweight version and one comfort version. The comfort insole is identical to the standard LZ 2 insole, providing a decent amount of cushion, as well as a very smooth suede-like material lining the top. The lightweight insole is essentially the same, as it’s a similar thickness, but has perforations throughout, making it ever so slightly lighter, but not light enough to make a noticeable difference when wearing the boots.
One of the major changes coming from the original LZ to the LZ 2 is the shape, and that same change has carried over to the LZ 2 SL. The boot just feels much more natural, and the redesigned Predator elements allow the upper to flex and move with the bend of your foot without feeling restrictive. The off-centered lacing system allows the upper to wrap your foot very nicely, providing a very snug fit all the way through.
When it comes to fit, the LZ 2 SL is going to be suitable for most foot types. I have average width feet and felt very comfortable wearing the LZ 2, while still maintaining a snug, high quality fit. The mid-foot is definitely the widest part of the boot, while the forefoot and toe box fits a little more snug. Keep in mind that the SprintSkin upper, while its very soft and flexible, does not stretch, so the way the shoes fit from right out of the box, is the way they’ll will fit for their entire lifespan.
Sizing is a little off with the LZ 2 SL, mainly because it features the same shape as the LZ 2, but uses a different material for the upper. Since the SprintSkin upper doesn’t have the same stretch as Hybrid Touch, I found myself having to up to a size 9.5US, half a size larger than I would wear in the standard LZ 2, for the proper fit. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend going half a size up.
Perhaps one of the most attractive features of the LZ 2 SL is the lightweight construction of the boot. Past SL versions of the Predator haven’t been that much lighter than the standard model, but with the LZ 2 SL, there is a noticeable difference in weight. The LZ 2 SL weighs in at a very lightweight 7.3oz, which is about an ounce lighter than the standard LZ 2. The lighter feel has been achieved by Adidas combining the LZ 2 upper and the F50 adizero SprintFrame, allowing the boot to retain that Preadtor feel, while also reducing the weight. The LZ 2 SL is exactly as advertised, a lighter version of an already light shoe.
While the soleplate construction is different from the standard LZ 2, the stud pattern remains identical. You get the same FG stud pattern that Adidas currently uses on the Predator, F50 and Nitrocharge series of boots, featuring a triangular stud design. In the forefoot, you’ll find three studs running along both the lateral and medial sides of the boot, with one support stud in the middle, along with four studs under the heel, two on each side. The studs themselves have a fairly large surface area, so they don’t penetrate the surface of the ground particularly well when playing on harder, natural grass surfaces. For the most part, you’re going to get great performance out of the firm ground stud pattern on most natural grass playing surface, even on softer ground. If you’re playing regularly on natural grass, then you’ll be very happy with the traction that you’ll get from the LZ 2 SL.
The whole concept behind the Lethal Zones design is to have five individual areas on the boot that are each designed for a certain type of skill. While it might be marketed as a control/power boot, no shoe is actually going to improve your skills. When you look at a shoe like the LZ 2, don’t look at the zones as “ability enhancers”, but instead view all five lethal zones for what they actually are, additional grip on the ball.
The names and placements of all five Lethal Zones remain the same on the LZ 2, just as they were on the original LZ. The Drive, Dribble, First Touch and Sweet Spot Zones have undergone redesigns from the original, while the Pass Pad has been completely removed on the LZ 2 and replaced with several strips of rubber. The major difference with the Lethal Zones on the LZ 2, is that each zone now features its own unique pattern, with different textures and thicknesses, instead of being flat strips like they were on the original. While this might not seem like much of a difference, it actually makes a pretty significant difference in how the shoe feels.
To start off with the Zone that is going to be making the most amount of contact on the ball, the Sweet Spot is a lot more complex in its design this time around. The original Sweet Spot was completely flat and had no texture or dimension, which was fine, but it made for an incredibly sticky feel against the ball. Some people loved this feel, but I wasn’t one of them. The LZ 2’s Sweet Spot features a very light dimpling, along with a 3D geometric pattern throughout. You still get plenty of grip on the ball, but because the surface isn’t completely flat, the element doesn’t feel too sticky. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of grip provided by all of the elements on the LZ 2, but I felt like there was more of a break in the grip this time around, which made me feel a lot more comfortable controlling and dribbling the ball.
