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Nike, Adidas and Puma Unveil New Boots for the Beautiful Game

Puma’s latest Neymar collaboration, released Thursday, will face competition from Adidas and Nike as the fellow footwear giants drop boots of their own with the help of some of global football’s most famous faces.

Adidas dropped the latest entry in its decades-old Predator range Tuesday. Dubbed Predator Freak, the updated shoe design features 360-degree coverage of the brand’s Demonskin technology. First introduced last season, the innovation uses a computer algorithm to align rubber spikes with key points where shoe meets ball. Responding to direct player feedback, Adidas’ team has extended the spike coverage for this new design, positioning them with the aim to enable better control and increase ball swerve.

“From first wear, I knew Adidas had created something special with their Demonskin material,” Manchester United star midfielder Paul Pogba said in a statement. “As soon as I touched the ball, I really felt a difference in the way my foot connected. I’m happy my experience with it so far has impacted the new Predator design.”

The latest entry in Adidas' Predator range, the Predator Freak, expands the use of the brand's Demonskin technology
Adidas Predator Freak Adidas

The Predator Freak also transforms the design’s silhouette, allowing the foot a greater range of movement and improving adaptability for differently shaped feet, Adidas said. A pure-cut, laceless collar and two-piece sock construction, meanwhile, form part of the reimagined upper, enabling an “effortless instep for eased entry into the boot and a total locked-in fit around the midfoot and ankle,” it added.

Aesthetically, the Predator Freak features three stripes wrapping from lateral to medial sides and around the underside of the boot, referencing the heritage designs of the 1998 Predator Accelerator and the 2000 Predator Precision. Luminous yellow Demonskin spikes pop against a bright all-over blue colorway, to round off the look.

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Nike, meanwhile, plans to debut its latest entry in the soccer footwear market on Feb. 1, following a Nike Members-only launch slated for Monday.

Nike's Mercurial Vapor/Superfly Dragonfly introduces a new grippy upper
Nike Mercurial Vapor/Superfly Dragonfly Nike

Evolving from the 2019 Mercurial 360, the lightweight Mercurial Vapor/Superfly Dragonfly introduces a new Vaporposite upper that combines a grippy grid mesh with “premium” lining for ball control at high speeds, Nike said. Underfoot, the brand’s Aerotrak plate brings responsiveness for quick cuts and acceleration. Inspired by a computer motherboard, the bright, psychedelic launch colorway pays homage to iconic Mercurials from years past, Nike added.

Alongside the Future Z 1.1, the second football boot to emerge from its new partnership with Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, Puma also debuted the Ultra 1.2 football boot Thursday.

Puma's Ultra 1.2 debuted alongside the brand's latest Neymar shoe, the Future Z 1.1
Antoine Griezmann, a star forward for the Barcelona soccer club, wearing the Puma Ultra 1.2 Puma

The shoe features a lightweight Matryxevo upper, providing the wearer with “superior stability, durability and traction for explosive forward motion speed and acceleration,” Puma said. Underneath, the Peba SpeedUnit outsole sports a split-sole design inspired by the brand’s track running heritage, as well as a soleplate that combines “subtle” spikes in the front and V-shaped studs “for lightning speed and acceleration.” A thin GripControl Pro skin, applied in key areas, helps with ball control. The Ultra 1.2 is available in black, white, “red blast” and “yellow-alert” colorways.