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Nike Superfly vs adidas Predator

Dean Ariola

In Nike Mercurial Superfly and adidas Predator, you have two of the most popular football boots of all time. They have commanded a following among the sport’s most established names. And yet, in many respects, they are built differently! They have separate DNAs upon which their identities are grounded on. Here in Football Boots UK we give you a point-by-point comparison to give you a sense of which boot would be your ideal partner on the pitch. We continue to update this page as both brands regularly provide generational updates to their respective prized silos.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 9 vs adidas Predator ’24

By 2024, we had the 9th generation of the Mercurial Superfly going up against the 2024 iteration of the Predator on the retail front. Suffice to say that the theme of this boot battle was SPEED vs CONTROL, as it had always been in the past. So in line with the said theme, each boot had its own highlight feature that made each stood out among all the other football boot options out there.

Zoom Air Technology vs Strikeskin

The priorities of the boots could not be more different. This was best represented by the fact that the main draw of the Superfly 9 rested on the Zoom Air technology positioned along the outsole while that of the Predator ’24 was built onto the Strikeskin elements of the upper. Nike marketed Air Zoom, the 3/4 length strobel bag situated within the cavity of the soleplate, as having a propulsion, energy-return effect meant to boost acceleration. There were questions though whether Air Zoom really reached this responsive expectation, but what it did best that no other boot could claim to being able to do so was providing that impact-absorbing cushioning that made each step less grinding and more seamless. Strikeskin, on the other hand, made the Predator ’24 the grippiest football boot out there as the elements indeed gave that stickiness to the ball. This meant approximately getting an additional half-a-second ball grip for you to control the direction and spin of your strike.

Those who based their game on speed, like the wingers and attacking fullbacks, certainly chose to benefit from the comfortable underfoot sensation of the Mercurial. The long-ball specialists, the free kick-takers, the crossers were frequent wearers of the Predator.

Vaporposite+ vs Hybridtouch 2.0

Nike’s boot had a Vaporposite+ upper composed of a multilayered mesh and a structural cage. The Hybridtouch 2.0 of the adidas Predator went with the Hybridtouch 2.0, which was foam-based overlaid with a thin PU. There was no separating the two, however, as both uppers offered a thin touch on the ball. So in case of getting that padded, protective feel, expect very little to none at all. They were also relatively pliable, so they did provide an element of comfort especially once broken-in. As they were synthetic in nature, they maintained a decent level of structural integrity for that responsiveness. Whichever you chose, it was expected to bring a different experience compared to knitted boots and leather boots.

Fit and Feel

Now this was were things diverge again besides the earlier point about Air Zoom and Strikeskin. While lockdown was the same and optimal thanks to the lacing setup, and that the uppers wrapped around the shape of the foot nicely, the boots had their bias in terms of width. The Superfly 9 was best for those who were narrow-fitting, while the Predator ’24 was more suitable for wide-fitting. It must be said though that the Mercurial boot had been more forgiving over the years, especially in the Superfly 9 thanks to the incorporation of a Flyknit tongue that gave the boot some lateral stretch. A wide-feet player trying out the Mercurial opted to check out first if he can take in the level of tightness. Narrow-feet players were on the look out for that expected additional space and if responsiveness was severely affected or not.

Tooling

Traction-wise, the tooling had decent levels of penetration and carried a functional balance between midfoot rigidity and forefoot flex. But the Mercurial had some advantage in terms of bite because of the more narrow shaping of the blades and Tristar studs compared to the more compact, almost triangular studs of the Predator’s Controlframe. And as mentioned above, the Mercurial had Zoom Air technology as a highlight feature, which was going along the soleplate.

Elite Variations

For this comparison we had the Nike Mercurial in its Dynamic Fit-collared Superfly 9 form and the Predator ’24 in its Fold-over tongue variation. Some chose these boots because of the sock-like look (as well as some prevention of soil and/rubber crums from getting inside the boot) for the former and the early 2000s, nostalgic build of the latter. Apart from the Superfly 9 and the Predator FT though, we also had the low-cut Vapor 15 for the Mercurial and the laceless and laced low options for the Predator. Getting the laced low-cut option for either of the two brought that familiar, more standard collar setup, not to mention the additional savings by going for the plain and usual. adidas lead the mainstream boots in the laceless category, and so players who were into plug-and-play boots had the chance to experience the benefits of Predator ’24 in their preferred closure system.

