adidas ACE vs adidas Predator: Which is the better boot for you?
The story of the ACE and Predator is as dramatic as a film script (kind of), and the question of which boot is best is a tough one to answer.
In the latest part of our Boot VS series, we’ve got a battle between an old legend and the new kid that was meant to replace it. The adidas ACE and the adidas Predator both stack up quite similarly in terms of performance, aesthetics and target market, with both boots focusing heavily on control, but which one comes out on top in a straight comparison? Hopefully this story will help you decide which of the two is best for you, and if you’re a midfielder who enjoys pulling the strings this should be a particularly enjoyable read.
Introduction to the adidas ACE
In 2015, the adidas ACE was released ushering in a revolution of how adidas created football boots. The Predator was believed to be no more, and the ACE stepped up in an attempt to fill the void. For two years the ACE was adidas’ boot for midfielders and players who wanted to control the game, much like the Predator was before it. Players who have worn the adidas ACE include Dele Alli, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba, all of whom are players who are their team’s creative presence.
The technology used in this laceless boot is all about giving the user the right fit. There were material developments too including ControlSkin, an area in the midfoot area which, though quite stiff and rigid, was intended to lock to foot in place. To encourage a better first touch, the Primeknit vamp gives the boots a more cushioned feel, whilst in the sole of the boot there is SprintFame technology which gives the user much more traction when moving around the pitch. In summary the ACE utilised updated technologies of the Predator, but after a matter of months it fell by the wayside as the Predator came back into adidas’ circulation in full force.
Introduction to the adidas Predator
The adidas Predator is one of the most widely known boots of the modern football era. 2019 marked the 25th year of the boot’s existence and Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham helped commemorate the occasion with an anniversary boot pack back in March.
Despite it’s legendary status though, the silo was effectively replaced in 2015 by the adidas ACE, muto ch the shock of fans and the wider football boot world. The outcries were short lived however as it only took two years for the Predator to return, and adidas have understandably been going heavy on the nostalgia front since then with a series of remakes. These remakes have included the 1998 Accelerator model, the 2000 Precision model and an iconic 2002 Champagne Predator Mania model – Beckham’s trademark boot.
Famous players who currently wear the boot include Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil and Dele Alli, very much the same players who wore the ACE when it was in distribution. The latest Predators feature a Purecut Laceless system which increases the control surface of the players foot, and an ACE-like midfoot structure (known as Forged Knit) provides more stability during movement. adidas claim that the BOOST midsole provides an energy return with every step too, and the heel features an Anatomical Upper and a Sockfit Collar to mimic the shape of the foot, helping to lock the boot in place.
The Predator’s short hiatus was just that. Short.
Which boot has the best colour options?
I think everyone would agree that historically, the Predator has some of the best and most iconic colourways ever in boots, let alone in this comparison. The adidas ACE only had a short time on the market and therefore had fewer colourways by default, but that being said the Predator takes the cake in this criterion.
The ACE did have some nice colourways, with some bright colours including orange, green and blue. My personal favourite of the adidas ACE colours was the 17+ Purecontrol in white and black with yellow/green accents though. This boot was debuted in the Champions League Final in Cardiff and the colourway is really slick, it’s just a class looking boot all round that blends old and new ideas. When it comes to the Predator, my favourite colourway is the Blackout 19+ Predator, courtesy of the latest boot pack. These boots are very cool, who doesn’t love a blacked-out boot?
The Predator has better colour options now and historically, though in many ways it’s hard to fault the adidas ACE given it’s shorter lifespan.
Which boot is more comfortable?
As mentioned, both of these boots are designed with ball control and passing in mind, but are they both actually comfortable? Users of the adidas ACE said the boot needs a fair bit of time to break it in, but once it has softened up a bit, it offers great flex and comfort for most of the time. The Primeknit sleeve helps the foot stay in place without being restrictive, though to get the most out of the boot you of course need to get the size spot on, try on these boots before buying.
The adidas Predator is very similar to the ACE in terms of comfort, and like the ACE it is available in both laced and laceless versions. It will take some time to break in, and there is a similar Primeknit sleeve to lock the foot in place, but crucially the Predator has BOOST technology in the insole to provide more flexibility to the player.
Which boot is more durable?
