New Face of Adidas Predator Boots – Are They Moving Beyond Nostalgia as a Selling Point?

We’re all suckers to nostalgia. There seems to be a general rule that, when your memories hit the twenty-year mark, they suddenly become rose-tinted.

For instance, we would say with a clear conviction that everything about the 1990s was better than the world we’re living in now. The food, the haircuts, the fashion, the music. But that’s because it was a long time ago, and when things stretch that far back in time, we’re far more likely to have a more positive outlook on them.

Don’t ask us why. We’re not psychologists. But the point is that nostalgia is a very real thing, and businesses have realised that it sells.

Across every industry, nostalgia has become an incredibly successful USP. If you’re rifling through clothing stores on the high street, you’ll be coming across various fashion styles that look like they have travelled forward in time from the 1980s. If you’re looking for a casino to play for an hour or two, you’re not just looking to find one with a high return to player percentage, but a host of retro-styled games that thrust you into the past.

No matter the organisation, dipping a toe into the pool of nostalgia has proved to be an incredibly lucrative option.

Adidas And The Nostalgia Factor

Perhaps that’s why Adidas have doubled down on it in recent years. Being one of the leading sports fashion brands, Adidas Predator Boots – perhaps the most famous boots in the history of football – have spent the last few years drawing back on their past to reignite interest. They started in 2017 when Adidas and David Beckham released a trio of shoes inspired by the 1998 Predator Accelerator.  Nearly twenty years on from its initial release. Twenty years. We said so, didn’t we?!

Adidas Predators had been unceremoniously retired back in 2015, but just two years later, the company teamed up with Beckham to release the “Beckham Capsule Collection”, including Stadium, Street, and Cage UltraBOOST editions of the Predator Accelerator series.

In the collection, three shirt numbers that mark moments in his career are present on the heel of each shoe – 32 on the ‘Street’ boot, 23 on the ‘Stadium’ boot, and the iconic number 7 on the ‘Cage’ boot. The lettering itself also blends the original typeface of the 90s Predator boots, putting the finishing touches on a modern reinvention of a 90s classic. Of course, the collection sold out quickly, and it lifted Adidas Predator from the doldrums and back into the public eye.

The Next Move For Adidas Predator

Looking back, this seemed almost by design. A tactical masterstroke from both Adidas and Beckham to get the Predators back onto their pedestal, and become a regular feature on the biggest football pitches once again. But no matter how strong nostalgia might be as a selling point, no company can rely on it as a long-term strategy.

Just look at Disney. While the 2016 Jungle Book remake kicked open the door to a host of other nostalgia-driven remakes, the audience very quickly became tired, with the latest Pinocchio remake achieving a measly 28% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Jungle Book’s 94% rating.

If Adidas were to keep churning out nostalgia-driven boots, it wouldn’t take long before fans would say they were uninspired or ‘out of ideas’. Perhaps that’s why they have replaced David Beckham and unveiled a new face behind the Predator brand. One of the best passers in the game, Trent Alexander-Arnold, took to the field toward the end of November, debuting a new pair of the infamous Predator boots. With previous players like Beckham, Gerrard, and Zidane having been made the face of the brand, this demonstrated a shake-up in the brand’s ideology – apparently looking forward to greener pastures, rather than looking back.

Will Adidas Predator Boots Find New Success?

There are some who wonder whether Alexander-Arnold is the right man to push the brand forward. Despite numerous trophies – including the Champions League and Premier League – tucked away in his cabinet, he hasn’t had the easiest of rides over the last few years, with pundits and fans focusing mainly on his flaws over his skills. But every football star is subject to those opinions. His recent resurgence as an inverted full-back in Klopp’s new-look 4-3-3 has given the right-back new freedom and energy. Despite nostalgia tinting our memory, Beckham didn’t go his full career without criticism. Nor did Zidane or Gerrard.

Every football player has their critics, and most of the time those critics are passionate about finding the flaws rather than praising the positives. The truth is that Alexander-Arnold is a wise choice to be the next face of Adidas Predators. He is a well-known, skilful, and much-beloved football player in 2023, and if these new boots do not take off, then it won’t be because of him. There’s every chance that Adidas Predators have simply had their day, and must live on in our nostalgia-ridden memories rather than on the pitch. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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