Adidas Predator LZ 2 Review



Adidas Predator LZ 2 Review

The Predator LZ 2 series has been taken in a completely new direction with the release of the original LZ model. Some loved the new design, while others weren’t so pleased. With the release of the 2nd generation Predator LZ, the overall concept behind the boot hasn’t changed much. The 5 Lethal Zones remain in place, and while they have changed in appearance, the difference is more of a tweak rather than a complete redesign.

Comfort/Fit

The Predator LZ 2 is a definite improvement over the original model when it comes to fit and comfort. The upper itself is made from the same Hybridtouch synthetic used on the original, offering a very soft and flexible feel on foot. Hybridtouch is a synthetic material designed to mimic the feel of natural leather, while still maintaining the benefits of a synthetic and it does exactly that. There’s nothing in particular that has actually been changed in the makeup of the synthetic, but due to the redesigned elements, the shoe overall feels much more flexible and less restrictive in comparison to the original LZ. The synthetic upper is relatively soft from right out of the box, so very little break-in time is required, although the shoes will soften up even further after a couple hours of wear.

The cut of the shoe around the laces has also been tweaked on the LZ 2. Instead of being cut in a straight line on both the lateral and medial sides of the boot, the edge around the main striking element, also known as the “Drive Zone”, features small extensions at each of the lace holes. While this might not seem like much, when you pull the laces tight, the upper wraps your foot really nicely, which is not only great for striking the ball, but it also makes for a very secure fit.

The heel is lined in a perforated synthetic material, with a slight grip coating over top to allow for better grip between your foot and the shoe. That, along with a deep fit, make for a shoe locks your heel in place quite nicely, as well as provides a more supportive feel. The removable, EVA foam insole features a smooth nubuck finish, which provides great step-in comfort. The insole itself is on the thinner side, and although I didn’t have any issues with it, if you did want to swap it out for something with a little more padding, you do have that option. The tongue is made from the same Hybridtouch synthetic as the rest of the upper, with a strip of memory foam running through the middle to eliminate any kind of lace bite.

The major difference that you’ll notice going from the original LZ to the LZ 2 is the fit of the boot. The problem that I had with the original, keeping in mind of course that this wasn’t a major issue, is that the rubber Lethal Zones felt a little too restrictive. What I mean by this is that the shoe itself was too structured due to the pattern of the rubber, not allowing the upper to stretch naturally, most noticeably in the forefoot and toe box. With the LZ 2, the Lethal Zones are much more flexible and are more heavily segmented, allowing the upper the stretch and bend much more freely.

In comparison to the original LZ, the LZ 2 feels a little wider all the way through. It’s not so much that the shape of the boot has been changed, but has more to do with the rubber elements being less restrictive. The “Sweet Spot” element, located on front, medial side of the shoe, was an element that felt very restrictive on the original LZ, mainly because it didn’t allow that section of the boot to expand, and was cut somewhat awkwardly. While the same element on the LZ 2 is still in the same position, the shape of the boot itself seems to have been expanded ever so slightly to allow for a more comfortable fit. The mid-foot area of the boot also feels cut a little wider in the LZ 2. Not to the point where the boot feels sloppy, but to allow for a wider variety of foot shapes to fit comfortably in the boot. The memory foam, passing element on the instep has been removed on the LZ 2, giving the instep of the boot a much cleaner fit. It’s nice that the LZ 2 has the ability to stretch, and although it won’t stretch very much, it’s just enough to give you that custom fit.

Sizing for the LZ 2 is exactly as it was on the original LZ. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and the fit in the length was absolutely perfect. So, if you’re looking to order a pair, I would strongly recommend going true to size for the most comfortable fit.

Weight

The Adidas Predator LZ 2 weighs in at 8oz, which is exactly the same weight as the original. With a Sprintframe base, full synthetic upper and thin rubber elements, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the LZ 2 is lightweight. Overall, if you’re looking for a lightweight feel, while still maintaining a more solid feel, than you’ll definitely get that from the LZ 2.

Traction

The soleplate and stud pattern combo has not changed at all on the latest LZ model, so the overall performance and feel will be exactly the same. The studs themselves are triangular in shape, which provide a good mix of grip when pushing off and maneuverability when planted. 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. This is a proven layout from Adidas, which is most likely why they have implemented it on every model that they make, excluding the Copa Mundial of course. 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 nearly any type of 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.

Touch

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.

Whether or not you’re going to like the touch of the LZ 2 is really down to personal preference. If you’re somebody who doesn’t like a lot of grip on the ball, and tends to drag the ball when dribbling, as opposed to pushing the ball, than you probably won’t like the feel of the LZ 2. With that being said, I was not a huge fan of the original LZ, but I really enjoyed wearing the LZ 2. The elements have been modified to where you still get plenty of grip on the ball when making passes and controlling, but not too much when dribbling and making softer touches.

Shooting

Any shoe bearing the Predator name should have a great feel when striking the ball, and the LZ 2 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.

Protection

One might assume that all of that rubber would provide some decent protection, but in all honesty, the LZ 2 is not overly protective. Yes, the rubber does add some rigidity and protection to the upper, but the Hybridtouch synthetic is on the thinner side, so should you get stepped, you’ll still feel most of the blow. The shoe does feature an internal plastic heel counter, but other than that, there aren’t any other notable protective elements. The Predator LZ 2 is not going to leave you completely exposed, but it isn’t the most protective boot either. Durability Durability is not a concern with the LZ 2. I have been wearing the LZ 2 for the last two months or so, prior to the official release, and have had no issues at all with durability. Sole separation is not a concern, mainly because the rubber Dribble and Sweet Spot Zones are directly attached to the soleplate, making for a very strong bond between the soleplate and upper in the high wear zones. The Predator LZ 2 is definitely a pair of shoes that you can count on to last at least a season’s worth of play. Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Predator LZ 2, 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.

The Verdict

Visually the LZ 2 looks like a slightly modified version of the original, and I expected the same old thing. With that being said, after wearing the shoes, I have to say that the LZ 2 is a definite improvement, and a shoe that I really enjoyed wearing. The grip has been tweaked just a little bit to where I find it a lot more manageable, while the new elements and improved fit, make the shoe feel a lot more natural. 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/Fit10 out of 10
Weight8 out of 10
Traction8 out of 10
Touch9 out of 10
Shooting10 out of 10
Protection8 out of 10
Durability9 out of 10
FINAL SCORE62 out of 70 or 88.5%