Year of release 1998
Worn By: David Beckham (England), Zinedine Zidane (France), Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Alessandro Del Piero (Italy), Paul Gascoigne (England), Steven Gerrard (England), Mathias Sammer (Germany), Didier Deschamps (France), Christian Karamebeu (France), John Collins (Scotland) Kevin Gallagher (Scotland), Jaap Stam (Netherlands), Edwin Van Der Sar (Netherlands), Javier Zanetti (Argentina), Giovani Elber (Brazil)
Personally, this is my all time favourite Adidas Predator football boot and along with many of the older footballers out there it’s a very close call as to whether the Accelerator or the Mania is the best Predator ever made and some would argue the best football boot of all time. Yes that’s a big statement but for many players who wore these during the late 90’s they will know exactly what I’m talking about.
The Accelerator was released prior to the World Cup in 1998 which was being held in France. This is the first world cup that I remember seeing the big Nike v Adidas rivalry. Nike had put a lot of money into Ronaldo (Brazil) and given him a signature boot where as Adidas using the 4th Generation of Predator were keen to get one over on their American counterparts. Beckham, Zidane, Kluivert and Del Piero were just some of the top names Adidas used to push this new top of the range boot. Adidas walked away from the tournament knowing they had done a great job. The history books show France winning and Zidane scoring 2 goals, albeit headers, wearing the iconic boots. Images that were sent around the world of Beckham scoring a sublime freekick against Columbia and then being sent off against Argentina wearing the Accelerators. This over the top exposure from the media had the Accelerators on the back pages of every newspaper and raised the profile of these boots.
In 1998 I was in my last year at University and couldn’t afford to go out and by these when they were released. I was still wearing the Predator Touch boots but looked at these every time I went into a sports shop hoping that one day I could afford to buy them. The retail price in 1998 was again set at a staggering 129.99GBP which was a huge amount back then. I graduated in 1999 and treated myself to a pair of Accelerators before starting my first PE teaching job. You know what it’s like first day at a new job and you want to have new things, I had worked hard through University and when I knew I was teaching football and rugby in my new work place I wanted some new boots to go with it. On the first day at work I walked outside to meet the pupils, a Year 9 class (13-14 years old) and I heard 2 of them say ‘look at Sirs boots, he has Accelerators!!!!’ it was almost like the pupils had accepted me as the new teacher purely down to the choice of my boots. I wore these boots into the ground and even today look back on them as the best I have ever had.
The Predator Accelerator was launched in the classic Black/ White/ Red colour way. This was becoming known as the Original Predator colour way. Adidas later released the boot in similar colour ways to the previous Predator the Touch. A white/black/red boot was released as well as a red/black/white version. The Adidas released its first limited edition Predator by going crazy and releasing the Electricity colour way. Only 999 pairs of this colour way were made and are a must for any predator collector. They are extremely hard to find and if you are lucky enough to find a pair then you must expect to pay top money for the boots. Brand New in the Box versions of these can easily go as high as 1000GBP in desirable sizes although some people have been lucky recently to get them a little lower than this. All of the Predator Accelerators are becoming extremely sought after especially if they are brand new. Prices for the original colour way seem to be from 500-700GBP whereas the white and red colour ways tend to be going as high as the Electricity colour these days. Anything from 700-1000 and in extreme cases even higher.
There are 2 different generations of the Accelerator and from looking at the boots it is very easy to distinguish between them. On the first generation of the boots there is a very clear red flash to the back of the boot on the original, white and electricity colour ways however on the white colour way the flash is black. For the second generation of Accelerator, Adidas decided to lose the flash and the boot is simply the same colour way as the rest of the boot.