Superfly 9 Stars and Predator ’24 Headliners

Kylian Mbappe was the superstar representing the Superfly 9. Opposite him was Jude Bellingham for the Predator ’24. Each represented the identity of their silos, with Mbappe going all in on speed and Bellingham delivering a masterclass on control. Supporting the Superfly was CR7, the poster boy of the silo and had a blistering pace himself at his peak. Trent Alexander-Arnold, known for his crosses and long-range shooting, switched from Under Armour to adidas and immediately went on to wear the Predator ’24.

In short…

Superfly 9 was the preferred choice of:

  • Narrow-fitting players
  • Those who liked the underfoot sensation of the Zoom Air bag
  • Thin touch on the ball
  • Optimal lockdown because of the laced closure
  • fans of the likes of Mbappe and CR7

Predator ’24 won on those that:

  • Like the grippiness and control of Strikeskin
  • Wide-fitting
  • Pliable, comfortable upper
  • wear laceless and/or treasure the Fold-over tongues nostalgia of the early 2000s
  • Were followers of the likes of Bellingham and Alexander-Arnold

Full, in-depth reviews of each boot are available here.


Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 vs adidas Predator Freak

Which is Best For You?…

Superfly: Vaporposite

The Superfly’s upper is constructed with a layering of a soft interal Avail Q liner and an external structural Titan Synthetic liner, overlaid with an engineered Mesh and a Duragon Wet Traction coating

Predator: Demonskin

Predator uses adidas Primeknit upper, that also incorportate rubber spike elements called Demonskin all around the upper that provide off-the-charts grip on the ball.

The ball feel with the Mercurial’s Vaporposite upper leans on the barefoot side because of its thin construction. On the other hand, the ball contact sensation with the Predator is one which is a bit padded because of the rubber spikes that come in-between. And speaking of the rubber spikes, the Demonskin provides the Predator an insane amount of ball grip that is simply unmatched by any boot in the market. So, if you want a more direct feel for the ball, go for the Mercs. But if rubber spikes do not concern you and would want the grippiest football boot available now, the Predator Freak is the perfect match for you.

The previous generation Predator 20+ and the Superfly 7 both had knitted uppers with Primeknit and Flyknit respectively. That all changed with only the Predator Freak opting to retain its knitted upper. The Superfly 8 returns to its synthetic beginnings by introducing a thin and translucent Vaporposite upper. Because the composition of the uppers is different, it makes it easier to choose among these two boots if your priority is the material construct of the boot in general.

How the boots fit…

Alongside knit in the discussion of innovative features is the application of laceless construction and the adidas Predator Freak+ is arguably one, if not the leading laceless silo in the market and the easy choice for you that prefer no laces.

The Predator is truly a sock-like football boot with its knit material, high-cut collar, and slip-on construction. The lockdown though in this adidas boot mainly comes from the snug fit around the ankle and midfoot, making it more applicable for those with a bigger foot shape.

In contrast, the Superfly features a standard central lacing system and a narrow profile with a snug that is relatively consistent from front to rear. It is worth noting that the Superfly 8 added a bit more space to more forgiving for larger foot shapes.

While the laceless factor will be welcomed by those who like a plug-and-play boot like the Predator, lockdown-wise, the Superfly is more recommendable. The foot feels more secure and in-place.

Just like in the upper, the Predator has the same tooling like the previous generation in the form of the split sole Controlframe. The Mercurial still has its Aerotrak arrow on the forefoot but the tooling has been redesigned to have a midfoot spine connecting the stud plates.

Superfly: Aerotrac

The Mercurial’s Aerotrac, aside from having bladed studs, has a progressive forefoot flex that acts like a spring and the harder you press, the more energy return it gives.

Predator: Controlframe

The Predator’s Controlframe features conical studs on the forefoot that gives the player a smooth rotational movement.

Which Soleplate? Both soleplates provide aggressive traction. the Predator is your boot of choice if you prefer deft movements on the pitch and rotational turns, whereas the Superfly and its Aerotrac progressive forefoot flex are excellent if you’re all about bursting straight line speed.

Who Wears What?

In general forwards, given the demand for them to be fast and explosive, tend to favour the Superfly, while midfielders tend to gravitate towards the Predator to assist them with ball control and passing.

Mercurial Superfly

Cristiano Ronaldo is Nike’s biggest name wearing the Superfly, he has been joined as the face of the Superfly by Kylian Mbappe, who after CR7 completed his signature ‘CR7 Chapters’, shared with him the Mercurial Dream Speed Series. England’s Jadon Sancho has also joined the pair on the Mercurial Superfly.

Predator Wearers

The Predator is headlined by Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, a league champion at Juventus and a World Cup winner with France. Pogba has his own limited edition Predators dedicated to him known as his Seasons.

