The adidas Predator might just be the most iconic football boot of all time, a timeless classic that has evolved over the last three decades.
2024 celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Predator, a boot that some of the game’s greatest delivered their most memorable moments in. Incredibly, the Predator so nearly failed to take off, with the original design – created by former Liverpool and Middlesbrough midfielder Craig Johnston after his premature retirement from the game – initially rejected.
Fortunately, adidas saw sense and we’ve been treated to some terrific versions of the Predator since the mid-nineties.
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Adidas have released a new line of the Predator with a distinctly retro feel. Jude Bellingham and Trent Alexander-Arnold are among the stars to have shown off the latest look, with the recent unveiling of a blackout version already backed to be an instant classic.
We’ve looked back at the adidas Predator throughout the years and attempted to rank the five finest versions.
Ranking the best ever adidas Predator boots:
5. 2024 – adidas Predator 24
Adidas have revisited the classic Predator design with the latest drop from their collection, with the adidas Predator 24 a standout shoe of the modern market.
In the long lineage of legendary designs from the German manufacturer, these could rank pretty high in time to come. Adidas will hope some of the current crop of wearers can deliver some big-game moments in the latest release, to give the Predator 24 the prestige of past editions.
The newest colourway of the adidas Predators are here.
We get a blackout pair. ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/kSllbNoBlZ
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) February 6, 2024
4. 2004 – adidas Predator Pulse
Lost a little in the late nineties/early 2000s collection of Predator classics, but still a bloody good boot.
Widely used during a season of shocks in European football, as FC Porto claimed Champions League success under Jose Mourinho and Greece stunned the world to win Euro 2004.
The adidas Predator Pulse featured the classic tongue and elastic combination, with the Pulse designed to increase power when striking the ball. The change from its predecessor, the Predator Mania, saw red stripes introduced on the toe box and the Adidas three stripes wrap under the sole.
The 2004 Adidas Predator Pulse.
You know if your opponent was wearing these on a Sunday, you were in for a tricky afternoon. He’s got a mad whip on him and if you give him time, he’ll run the show. He’s a wizard over an FK too.
One of the most underrated of the Pred collection. pic.twitter.com/6x4Yg4oKjH
— Sunday League Footy (@SundayChants) November 16, 2020
5. 2000 – adidas Predator Precision
Two years after the release of the Predator Accelerator, came the Precision. Introduced shortly before the 2000 European Championship, it was the boot Zinedine Zidane wore as he led world champions France to back-to-back major tournaments.
Interchangeable studs allowed the Precision to be worn on all surfaces, while for the first time velcro was introduced to keep down the classic Predator tongue.
Adidas Predator Precision
First Player you think of? pic.twitter.com/Lb1CpKr1Cg
— My Greatest 11 (@MyGreatest11) January 2, 2023
4. 1998 – adidas Predator Accelerator
Perhaps the first edition that truly gave the Predator its iconic look.
The classic Adidas stripes were given a more rounded look, taking over the body of the boot in a statement design. There’s a good reason that these have been re-made repeatedly over the years, a football fashion that will never go off trend.
Happy 25th Adidas Predator Accelerator pic.twitter.com/qJG6blFyKm
— My Greatest 11 (@MyGreatest11) April 29, 2023
1. 2002 – adidas Predator Mania
The greatest edition in a catalogue of celebrated boots, the adidas Predator Mania might just be the finest football boot ever created.
Velcro was removed in favour of an elastic band to keep the signature tongue in place, with kangaroo leather introduced in a sublimely stylish look.
The Predator Mania was released ahead of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, an era in which football and celebrity merged, companies piled the pounds into unforgettable football adverts, and Beckham-mania reached its peak.
adidas Predator Mania 2002 ⚫️🔴⚪️
Are these the best ever pair of Predator boots? 👀 pic.twitter.com/KSF3KIQlAU
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) November 28, 2023
Just look at that design.