The Predator Accelerator had quite a few key changes from the Predator Touch. Firstly, they had changed the size of the tongue. Adidas had fitted the Accelerator with a smaller fold over tongue than we had previously seen. There was no writing on the tongue just simply the three stripes on the iconic red tongue. Adidas marketed the Accelerator a boot providing the ultimate traction to any other boot on the market. For this, Adidas had now given the Soft ground version a bladed sole plate. On previous boots, the SG model had used the standard 6 stud configuration but Adidas took it to the next level and took away the standard round studs. They placed 10 Blades on the sole plate, 2 at the heel, 3 down either side of the forefoot and 2 across the middle of the forefoot. This bladed configuration gave unbelievable grip but also allowed players to make fast changes of direction. This was the first Adidas SG boot that you could not change the studs/blades on which did become an issue after using them for a while. On the firm ground model Adidas used similar looking blades but made them much shorter and applied 15 of them to the sole plate. The blades did cause some controversy, the greater grip started to be blamed for some muscle injuries as there was no give at all. The blades also started to get a bad name for causing more severe wounds when players fouled the opposition. It was claimed that the blades caused a long gash on the leg when fouls were being committed. I cant really say from my own experience that I caused anyone any more harm due to wearing blades, or blame the extra grip as a factor that resulted in injury to myself as to me the sole plate gave me everything that I wanted, Interestingly thought, a few of the professional players started to change the sole plate ad disregard the blades. Beckham used all blades first and then switched to having the back to blades replaced by rounded studs.
He then went a step further and replaced all the blades with 8 rounded studs on his boots. Why did he do this, well only he knows but I’d guess it was him wanting the more natural feel of the rounded studs. It was also rumoured in the late 90’s that Sir Alex Ferguson was not a fan of bladed boots and wanted all Manchester United players to wear ‘normal’ studs. As I said it was a rumour but seemed to have some weight to it with Beckham changing and keeping the rounded studs.
The predator fins were also made smaller on the Accelerator and for the first time they were sewn into the kangaroo leather upper. This made the boots look better but Adidas also felt that it gave the player greater control with the ball as it was now closer to the foot when cushioning and striking the ball.
The Accelerator also introduced the asymmetrical lacing system for the first time on a Predator. The laces on the boots went with the natural curvature of the foot instead of being straight down the middle and this opened up a greater surface area for striking the ball. Adidas stating again that these boots would add to the already famous statements of more power and more accuracy. Changing the lace placement offered players a much smoother strike zone allowing for a cleaner, crisper connection with the ball.
In the late 1990’s Adidas were pushing their Adidas Equipment range in a whole number of areas. Trainers (sneakers) released at this time brandished with the Adidas equipment logo were perceived as being the best Adidas were making and were well known for their comfort and performance. Adidas incorporated this into the Accelerator and the insole featured the famous ‘Feet you wear’ technology. Adidas had a great logo for this added piece of technology and it proved very popular indeed. The “Feet You Wear’ technology was actually owned by a different company and Adidas worked with them to produce the insole. Originally designed for the medical profession, Adidas took the technology and made one of the best insoles in their history with the technology. Sadly, Adidas never agreed another contract with the company and it was stopped after just a couple of years but the Accelerator was fortunate to be made at this time and is one of the most comfortable boots to wear due to the excellent standard of insole.
The logo for the ‘Feet You Wear” technology was very distinguishable and from memory had the name of Freddie but I’m not 100% sure on that one.
From a collectors perspective if you like Predators then these are a must for your collection. Prices can be extremely high but then again once you have them in your hand you can feel just how well put together the boots actually are. Finding Accelerators in a brand new condition is becoming harder and harder and if you ever the opportunity
As you can see the Adidas Predator Accelerator took the silo to a whole new level. Adidas threw everything at the boot and they came up with something very special indeed. It was so popular that when Adidas decided to remake 3 models of the predator in 2014 the Accelerator was one of them. The remake was a classic looking boot with a modern take. It was great to see players such as Paul Pogba (Juventus) and Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea) wearing them in the top leagues in Europe. Adidas made 1825 pairs of the remake and they sold out in an extremely short period of time. It was also noticeable that out of all the remakes the Accelerators are the most sought after and also holding their value. Obviously they are not as good as the original but still a fantastic boot.
So do you have any memories of these boots? It could be playing in them yourselves or could be remembering special moments like Becks v Columbia etc..... Let me know through email to firstname.lastname@example.org