Adidas adipower Predator SL Review
The limited edition, ultralight version of this years hottest new boot! The adiPower lets you master the ball and control the game. And this new SL version is even lighter than its predecessor. Synthetic for incredible durability, fit and feel. Silicon rubber Predator technology for maximum swerve and control. Nubuck touch heel lining and pre-molded EVA insole ensure comfort. Inner chassis with PowerSpine in the midsole. The PowerSpine in the forefoot creates maximum shooting power by minimizing the energy lost while shooting. Traxion outsole with Sprint Frame construction and a new stud design for the perfect balance between light weight and stability.
I know that everyone is expecting me to compare the adipower SL to the regular adipowers, but the reality is that these are to completely different boots. The adipower SL is made of a synthetic upper, SprintSkin as Adidas calls it, and is the exact same material that you get on a pair of synthetic adizeros. The synthetic is very thin and pretty pliable, allowing for some decent comfort and minimal break-in time. The lacing system remains the same, with laces offset to the outside of the boot, allowing for a secure fit when you pull the laces tight. The liner in the heel is also slightly different from the standard adipower. Instead of the synthetic suede material, it is now a rubberized, smooth liner that uses some extra padding to ensure a tight fit and lock your heel in place. The last change comes in the tongue that is now a hard foam material with holes punched through it, and is in my opinion a little nicer than the regular adipower tongue. Overall, the boot remains very comfortable from right out of the box and it is probably your one of your most comfortable options for a synthetic shoe. The fit of the boot is also a little different on the adipower SL. The mid foot area of the boot is still very wide and will suit the widest of feet. The change comes in the toe box of the boot that is a little narrower, making them tighter fitting than the leather version of this boot. Because of this change up in the fit and the upper material, you should order a different size in the adipower SL. Because the standard adipower is made of an overly soft leather, they will stretch a lot and most people should go a half size down. The adipower SL in synthetic and will not stretch, along with a tighter fit, I would recommend ordering your normal size. I wore my usual size 9US for review and they fit perfectly.
This is an interesting aspect of the adipower SL because you are taking the regular adipower that weighs an already light 7.8oz and trimming it down to 7.0oz. This is not really a big difference in weight, and especially when holding it in your hand comparing it to the standard version, there is not a huge noticeable difference between the two boots. That being said, once you put the boots on your feet, the SL certainly does feel lighter. Because it is made from a synthetic and fit a little tighter than the standard adipower, you will definitely feel that they are lighter. What makes the adipower SL so unique is that it provides the most support that you can get from any other synthetic shoe on the market. Any other shoe that is this weight or lighter, uses a very minimalistic soleplate, making for a shoe that sole purpose is to be light.
The soleplate and stud pattern are exactly the same on the SL as the standard adipower. Although the adipowers sport an entirely different soleplate, Adidas did not mess around too much with their proven and trusted TRX firm ground stud pattern. The adipower still features the same blades around the outside edges of the boot, with some minor tweaks. Instead of two small blades in the mid-foot area, there is now one single square adizero-like stud. I didn't find much of a difference in terms of traction because of this, but I did notice some minor changes that improved the stability from the last Predator. The heel studs are not as long as they were on the Predator X, and because the sole plate is thinner, you feel closer to the ground, providing a more stable feeling when running. I would definitely say that I felt more confident in make quick changes of direction in this Predator rather than the last version.
This is one of the areas where the SL is the exact opposite of the standard adipower. This boot uses a thin SprintSkin upper that feels the exact same as the adizeros. The upper is so thin that when you but your foot inside of the boot, you can see the outline of your toes at the edges of the boot. The touch that you get on the ball is very close to your foot with no extra padding. Adidas was going for a minimalistic type upper on this boot, and that is what they achieved. If you like to play barefoot or like to make very precise touches on the ball, than you should probably give a synthetic boot a try. To be completely honest, the upper of this shoe felt like an adizero. It has the same thickness, the same shape and even a very similar lacing system.
If you were attracted to the Predator line, it is probably because you are interested that the predator element offers in the shooting department. On the regular adipower, the pred element is a layer of very soft rubber, that when struck properly on the ball, will amplify, very minimally, the effect that you are trying to put on the ball. This technology does work, but the effects are minimal. That being said, the predator element is still the best part about a predator and it really feels good when you strike the ball. On the Predator SL, there is no longer a predator element made of rubber, but instead a predator element made of a second layer of SprintSkin. So, is this version of the Predator element as effective as the standard version? The simple answer to that question is no. The second layer of sprint skin simply copies the pattern that would normally be in the rubber on the predator element. The second layer barely raises off of the upper of the boot and is really only noticeable if you rub your finger across it. Shooting with this Predator element is like shooting with any other thin synthetic boot. All you feel is your foot making contact with the ball, which is not a bad thing. Thin synthetic upper always seem to feel the best for very precise accurate shots in close. Because synthetic has very low rebound properties, the ball flies off of your foot when you strike the ball. The powerspine is also still included on the SL version, which is a definite plus as far as shooting goes. I would say that striking with the Predator SL is good, but it doesn't feel like a predator.
I have no doubt that this will be a long lasting boot. Synthetics always hold up better than natural leather will. These boots will not stretch and require no maintenance other than wiping them down with a wet cloth once and a while. If you are looking for the most durable lightweight shoe available, this is it.
Like I said before, when you put this boot on your foot, you can see the contours of your toes. This boot is very thin and will not provide much in the way of protection. One thing that you will get though is the external heel counter that will provide some good protection from kicks in the back.
Is the adipower SL better than the regular adipower? That is a question that I can not answer because the two are completely different shoes. The adipower SL is the only boot of its' kind, offering a thin synthetic upper, with a soleplate and fit that is significantly more supportive than your standard "speed" boot. For the extra money you will get an extra set of insoles and laces, as well as a string boot bag, but you also get a very unique boot as well. If you want the light weight without losing the support, give the adipower SL a go.
Comfort/ Fit 9 out of 10
Weight 10 out of 10
Traction 9 out of 10
Touch 8 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Protection 7 out of 10
Final Score 59 out of 70 or 84%