Every Adidas Predator so far has revolutionised the football boot market in new, unseen ways. The Adidas Predator LZ has certainly followed this trend. The five Lethal Zones on the boot are said to take your performance to unprecedented levels…with each zone offering something unique! It was hard not to get caught up in the hype surrounding the drawn-out release process, whereby each zone was released one week at a time. After testing the boots over the past few weeks, we’ve developed our own opinion on the Adidas Predator LZ.
Design – 3.5/5 (A design that looks appealing, if a bit busy)
When I originally saw the stock photos, I was one of those people that thought that the Predator LZ was terrible design-wise . My perception changed slightly when I held them in my hands for the first time. There is so much going on it’s hard to know where to start. Each Lethal Zone is so bright that you can’t help but be intrigued by them, the little raised bumps on the Drive Zone, the textured look of the upper, the ‘dimples’ in the Control Zone, it really has been a case of attention to detail by the Adidas design team.
In a word, this colourway is BRIGHT. Something I noticed almost immediately upon inspecting them was that there is this lovely colour gradient on the upper, where the colour of the boot changes in the sunlight. It is pretty useless in the grand scheme of things, but the Predator LZ is seemingly unique in every department. Complimenting this is the typical three stripes heading from the heel of the boot to the mid-foot area. Of course, Adidas had to include the ‘three stripes’ somewhere on the boot, and this addition just gives the boot that little bit more detail, even if it is a little gaudy. Finally, there is this little dimpled area on the upper, that I presume is to reduce the weight of the boot. It may look odd at first glance, but it is something I have slowly grown to like, as it just gives the upper that bit more texture. In my opinion, Adidas have done a decent job designing the Adidas Predator LZ, something I never thought I would say with the constant trend of ridiculous colourways being rolled out onto football boots.
Comfort – 4/5 (One of the best on the market, but definitely not perfect)
The Adidas Predator LZ is very comfortable. Perhaps my favourite aspect of the entire boot is the upper. Adidas claimed that the upper on the LZ would have the characteristics of leather, but the attributes of a synthetic. Basically, it would be extremely soft, but would absorb pretty much no water and it would retain its shape! Is this the case? Absolutely. Before I even wore the boots, I could feel how wonderfully soft the upper was. I was expecting the upper to be stiff, but instead it was just a joy to wear. The upper wrapped around my foot after just 10 minutes of play and I would love to see this upper on the synthetic AdiZeros.
The insole is okay. I initially encountered a bit of foot slippage in the boot (TruSox anyone?), but I found that if I re-tied the laces there were no problems. The heel is padded, which ensures that there will be no blisters of any kind here. The inside of the boot itself contains this suede-like lining, similar to the miCoach AdiZeros, which grips your foot and only adds to the levels of comfort. Interestingly, the soleplate on the LZs takes a completely different swing from the previous Predator, the AdiPower, which had the PowerSpine in the soleplate. With this release, the soleplate is unbelievably flexible right from the off, requiring pretty much no break-in time! Again, I experienced no problems with the miCoach cavity, and found it actually provided a bit of rigidity right where it was needed.
However, as previously mentioned, there are one or two little kinks with the boot. I have worn the LZs on turf several times, and every time I have had some rubbing. It is nothing major, and definitely won’t give you blisters. Personally, I believe this is down to the insole. For me, the suede like feeling of it just isn’t right, and it does not really grip your foot. The insoles in the Nike range (excluding the Vapor VIIIs) are far superior, and it is a shame that the comfort is let down slightly on this front.
Performance – 4/5 (A boot that will help you perform on the pitch)
May I strive to point out that the Lethal Zones will not make you a better player, let’s get that out of the way straight away. I would say some Zones feel more useful to me personally than others. However, I must credit Adidas on the upper. Right from out of the box, it’s so soft and springy. It is thick enough to help you cushion the ball, yet thin enough to allow you to feel comfortable on the ball while dribbling. I really loved the upper, and feel Adidas have really got the feel of it spot on! Following on from this, I thought I would introduce each of the zones and tell you all what I think of them below:
The Drive Zone: This area is so thin, it is questionable whether it actually helps. Throughout wear, I always questioned whether the LZ was actually a Power boot. Undoubtedly, it provides a nice area to shoot off, and it feels very similar to the AdiPower drive area, even if it looks different. I felt the Drive Zone helped with shooting more than long passing, and I often found it was possible to get some nice dip in my strikes when using it.
