With the football boot market currently awash with brightly coloured plastic numbers, Sport-locker.net are today delighted to unveil our playtest review for a traditional BLACK leather boot: the Nike Tiempo Legend IV.
Our (self-proclaimed) resident boot expert Sam Van Gelder has been putting the silky-smooth classics through their paces in recent months.
And it’s fair to say he is more than impressed with Nike’s number one heritage boot…
With the danger of sounding like a massive granddad, you can’t buy a conventional pair of black leather football boots anywhere these days.
Sweeping statement aside, brightly coloured synthetic boots are definitely here to stay – whether purists like it or not.
Very rarely is black the launch colourway of a new football boot nowadays.
So as soon as a pair of the Black/White/Total Orange Nike Tiempo IV arrived at Sport-locker.net HQ, I knew we were going to get along just fine!
The Nike Tiempo Legend IV is the re-engineering work of an old classic, with the Tiempo football boot stemming back to 1984, when it was a much clumpier and heavier affair.
Legends of the beautiful game such as Romario, Paulo Maldini, Eric Cantona and Andrea Pirlo have all worn Tiempo – the sign of the heritage of the boot.
And now with the Tiempo Legend IV, Nike have created its sleekest incarnation yet…
1. First Impression / Fresh out of the box factor 9/10
There’s nothing quite like unboxing a fresh pair of football boots. Especially when they are so stunningly simple as the Tiempo IV.
The full-grain Kangaroo leather is very soft to touch and there is a distinct quilted stitching pattern used which immediately reminds me of the Ronaldinho Dois football boots.
I’m also fan of the decision to lose the tongue on the Tiempo – this makes for a better feel for the ball in my opinion.
Another observation which is immediately apparent is the enhanced design on the heel of the boot. The white flashes could be there to enhance vision on the pitch – a nice touch if you ask me!
With no elite version now available to punters (there are still a few pros that wear carbon fibre soleplates) these versions of the Tiempo are now the top level model, so I was keen to see how they felt on foot.
2. Comfort / Fit 10/10
As expected, this is the area of the boot that come up trumps – it’s honestly like putting on an old pair of slippers!
The boot fits nice and tight and this is mainly due to the addition of the kanga-lite on the sides of the boot. So the leather part of the boot around your toes will stretch and mould to your foot as time goes on but the kanga-lite areas stay rigid and supportive as well.
The dimples on the inner sole along with the suede ankle lining help grip and keep your foot in place.
In short, there’s no fear of blisters in these bad boys!
3. On the move / Warm up 9/10
The comfortable feel continued as I began to run in the Tiempo IVs.
The stud configuration is really interesting as a combination of conical (towards the front) and bladed studs (at the back) meant that I did not feel any pressure on my feet whilst the traction was also excellent.
The soleplate offers a lot of flexibility, which means you can feel comfortable when striding out or changing direction.
There are also some small spikes at the very front of the boot which further enhance traction, although I can’t say I felt these made a huge difference.
4. Touch / Control 10/10
You really can’t beat a kangaroo leather upper in terms of the feel for the ball it offers, and the Tiempo IV really does deliver on this front.
It’s definitely one of the best feels for the ball I’ve ever felt in a football boot.
The leather is really soft but most importantly not overly thick. It’s nowhere near as thin as a speed boot leather such as the adidas f50 adizeri miCoach – it’s the optimum thickness!
The quilted stitch pattern on the upper means that it can move naturally to the contours of your foot; making it feel almost like a second skin over time.
Touch is absolutely everything for players who like to get on the ball and dictate play, and you should look no further than the Tiempo IV if this is your game.
5. Speed 7/10
These boots were not made for speedy wingers or strikers so we were never expecting to score this category highly.
However, those that are fond of the Tiempo range will be pleased to hear that these are by no means slouches!
The kanga-lite material on the side of the boot also absorbs 20% less water on wet pitches than natural leather, so you these will stay lighter than traditional leather boots.
And at 265g, they certainly won’t be weighing you down.
6. Passing 9/10
This really is a high performing passing boot.
Because they offer such a good feel for the ball, you really do feel in control when passing the ball over both long and short distances.
If Andrea Pirlo has decided that the Tiempo IV is the boot for him, then that is bloody good enough for us!
*DISCLAIMER* Just because Pirlo wears them, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to ping 40-yard balls to feet willy-nilly.
That said, these were made for players who want to get on the ball and play.
7. Shooting 7/10
Nothing show stopping to report here: a solid performance in front of goal.
Most boots now feature off-centre lacing to provide a larger striking area but these stick to the simple central lacing model.
The fact that there is now no fold-over tongue is a major benefit for me, as you can really feel the benefit of striking through the ball with the laces.
There’s no specific technology that has been pumped into these boots for the purpose of shooting, but the ball will do as the Tiempo IV tells it to!
8. Security / Tackling 8/10
Despite the boot looking extremely sleek to the eye and light to the touch, you still feel protected in them.
Firstly, the internal TPU heel counter secures your foot in place to make you feel snug. There are also ridges around the heel of the boot which further enhance the sturdy feel.
Further padding running through the tongue also makes the top of your foot less exposed to those nasty stamps during a game!
9. The endurance test 9/10
I’ve been playing in these for a good few months now (including a match at Old Trafford!) and they are certainly durable.
The recent wet weather has not hampered them in any shape or form and they are an absolute breeze to clean and maintain.
My only worry is that with constant use the leather might dry up a little (old school boot dilemmas!) but I’m sure it’s nothing a little dubbin won’t sort!
10. The tech factor (Does it do what it says on the tin?) 8/10
Sometimes, technology can just take a back seat. There’s no pass pads, rubberised areas or dimples anywhere in sight on these boots.
But the addition of the kanga-lite area as well as the removal of the tongue makes for a huge improvement to the previous Tiempo. So in that sense, the technology incorporated in these can get a big tick.
And priced at a very reasonably £124.99 (considering the Elite versions used to cost £274.99), these will provide good value for your hard earned cash.
Sport-locker.net play test rating: 86/100
For those of you that like classic leather boots, this is certainly the boot for you.
Consummate comfort blended with some new improvements, you will really struggle to find a better performing Kangaroo leather football boot on the market currently.
Certainly the best Tiempo ever. Possibly even the best leather boot ever. The Nike Tiempo Legend IV really is that good!
You may have also noticed the Nike Maxim football being used in this review. Stay tuned to www.sport-locker.net as we’ll bring you the full written review of the official Premier League football very soon.