Both these boots use a lot of the same technology and from a comfort perspective there is very little to choose between them, but when it comes to durability there's a bit of daylight.. The Predator has been built to last, and many wearers say that the boot feels like it will last a much longer time than your typical boots. By contrast the ACE fell more into the middle of the pack, failing to create any distinguishable separation from its competitors.
We’ll chalk this one up to the Predator.
Which boot performs best on the pitch?
As with every boot silo nowadays, the adidas ACE and adidas Predator are available in different stud configurations to suit different surfaces. The BOOST insole technology found in the latest Predators were not available in the ACE, though interestingly the studs of the Predator have left some players wanting, with claims that the size of them make it harder to get good footing on some surfaces. We’ll call this a small win for the adidas ACE.
For both the ACE and the Predator, a number of reviewers commented on the fact the laceless versions haven’t been as strong from a lockdown perspective and you’d want to see, though laced versions do help negate this potential issue. A few users said that the ControlSkin material on the adidas ACE put some pressure on the top of your foot that restricted performance. But overall player feedback on both of these boots has been positive. The adidas ACE has players saying it helps with their first touch and flexibility of movement around the pitch in particular, whereas there was praise for the way the adidas Predator enables you to ping a pass and drill a shot like not many other boots do.
If you had to give one boot the edge on performance it would be the Predator, but both of these boot silos offer a lot of quality and performance on the pitch.
Which boot is best for strikers?
The new BOOST technology of the adidas Predator makes it easier for someone to unleash a ferocious shot, and it’s enough to give the boot a slender advantage over the ACE. Both boots aren’t specifically aimed at strikers, and you’d be better off looking at something like the adidas X or the Nike Mercurial, but they’ll hold their own.
Which boot is best for midfielders?
adidas touted the ACE PureControl 17+ as the best boot a midfield maestro could put on their feet and they were right. The comfort, technology and performance on offer is ideal for a creative midfield player. All that being said, the Predator uses a lot of the same technology and it would be a great boot for midfielders too. This is essentially the target area for both, so whilst the Predator has a greater range of recent models if you’re able to grab a pair of ACEs (and you have a hipster streak in you) that is a more than suitable choice.
Which boot is best for defenders?
I would have to say that neither of these boots would be ideal for defenders, the ControlSkin mid might make the boot too restrictive for a defender wanting to make tackles and interceptions, and the reservations regarding the laceless versions in particular would give me pause for thought.
Which boot is best for goalkeepers?
Same again, I am not sure either of these are ideal for a goalkeeper. However, the adidas Predator would be my pick, as it offers a goalkeeper better traction for making diving saves through the BOOST sole, not to mention help with a keeper’s first touch on the ball.
Which boot offers the best value for money?
As you may be aware adidas name their laceless boots with the “+” symbol (i.e. adidas Predator 19+), whilst laced versions range in quality from “.1” (i.e. adidas X 19.1) to the “.2”, and “.3” with the “.1” being the highest quality and “.3” being the lowest. Both the ACE and the Predator follow this format. For the ACE, the laceless version of the boot is at most £180, which is reasonable for a top of the line boot particularly given the fact the boot hasn’t been updated for a few years. The .1 version of the ACE is £120 and under, .2 boot is £80 and under and finally the .3 version is around the £70 mark. For the Predator the laceless boot is around the £300 mark and under, clearly more expensive though not surprising given the weight of the name. For the laced boots, the .1 is £180 and under, .2 version is around the £80 mark and the .3 is at a similar price point, £85.
Both of the boot silos can be found on FOOTY.COM’s cheap football boots page. Given that the ACE has been officially discontinued, FOOTY.COM is easily one of the best places to shop for deals.
To summarise the affordability of the ACE and Predator, it’s the ACE which takes this round. The result is somewhat expected given that they don’t carry the prestige of the Predator name, however it’s highly likely that this time next year the results will flip as the ACE continues to get more and more harder to find.
The ACE and Predator are two very similar boots. One was brought in to take over from the other, only to be moved aside for the return of the other. It’s a plot that wouldn’t look out of place in a film script.
The adidas ACE and the adidas Predator both use very similar technology and are ideal for the same type of player on the pitch. However, in my eyes there is one clear winner: The adidas Predator. It has a better range of available colourways, is built to last and is comfortable and performs well across a number of surfaces. The price is more than the adidas ACE, and the ACE also carries the ‘bonus’ of being a harder to find boot, but on balance I’d still lean towards a pair of Predators. 25 years of adidas boot technology and history all culminating in one boot, that’s special.