To summarize…

The reasons to pick the Predator is that it is laceless, knitted, snug in just the right areas, and delivers the most aggressive ball grip. The Mercurial is your boot because of its tight fit, secure laced lockdown, barefoot touch, and responsive soleplate for a speed-boosting sensation. Either way, both are excellent football boots and with them differing in more ways than one, choosing between the two has all the more become a matter of preference.

You can read full reviews of each boot here.


Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 vs adidas Predator 20

Whether you are an enthusiast or just a regular user, you will find no shortage of football boots with cool features designed to meet your specific needs. Two popular options are from Nike and adidas are the Mercurial Superfly 7 Elite and Predator 20+ respectively. To help you decide which boot is the one for your game, below we compare them side by side for you.

Which is Best For You?…

Superfly: Flyknit

The Superfly’s upper is made out of Nike’s patented knit technology called Flyknit that is designed to be as thin and soft as possible to give you the most barefoot-like sensation when it comes to controlling the ball.

Predator: Demonskin

Predator uses adidas Primeknit upper, that also incorporates instead 406 rubber elements called Demonskin on the forefoot and instep that provide off-the-charts grip on the ball.

If you are looking for the most direct feel for the ball then the Mercurial is for you, otherwise, if you want a boot with an extreme amount of grip for the ball and don’t mind the rubber elements between your foot and the ball, then the pair for you are the Predator.

How Much Do They Cost?

Both the Predator and Superfly come in a range of models, with different features and qualities of materials based on the price, they break down as follows:

Nowadays, a knitted upper is a craze in the football boot industry and for good reasons. A knitted upper offers the sock-like attributes that enable a boot to be snug and pliable. And on that note, both the Superfly’s Flyknit and adidas Primeknit deliver, with just one minor note to point out: the Primeknit is relatively stiffer to make the Demonskin more durable. Without minding other attributes then, the Superfly would be your obvious footwear choice if you are looking for a more natural knitted fit and feel.

Alongside knit in the discussion of innovative features is the application of laceless construction and the adidas Predator20+ is arguably one, if not the leading laceless silo in the market and the easy choice for you that prefer no laces.

How the boots fit…

The Predator is truly a sock-like football boot with its knit material, high-cut collar, and slip-on construction. The lockdown though in this adidas boot mainly comes from the snug fit around the ankle and midfoot, making it more applicable for those with a bigger foot shape.

In contrast, the Superfly features a standard central lacing system and a narrow forefoot profile with a snug that is relatively consistent from front to rear.

While the laceless factor will be welcomed by those who like a plug-and-play boot like the Predator, lockdown-wise, the Superfly is more recommendable if it’s simply about customizing and personalizing the fit.

Another common point about the Superfly and Predator is that they both have a split soleplate design, namely the Aerotrac and Controlframe respectively. But that similarity easily breaks down if you consider how the soleplate functions and how they cater to certain types of players.

Superfly: Aerotrac

The Mercurial’s Aerotrac, aside from having bladed studs, has a progressive forefoot flex that acts like a spring and the harder you press, the more energy return it gives.

Predator: Controlframe

The Predator’s Controlframe features conical studs on the forefoot that gives the player a smooth rotational movement.

Which Soleplate? Both soleplates provide aggressive traction. the Predator is your boot of choice if you prefer deft movements on the pitch and rotational turns, whereas the Superfly and its Aerotrac progressive forefoot flex are excellent if you’re all about bursting straight line speed.

Who Wears What?

In general forwards, given the demand for them to be fast and explosive, tend to favour the Superfly, while midfielders tend to gravitate towards the Predator to assist them with ball control and passing.

Mercurial Superfly

Cristiano Ronaldo is Nike’s biggest name wearing the Superfly, he has been joined as the face of the Superfly by Kylian Mbappe, who after CR7 completed his signature ‘CR7 Chapters’, they shared the Mercurial Dream Speed Series, England’s Jadon Sancho has also joined the pair on the Mercurial Superfly.

Predator Wearers

The Predator is well-represented by Dele Alli at Tottenham and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, a league champion at Juventus and a World Cup winner with France. Pogba has his own limited edition Predators dedicated to him known as his Seasons.

Which Boot To Pick?

In conclusion, both boots are fantastic and even so under conditions that best utilizes their attributes. In the end, what matters is your football boot preferences, like in the case of you choosing the Superfly and your friend wearing the Predator instead simply because you like the heel counter to be internal and he likes them on the outside.

Enjoyed this comparison? Check out the full reviews of each boot.

Author

Dean Ariola

Dean has worked Chief writer at the Black & Orange team since 2020, he has an indepth knowledge of all the soccer shoes from the big brands, you have him to thank for all the updates to our Boot Secrets guide and he is first on the scene with all the new releases for you!