The season is still going on, and adidas has released it's new color update for their Predator goalie range, as well as a new boot, and another redesign of the Predator boot. I ordered the gloves late Friday night last week from adidas' website, and they had arrived unexpectedly on Wednesday of this week. I think I actually have the gloves before some well known websites, as well as professional keepers. Anyway, to the glove. (Pictures are below)
Not much has changed, but if you purchased a pair of the Predator Pro around this time last year, and skipped the color update around Christmas time, there are some noticeable changes.I received the Iker Casillas exclusive SMU for my birthday, and they turned out to be one of my favorite gloves I've ever worn. They were like second skin, amazing grip, good durability(I'm still using them, and I must have played close to 50+ games in them), and I loved the look. With the new glove, everything feels pretty similar, but I guess I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur for fine gloves.
Sizing - I wear a size 9 usually, and I was skeptical about getting a 9 in the new style because I was at a local soccer shop and tried on the Manuel Neuer exclusive SMU and they were a bit big. I had tried on the size 8, and was better rewarded for my downsize. There is noticeable bunching in the palm and lower hand around the wrist strap. It is noticeably bigger all around, it does actually feel a little bulkier. Not heavier though, just a little extra to the glove. So if you wear a size 9, get an 8, or an 8.5. The problem with American soccer shops is that we don't carry half sizes. Try an English website, like great-save.com or just-keepers.com when they do eventually drop on their website. They're usually a little cheaper, but shipping is a little costly.
Wrist Strap/Enclosure - The enclosure is the same, which is a good thing. It's made of a neoprene material that is stitched all the way up to the latex part of the glove. They included a pull loop as well this time around. I actually don't know if they had it on the last color update, but it's a nice addition considering the neoprene is a pain to get a hold of, especially around half time when you put your gloves back on. The wrist strap looks different. It's hard to see it, but it is the same stretchy material as the previous models.One thing I don't like, is that the Velcro first strap, the one half way along the wrist strap, is a solid piece of Velcro. They did this on the Neuer pair as well. I feel like it takes a little bit away from the fitting as it feels awkward on the wrist. The Casillas pair was cut into three strips and felt much better when getting the perfect wrap. The personalize window on the back is also a little different, not anything major, but it looks a little cheap. I prefer the plain black of the Casillas.
Grip - The grip is great. It's tacky from the unwrapping, and I can't wait to put them to use. It's definitely a softer latex, which is a welcomed addition. The Casillas era was a little harder, but it paid off in the long run as it didn't wear as fast. It's a negative cut model, meaning the palm is stitched on the inside of the glove to a gusset, then stitched to some neoprene, then stitched to the backhand. I love adidas' take on the negative cut. The thumb is wrapped under and over and is the only thing not negative, but making a negative cut wrapped thumb is a difficult task, and it usually comes out awkwardly large and ugly.
Backhand - The backhand has been redesigned. I'm not a big fan of it, but i do like the color scheme. I guess adidas is going with some kind of X pattern for next season, as the same thing appears on the Predator boots. It's an all latex backhand as well. Some embossing was done, nothing like the predecessor, its just mostly done on the fingers.
Overall, the glove is great. It fits a little big, so definitely go down a size if you have the option. If you can't you'll be OK in your normal size. It does feels like it was made cheaper, and I was afraid of that when I tried on the Manuel Neuer pair. Understandably, the glove retails for $80, and is the best bang for you buck purchase for goalkeepers, bar none. So if you're in the market for a new pair of gloves, and you don't want to break the bank, say on their new Horizon model which retails for close to double this one, the adidas Predator Pro is absolutely the glove for you.
I would rate this glove...
(quality isn't the best, these were loaded from my phone)
Comparison - it is a bigger overall glove
Palm and Wrist Strap
Backhand and Wrist Strap
New personalization window and solid Velcro strap
Palm - being worn
Thumb - being worn
Backhand, gussets, strapped fully
Backhand with noticeable bunching
Bending at the wrist, you can see the material start to wrinkle together
Gussets. You can also see the neoprene stitching behind the gussets as well as the bunching in the palm
The embossed fingers and new backhand design.