For most football fans John Collins was little more than a good player, mildly successful for club and country, and with a majestic left foot. For the football hipster however, he is the stuff of legend.
The adidas Predator is arguably the most iconic and successful boot in the history of modern football, and it was the Scottish midfielder who scored the very first goal wearing the boot with a free kick in the Old Firm derby in 1994.
Back then the boot was marketed as ‘game changing’. Thick rubber wedges in the striking zone, designed to create power and swerve, certainly made it stand out. Fast forward 16 years to the new adidas Predator 20 Mutator and the boot has evolved further, taking inspiration from predators in the animal kingdom and introducing DEMONSKIN.
Ben Herath, adidas Football Design Director, explains: “For 2020 we wanted to unleash predator to a new generation. We knew we had to do something completely different, go beyond evolution and deliver a new innovation, something that would intimidate opponents. DEMONSKIN is at the heart of this.”
DEMONSKIN is a new breakthrough technology for adidas Football, made up of a textured spike layer on the Predator 20 Mutator upper. Informed by years of data-based research and testing, DEMONSKIN is the result of a computer algorithm being used to create an entirely new interface between boot and ball.
Rob Ashcroft, director of football footwear for adidas, explains to Yahoo Sport UK the design and concept further: “I think if you look at the optics, first of all, you've got something that looks very very disruptive from a silhouette point of view. And outside of that the big talking point is the DEMONSKIN, which gives you a fresh new take and a new optic on the Predator technology.
“When you think about Predator over the years, it's changed from kind of be these rubberized fins from the 1996 edition. What we've done here is we've got 406 individual spikes which essentially gives you a fresh new optic, but the performance benefits from true innovation, which is going to help when it comes to purchase on the ball, so spin, grip, control... all of these elements.”
Paul Pogba stars in the advert for the new Predator 20 Mutator, and walking down the archive wall at the launch of the boot it’s clear how synonymous it has been with some of the best and most iconic footballing moments in the last few decades.
David Beckham’s half-way line strike for Manchester United against Wimbledon in 1996, and Zinedine Zidane’s technically perfect volley for Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League Final to name but a few. But the new generation of boot isn’t just targeted at the most elite players in the men’s game.
“We actually test with polls of footballers from all over the world, all genders, all ranges, I would say from grassroots football, right up to to elite,” Herath explains.
“And that's male and female. So we we try and make sure that we're building for everyone. We took a lot of learnings that we heard throughout this testing process and built that into the boot.”