David Beckham with adidas Predator Mania reissue in 2017

Fifteen years ago, David Beckham famously wore champagne-colored adidas Predator Mania boots for his turn in the 2002 World Cup. Complete with a vivid red tongue, this version of the boots instantly became was universally loved.


Today -- just in time for Beckham's 42nd birthday -- adidas has announced they are re-releasing this iconic boot as part of the “Champagne Pack,” which also includes the ACE 17+, X 16+, COPA and UltraBOOST models.


We caught up with Nathan Thompson, designer, adidas Football, to get more info on this updated Predator Mania, the inspiration behind it, and some history of the Predator range of boots.

adidas re-releases David Beckham's famous Predator Mania boots - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/Beckham03.jpg?WUNq5fbmUT872FkX4eMRDtkQzQjd9Trl

Photo courtesy of adidas
MLSSoccer.com: When the Predator first came out it represented a radically different design from almost every other boot on the market. How much did the Predator change the process of boot design?

Nathan Thompson: The Predator was always a boot that stood out on the market. Since the first in 1994 all the way to the last in 2014, each version of the Predator challenged conventions of what a football boot should be, in terms of both appearance and performance. 


What do you think attracted the best players to this particular boot silhouette?

The Predator was a one-of-a-kind. It was a boot that was radically different than anything else available, but was therefore polarizing as a consequence. It was innovative, radical, edgy – and something that resonated with a certain style of player and way of thinking. Different players have different needs, but the Predator catered to players who were equally edgy in their game.


How much of an influence do you think Predators still have on current boot design?

The impact it had on the market and the way it broke new ground in design is something still hugely inspiring. However, arguably the most interesting thing about Predator as a whole is the way it developed over the years and strengthened a solid franchise DNA. Creating a strong identity and design language for each franchise is still an area of focus for us today.


The Predator silhouette was phased out a couple of years ago. What made now seem like the right time to release a new, limited-edition release?

We have a wealth of history at adidas Football and an archive full of amazing products that inspired great sporting moments. The Mania in particular is, for a lot of people, one of our hall-of-fame highlights and one that people are excited to see brought to life again.


This year marks 15 years since its launch and with that, a great opportunity to celebrate an influential model with a full pack inspired by its most iconic colorway.


How was the boot updated for this new release?

We took inspiration from the beautiful mix of both radical and simplistic design -- which was one of the things that made the boot so popular -- and gave it a 2017 twist. Also, with new technologies comes new opportunities, and with the re-release of the Mania we’ve been able to craft a modern version which is much more lightweight and more seamless in it’s construction.


What are some key areas you had to pay attention to in order to stay true to the Predator but also modernize it?

The tongue strap was key. All Predators since the Rapier in 1995 had a fold-over tongue, but the Mania was the first to introduce a tongue strap. Although only a small detail, this one was of the most interesting and most unique features of the boot at the time and gave players more options to customize their fit. We also spent a lot of time getting the “champagne” color right, referencing the original boot as close as possible.