Player name: Steven George Gerrard
Clubs: Liverpool FC, LA Galaxy
Height: 6 ft 0 in
Steven Gerrard is an English professional football manager and former player, who manages Premier League club Aston Villa. Described by pundits and fellow professionals as one of his generation's greatest players, Gerrard spent the majority of his playing career as a central midfielder for Liverpool and the England national team, captaining both. Born in Merseyside, Gerrard played for Liverpool from 1998 to 2015, winning nine trophies, including the UEFA Champions League, two FA Cups, and three League Cups. He was Man of the Match in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, in which Liverpool overturned a 3–0 deficit to defeat AC Milan on penalties, and the 2006 FA Cup Final, which has been termed The Gerrard Final in homage to his performance. Despite success in cup competitions, he never won the Premier League. Gerrard won 114 England caps between 2000 and 2014, captaining the team 38 times and scoring 21 goals. He played at three UEFA European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2012 (where he was named in the Team of the Tournament) and three FIFA World Cups, in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
This very special pair of Adidas Predator Absolute were match worn by the man himself, Steven Gerrard, during the 2007-08 season whilst captaining Liverpool in both the Barclays Premier League & the UEFA Champions League, as well as for the England national team during UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifiers. The boots have been double hand signed by Gerrard, and are totally bespoke made by Adidas to his exact measurements & requirements, even though on first glance they may appear to be a standard Predator Absolute! Every detail about this pair will be laid out on the table here in this blog post...
As a player, Gerrard's individual awards include UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in 2005, PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2006, FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009, appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2007, and induction into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021. He was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year a record eight times. As a manager, he was named as Manager of the Year for 2021 by PFA Scotland and the SFWA. Regarded by several pundits and footballing figures as one of the greatest players of his generation, in 2009, Zinedine Zidane and Pelé considered Gerrard to be possibly the best footballer in the world. Known for his versatility and wide range of skills, he was capable of playing in many positions. A hardworking box-to-box player with great endurance, Gerrard was usually deployed as a central midfielder, but he had also been used as a second striker, a holding midfielder, an attacking midfielder, a right-back, and a right winger
Lets start with the tongues on the boots. Gerrard's pair feature totally different ones to that of the publicly released mass produced retail model, his pair feature pure leather tongues as opposed to them being made of a synthetic plastic material, and also do not feature the silver graphic border due to the material difference. Adidas personalised the boots for Gerrard by embroidering the names of his daughters, "Lilly-Ella" & "Lexie" to the custom tongues. In terms of shape, Gerrard's tongues also differ greatly in comparison to the retail ones, this is because he liked his tongues folded over to a specific point, so Adidas made them to meet that requirement. The leather section, which is in place of where the synthetic would be, is much narrower and shorter than you'd usually find, as we'll see in the next picture...
Above is an example of a retail version of this model of Predator Absolute. Still focusing on that tongue design, we can get a better look here at just how different it is in comparison to Gerrard's custom version. The orange Adidas logo is practically centralised on the standard version, where as its stitched right on the edge of the lateral side of the leather on Stevie G's one. The angular cut on the medial side is much more dramatic, where Gerrard's version is a straight design and more simplified - again purely focused around the specific position in which he liked to have the tongues during matches.
Gerrard, naturally right footed, was able to score goals from distance due to his ball striking ability—he scored many key goals from long range throughout his career, including in three Cup finals. As he entered his mid 30's and his physical capability to get forward and join the attack declined, the number of long range strikes at goal decreased, with most of his goals coming from free kicks and penalty kicks. In particular, his tactical intelligence and ability to read the game allowed him to break down the opposition's attacking plays. In addition to his footballing attributes, Gerrard was highly regarded for his leadership, determination, and influence on the pitch throughout his career. Despite being vocal in his criticism of diving, Gerrard was accused of diving himself by certain pundits throughout his career.
At the start of the 2004-05 season, Gerrard picked up a severe metatarsal injury in his left foot which left him requiring surgery. Interestingly, fellow England national team teammates Beckham, Rooney and Neville also had similar injuries in the same era, and whilst Gerrard did recover from this injury rather swiftly, due to his importance to the Liverpool side he returned a little too soon from the injury, which led to recurring niggling pains. As you can imagine, playing at that level day in day out, any little niggle would become bigger and bigger, but to aid with this, Adidas began further customising Gerrard's bespoke boots by adding in a metal plate into the lateral side of his left boot on every pair - this lasted right up to around 2012/13! He also picked up a toe fracture in August 2007, just before he began wearing this pair (October 2007), which further emphasised the need for this metal plate addition to his boots. The arrow on the above picture displays where that plate starts, and it actually runs right the way back to the start of the heel area, and also rises up to just below the lacing system. This shows the severity of the aftermath from the injury in which Steven Gerrard suffered throughout many years playing, yet he still performed at the highest level and was always widely regarded as one of, if not the best midfielder in the world of his generation. On the interior, Adidas also built in some additional padding behind where that built in metal plate was fitted, this is the same material of padding in which the underside of the tongues was constructed from.