The next two Lethal Zones that I would like to cover are the Dribble and First Touch zones. Both zones feature a similar “X” pattern, but are different in texture, thickness and finish. Again, they provide plenty of grip on the ball, but in comparison to the same zones on the original LZ, the LZ 2 zones are a lot more flexible, as well as a little bit thinner. Instead of feeling too bulky, which was the impression that I got when making touches in the original LZ, the LZ 2 feels a lot more natural, along with all of the extra grip of course. Having all of that extra grip across the entire forefoot area of the boot really allows you to control the spin on the ball, especially when juggling. Since the rubber is so heavily segmented and a little bit thinner, the natural softness of the Hybridtouch synthetic upper really comes through. This sense of softness is really what sets the LZ 2 apart from its predecessor.
The last “control” element on the upper is the Passing Zone, located across the instep. Like I mentioned earlier, the LZ 2 has been stripped of the large memory foam pad that was found on the original, and replaced with several long strips of rubber. I personally preferred the feel of the memory foam pad, as it gave a nice padded feel, but I can’t say that I dislike what Adidas has done on the LZ 2. Again, just like the rest of the boot, you’ll get plenty of grip on the instep, just as you will across the front of the boot.
In comparison to the standard LZ 2, the SL model feels a little bit thinner, and that’s about it. SprintSkin doesn’t have the same slightly padded feel of Hybrid Touch, but if you’re looking for something that is going feel a little more responsive, than you’ll love the LZ 2 SL.
Any shoe bearing the Predator name should have a great feel when striking the ball, and the LZ 2 SL definitely met my expectations in this category. The main striking element, or the Drive Zone, has been completely redesigned from the previous model, and is actually very unique. Instead of being completely flat, like the striking elements on the last couple of Predator models, the element features a geometric pattern, which varies in thickness. The element itself is glued directly too the surface of the upper, making for very little added bulk and an overall responsive feel. The rubber itself is fairly soft, allowing the raised parts of the element to compress, making for tons of grip on the ball when striking with this area of the upper. An off-centered lacing system leaves you with a very clean striking surface, which is only enhanced by the rubber elements.
The front of the shoe is also covered in rubber, and although they may not be intended as striking elements, they certainly provide plenty of extra grip on the ball for shooting. Striking the ball with different spins feels effortless in the LZ 2, and that’s not to say that you’ll be able to bend the ball “better”, but I would say that you will be able to generate spin more efficiently due to all of the extra grip. For shooting, the extra grip feels fantastic, and I really missed it when I stopped using the LZ 2 and started wearing other boots. The feeling and performance when striking the ball is definitely similar to the original LZ, but I feel like the redesigned elements give a more responsive feel overall in the LZ 2, which is a very good thing.
One might assume that all of that rubber would provide some decent protection, but in all honesty, the LZ 2 SL is not overly protective. Yes, the rubber does add some rigidity and protection to the upper, but the SprintSkin synthetic is very thin, so should you get stepped, you’ll still feel most of the blow. The shoe does feature an external plastic heel counter, but other than that, there aren’t any other notable protective elements. I wouldn’t say that the LZ 2 SL is any more or less protective than the standard LZ 2, which is actually a good thing considering that it is lighter. In the 7oz weight range, the LZ 2 SL is more of the more protective, lightweight boots out there.
Durability was never a concern with the LZ 2 SL. The SprintSkin upper is thin, but feels very solid and has extra reinforcements built-in to all the high wear areas on the boot. Not to mention that all of the rubber going around the forefoot area only adds to the solid structural integrity of the LZ 2 SL, making for a boot that is built to last, while still maintaining a lightweight feel. The LZ 2 SL is a boot that should easily get you through a season’s worth of play, if not longer.
Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Predator LZ 2 SL, or any FG soccer shoe for that matter, is for use on natural grass playing surfaces, and not artificial grass or turf. Using any FG soccer shoe on an artificial playing surface will have a major impact on the longevity of the boot.
I really enjoyed wearing the standard LZ 2, and when I saw the design for the SL model, it got me very excited. For an extra $30 dollars, not only do you get the unique feel of the LZ 2, but you get it in a more lightweight package, and what I would consider to be slightly better design with the use of the adizero SprintFrame. While Adidas haven’t reinvented the wheel here, they have put forward an SL Predator model that is finally worth looking at, and is genuinely worth that little extra money if you’re looking for a lighter alternative to the LZ 2. The Predator LZ 2 is not for everybody, but if you’re looking for something different, than I would definitely look into getting a pair. There really isn’t anything else like it on the market.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||10 out of 10|
|Touch||8 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||9 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||63 out of 70 or 90%|