SoccerBible recently caught up with the design team behind the new Nike Tiempo IV Elite – one of the most talked about football boots of the year – at the home of Nike's master craftsmen, Montebelluna. As Nike's revolutionary Tiempo prepares to make its debut season across Europe, we delve a little deeper into the design of the Tiempo IV Elite.
SB: What initial thought processes went into designing the new Tiempo IV Elite?
It was important that we stayed true to the boots foundations. The Tiempo has built a strong reputation for offering ultimate comfort, softness and suppleness. It has always been designed with an understated and classy look, so all of these were big considerations before designing the new Tiempo IV.
SB: How do you decide what changes to make to a boot such as the Tiempo?
Nike has always been about listening to player feedback. Everything starts with the athlete. Every change made to the Tiempo since 1994, and indeed any change we make to any boot, has been based on player feedback.
The guys here at Montebelluna are the masters of that. They are able to interpret every bit of feedback they get from our elite athletes and transfer those learnings into better boots for the consumer.
Each Tiempo generation has received slight modifications to make the boot better. With the technical developments in Nike Football, it was critical that the Tiempo IV stayed up to speed and excited players in the way it did in 1994.
SB: What were the main design aims for the new Tiempo IV Elite?
Our first aim was to make the new Tiempo the softest shoe on the market. Secondly, we wanted to make it young and modern but not divert away from the tradition and history of the Tiempo boot. We also knew we had to find a way to marry together the latest innovations in Nike Football with a black leather football boot.
SB: How has the new Tiempo IV improved in softness and feel?
To make the Tiempo IV the softest shoe available, we selected an even more premium grade of Kangeroo leather. It's thinner than leather we've used in the past. The new leather is just 0.99mm thick, compared to 1.5mm we've used before.
We wanted softness all around the shoe, so we had to consider the materials used in the collar line, tongue and stitching.
Every stitch in the boot has an individual purpose. You'll notice the open medial area has minimal stitching to give you great touch and also allow the shoe to stretch to your foot. There’s more stitching on the lateral side to stop the upper stretching where you don't want it to.
SB: Being such an iconic part of the boot, what made you decide to remove the fold over tongue?
The flap over tongue has become part of the Tiempo's DNA but we felt it was time for a change. The idea came from player feedback – we noticed many of them were cutting them off or folding them under - and our aim to make the boot more modern. So we wanted a complete redesign to make it more modern and performance friendly.
SB: How did you decide on the colour for the new Tiempo Elite?
Again, this was about making the Tiempo more modern. We've experimented with different colours over the years with the Tiempo range but this is the most bold yet. Since the Tiempo first arrived on the scene, boots have become more bright and bold.
We wanted to pick a colour that would give the Tiempo a fresh look but contrast with the black.
Total Orange is a colour we've used a lot and is something that works well with black and white.
SB: Tell us about incorporating fly-wire and modern technology into a leather boot.
AC: We had to incorporate innovation into a leather shoe. Our biggest step in the design of the new Tiempo was incorporating the fly-wire in the leather upper.
It now offers support and strength in the very thin and soft leather. The strength and support comes from the fly-wire without sacrificing fit or comfort.
The reason we use the carbon plate in the Tiempo is to reduce the weight of the shoe. This takes the weight of the shoe down by 40g while getting the player far lower to the ground.
By using the carbon plate, it gives the optimal amount of stiffness and support.
It allows us to take away a layer of TPU which means the player is lower to the ground with a far more responsive sole unit.
As the countdown to the 2011/12 season continues, the Nike Tiempo designers will be hopeful of a successful debut season for their breakthrough boot. The rigours of a ten month season await for the Tiempo IV – will they be one of this seasons stand out boots?