Nike has set about resuscitating a storied boot franchise. Classic design combined with up-to-date technology might help bring it back into the spotlight.
The Nike Tiempo franchise has been a rock for Nike Soccer. It’s true that newer, more technically minded releases have often left the Tiempo in the shadows at times, namely the Mercurial/Total 90 series and more recently, the CTR360. But back comes the Nike Tiempo with the Tiempo Legend IV Elite, storming to the top with what is arguably a fine interpretation of classic aesthetics and contemporary performance and technology.
For the history buffs, the boot’s origins date back to 1994 and factored heavily in that summer’s World Cup final between Brazil and Italy. 8 of the starting 22 players donned the start of one of Nike’s most important soccer innovations including Maldini and Romario.
A notable aspect of Nike’s top of the line boots has been their focused on Teijin and Kanga-Lite materials to form the upper, a step away traditional k-leather fueled by reasons ranging from performance material science to ethical sourcing (that k stands for kangaroo, remember?).
However, most pros requesting custom boots are often doing so cause they want the buttery rich, form fitting experience that only leather offers. A number of professionals can even be spotted wearing leather versions of boots that are only publicly available in synthetics.
This new Tiempo Legend IV Elite says little about the actual origins of its leather although it does have a thickness of just 0.99 mm., That’s fine regarding a lack of background info, I trust Nike to offer a good fitting experience that doesn’t necessarily have to involve a kangaroo. Other elements include specially designed stitching to ensure no over-stretching occurs (although I always felt this came down to people simply buying the wrong size). A lack of a fold-over tongue turns its back on the original but surely shaves a few grams off of the final product.
But onto the meat and potatoes of the boot, underneath the classically designed upper is some true technical innovation. This includes a lightweight carbon fiber outsole (however some feel the stiffness makes it hard to break in), the use of Flywire (thin strands of wire that offer lightweight suport) integrated into the side panels of leather, a supportive sockliner and something that’s not really new, the same soleplate configuration introduced in 2004.
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a flagship boot release under the conditions of classic leather and a black colorway to boot, this I think will be welcomed with open arms.