The “First Touch” Zone: I think this was my favourite zone, I can’t comment on whether it actually does ‘suck’ the ball like Adidas claim, but I played in wet weather a lot with my LZs, and the added grip on the toe of the boot really did feel great when controlling the ball. It takes a bit of time adjusting to the extra grip, especially if you are used to smooth synthetics, but once you do adjust it is a really nice feature to have on the boot.
The Pass Zone: The first time I wore these boots, I did not like the pass zone at all. I felt it got in the way slightly, I did not particularly see why it was spongy, I thought surely a harder surface to pass off would be better? But in the end, it is just one of those things that provides a nice bit of cushion when side footing the ball. It is really very comfortable striking side foot passes with the Pass Zone, and I eventually grew to quite like it. I have to admit that I do prefer Nike’s attempt at a Pass Zone with the Maestri II.
The Sweet Spot: In my opinion, the Sweet Spot is pointless. I’m not entirely sure why Adidas put it on. Maybe it is just my technique, but the Sweet Spot just feels too high up on my toes to actually be of much use. It is definitely something that does not help in any way performance wise, unless there is a slight placebo effect involved with certain players when curling the ball.
The Dribble Zone: Again, I wasn’t entirely impressed with the Dribble Zone. On my first wear of the boot, it just felt slightly awkward when dribbling, and it did slightly interfere with my performance slightly. The Dribble Zone does actually extend far too back to be of much use when dribbling, if you take a look at the photo above, and it is slightly impractical. Where I felt it did make some amends was a bit of extra grip when turning with the outside of my foot, but other than that, it is, again, a bit irrelevant, really.
I am personally pretty keen on lightweight boots, and the Adidas Predator LZ feels like it is just at the ‘right weight’. It is not super lightweight like the Vapor VIII and AdiZero, and it is not super heavy like the Powercat 1.12 and so on. Instead, it is just a perfect balance between the two. The actual claim by Adidas is that the Adidas Predator LZ weighs 225g, which is pretty much the same weight as the AdiPower. I feel the fact that the boot is so tight fitting helps it feel that much lighter, as it really wraps around your foot.
Value – 3.5/5 (The boot is averagely priced, and they seem to be holding up okay after about a months use)
These boots are priced at £155 and £210 (for the miCoach bundle), and for me it is a decent price for the package. Here, you are getting the latest technology on a football boot, and it is a good performance boot in my eyes. Unfortunately, with the normal £155 LZs, you receive no goodies…just the boots. I have said it before and I will say it again, all Adidas have to do is chuck a neat little bag in to the package like Nike and every one of us would be happier. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but it is definitely something to bear in mind for the future Adidas!
Durability wise, I have had one problem. I don’t know whether this is the case with all the Predator LZs, but I have suffered a very small rip on my right boot that is getting bigger with every use. If you are planning to purchase these in store, please ensure that you check how the upper is glued to the soleplate, and if there are any shoddy glue jobs then make sure you don’t buy it! Other than that, it is holding up well. The soleplate is not showing any weaknesses, and the studs will 100% not snap off unless you play on very hard surfaces. As well as that, the boot creases slightly in a funny area. It doesn’t hurt at all (it feels very nice, in fact), but it seems to put a lot of stress on the boot. It might be a cause for concern after a period of time.
The Final Scores
Design – 3.5/5
Comfort – 4/5
Performance – 4/5
Value – 3.5/5
Total: 15/20 or 75%
Adidas have done a great job with the LZs. I thoroughly enjoyed wearing them throughout testing, and feel these could well become my regular match boots. Three of the five Lethal Zones seem to serve a purpose, they are really comfortable and they feel like just the right weight. Would I recommend them? Yes, definitely. There were a lot of people doubting Adidas with this release, but I feel they have taken boot development to a new level here, and introduced something extremely unique to the market. For that reason alone, I highly recommend you consider the Adidas Predator LZ when purchasing your next football boots.