While Gerrard has worn several football boots during his career, he first wore a pair of Nike boots on his Liverpool debut, but soon signed a deal with Adidas in 1998 and has gone on to appear in many Adidas commercials with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Kaká. Gerrard has worn ten versions of the Adidas Predator boot, with the Accelerator being the first, and throughout his career, he has been one of the brand's major boot endorsees. In 2013, Gerrard switched boot silos to the Nitrocharge 1.0 first wearing the boots in the League Cup clash against rivals Manchester United on 25 September 2013
The Traxion soleplate of the boots is unmodified from the retail version, Gerrard's pair do still feature that same split sole design with the large external heel counter incorporating the rear 4 bladed studs within, and the forefoot area containing the 9 other bladed studs. However, there is one difference here, on this model one of Adidas Predator one of the main areas of advertisement was the Powerspine cavity, which was a weighted area attached to the insole which slotted into that cavity, allegidely adding power to your shots (a total gimmick). And just like many of the big name Predator wearers including Beckham & Kaká, Gerrard also did not want this on his boots - whilst his pair do have the cavity in the forefoot, the attached unit on the insoles is actually hollow, this cannot of course be seen in photos, however it shaves a lot of weight off the boots - which have already been made lighter as per the player's preference.
In August 2010, Gerrard scored twice in a friendly match against Hungary and helped England to a 2–1 win. Due to Ferdinand's continued absence through injury, Gerrard retained the captaincy for the opening match of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign against Bulgaria, which England won 4–0. He was later named permanent captain by new coach Roy Hodgson, in time for the tournament finals. This was the first time that he was named directly the captain of England and not in place of an injured or unavailable captain. He provided three assists and won two man of the match awards to help England finish top of their group in the qualifying round, and go through to the quarter-finals. Despite their exit on penalties to Italy, Gerrard was later the only England player to be named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. On 14 November 2012, Gerrard won his 100th cap for England in a friendly match against Sweden.
As with all of Adidas' top sponsored athletes, this pair were hand made inside their Athlete Services factory located at their HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany. This pair, just like Beckham's from that era, feature no internal size labels, however Gerrard's boots measure to a specific UK size 9.25, which is a 9.75 in US sizing. His later pairs from his career (some if which we have here at BCBootsUK) do have size labels, which also state the UK9.25 size. Quarter sizing is of course not something that's ever been available to the public on any form of footwear, be it football boots or any category. It costs brands such as Adidas millions of pounds every year to custom make their elite athlete's footwear from scratch, however the custom that they bring in for the brand more than pays that back, as they're advertising the model on the biggest stage. The consumer looks and sees their star wearing a specific model/pair of boots, instantly it's an "I want those!" reaction... I know as I can speak on this from experience. Back in 2008, as a kid still in primary school, seeing my favourite star, who was Aaron Lennon of Spurs, wearing the then brand new orange Nike Mercurial Vapor IV on the pitch, I craved them from that very point! So this strategy of advertisement really does work, which is why these top brands go to such extreme lengths to make their big sponsored stars as comfortable as possible when wearing their brand. From the above angle, we can also see the different material of the underside of the tongue on Gerrard's pair, which is much thicker and softer than the retail spec.
There are further indications of the custom nature of this pair throughout the boots upon closer inspection, here above we can see the lateral side of the right boot (the left is also the same) specifically the heel area. The heel cup shape is incredible! The lateral side is so much lower than standard measurements, yet the medial side is raised up slightly higher. The tip of the heel tab has also been made to be higher, which combined with the rest of the heel cup shape, makes for rather a dramatic curvature in this area of the boots. The eagle-eyed readers here may also have noticed on the above picture, that the silver print graphic actually stops before meeting the 'X' design of the external heel counter - this is not something that would be found on a retail pair. This is vastly due to the fact that with the custom player pairs, the eye on perfection is focused around meeting the specifications and measurements of the player, as opposed to the retail pairs, they must be absolutely perfect in areas such as this in order to pass the quality control procedures. If an element like that was on a pair sold in a store, the consumer would be left less than happy, it would be seen as a defect.
The last element on this pair that's worth noting, is the sheer difference in quality in the leather upper. It is quite simply incredible! Now, the leather on the retail Predator Absolute was certainly not to be snubbed at, however the leather used on Gerrard's (and indeed other player's custom Preds of the era) is just levels above. Given that these boots are now 15 years old, the leather is still as supple and luxurious as when Stevie G first unboxed them after receiving them direct from Adidas Germany HQ. We've also managed to photo match this pair to a picture of Gerrard using them during the 3-0 UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifier victory at Wembley stadium whilst playing for England against Estonia, on October 17th 2007. The white mark is stud damage battle scar which would've been picked up in a match or training session prior to the England vs Estonia match, or indeed during that match itself. Let us know what you think about this special pair below!