So here they are, the most radical football boots to come out of the Tiempo range for some time. The Nike Tiempo was the boot that kicked off Nike's football story back in '94, so how will these ultra-modern versions stand up in our SoccerBible Play Test?
When it comes to play testing an elite football boot, not just any park will do, so SoccerBible was privileged to be invited to the training ground of the best football club world. These are the training pitches where the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique play test their new boots, so to our SoccerBible play testers the Barcelona training pitches seemed as good a place as any to put the new Tiempo Legend IV Elite through it paces!
Initial reactions to the boot in-hand is just how different from their predecessor the Tiempo Legend IV is, both visually and in construction. Nike have retained the classic black and white combination, but with the addition of the orange it really makes these boots stand-out on pitch. The Tiempo Legend IV Elite may categorise itself as a touch boot, but in reality it could just as easily be a leather speed boot. In-hand, the leather is one of the most impressive features, just giving the toe area a squeeze between the thumb and forefinger and you know you've got a boot that is genuinely as soft as it appears.
The Nike Tiempo Legend Elite is a boot that doesn't flatter to deceive, your foot slips into what you immediately realise is a soft and comfortable boot. It has to be said there is an initial annoyance over getting the new thin and flexible tongue in order before slipping your foot inside, but this is quite a petty qualm because once in, you feel the comfort and the Flywire takes hold to support your midfoot.
The Flywire is the kind of support you could only previously get from tightening your lacing system which would ultimately result in incorrect form and discomfort, unlike the Flywire which nicely cradles the foot. At the business end of the boot, the leather is so soft that you can immediately wiggle your toes and get a responsive leather, it's not rigid in any way and is completely soft.
As with any new pair of football boots, you can't help but reach for the nearest ball for a few keepy-uppy's to find out what kind of ball feel and touch you can expect. Now there's only so many times we can wax lyrical over the softness of the upper, but there really is excellent ball touch and feel.
The malleability of the leather feels completely natural so ball touch really does feel glove-like. In this way the thin tongue and removal of the fold-over tongue assist performance, as the whole lacing system sits flush to the foot and the boot upper, for a continuation of a clean performance area.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of the Nike Tiempo Legend IV Elite boot review, and it was time for a few running drills. The carbon fibre sole-plate is thin and lightweight, indeed the whole boot weighs in around 250g for a much lighter performance, but the benefit of the carbon fibre is it gets your feet close to the ground whilst maintaining flexibility and strength.
The Flywire locks your feet in so there is no slippage under foot when turning or accelerating, you're not leaving a part of the boot behind that will lose you an extra fraction of a second and also cause the boots to rub. For the stud configuration Nike have played it relatively safe, and not been tempted into a radical overhaul so they've retained a classic conical stud shape with blades at the heel.
When it comes to ball striking for passing and shooting, the Tiempo Legend Elite once again scores top marks due to the excellent ball feel and boot-to-ball contact. If you've got the technique, then this new Tiempo will deliver the ball exactly where you've aimed because the leather sits so flush to the foot.
Incredibly, as does the thinner tongue and lacing system sitting over the midfoot, to create a clean all-over striking area. Accepting there's no additional technology for shot swerve or power, you can be assured that if you get your strike right you'll be making a clean connection with the ball.
As the play test session moved onto a full scale match, the comfort of the boot was something that really came to the fore. As already stated (probably quite a few times!) the leather is extremely soft and malleable so is really comfortable. The support from the Flywire is something that's new to Tiempo wearers, and you can expect a slight breaking in period for those with a wider foot.
But from box to pitch, there were no qualms and the general consensus was just how comfortable the boot felt, aided by the cushioned insole with Poron material strategically placed under the heel and fore area.
Due to the leather upper there is a long projected durability for the Tiempo Legend IV Elite, which you perhaps wouldn't get with a thin synthetic boot. The upper is pretty much comprised of two main pieces of leather, so there won't be any issues of stitching coming away at the seams.
The outsole is securely glued right the way around, so we can't envisage this coming away over the course of time. Of course, there's no stitching because you wouldn't want to create weak points in the carbon fibre, plus not many brands do still stitch their outsoles. Ultimately, all of this construction and durability goes some way to justifying the cost of the boots.
As touched upon, the cost of these Tiempo Legend IV Elite football boots will be a stumbling block for many fans, but we can assure you once you have the boots in-hand it's quite evident where your money has been spent. The construction and craftsmanship is there to see, and all the materials used are of the highest quality.
It 's hard to find negatives for the new Nike Tiempo Legend IV Elite because every aspect of these football boots is impressive, in fact the only gripe we've really got is the tongue is quite fiddly when first putting the boot on! Other than that, if it's a top-end leather boot you're after and the purse strings can stretch, then the new Tiempo Legend IV Elite football boots comes very highly recommended.