When a leather boot isn’t really a leather boot.
Post hype reviews is a series where we revisit some of our previously reviewed football boots and see if they hold up after months of wear. Do they over-stretch? Do they still give you blisters? How do they feel after continued use?
The Nike Tiempo Legend 8 launched just over a year ago in June 2019. With the Tiempo Legend 8, Nike doubled down on Flyknit and created a football boot that was essentially the Terminator of leather boots – one with organic skin (leather) but it was fully synthetic underneath.
While many lamented how the classic leather touch was totally removed from the Tiempo Legend 8, it did solve some problems that plagued its predecessor. Gone was the boa constrictor’s grip on the midfoot and tough leather and in its place, the Tiempo Legend 8 had a “Flyknit tunnel” and utilized Quadfit to provide a more comfortable fit while providing solid lockdown. The overall boot was also much softer, and as we found out through extensive use, soft as butter (more on that later).
What we said in our first review
I went true to size in the Nike Tiempo Legend 8 and was astounded by the “vacuum seal” feel in the boots. It was an odd sensation at first. My feet were wrapped tightly by the Flyknit material to the point where I almost felt smothered and suffocated. However, despite how compressive it felt, there were never any pressure points across any part of the boots due to how soft the internal Flyknit material was.
As I went about my play tests, the lockdown in the boot really shone as Quadfit was able to keep my foot rooted to the insole while I made quick changes in direction throughout the game.
What I quickly started to notice in the Tiempo Legend 8 was how different it felt from most leather boots. While most leather boots contain a thin internal layer of foam to give the boot its structure and to provide some of its dampened, elegant touch, you get none of that in the Tiempo Legend 8.
Its internal build is made almost entirely out of knitted materials – Flyknit with stretchy Quadfit in the forefoot to provide structure and lockdown when put under pressure. This has been one of the best implementation of Flyknit by Nike as they broke in very easily and accommodated to the unique shape of your feet in no time.
You get a clean touch on the ball but the padded sensation felt more like a Nike Phantom VSN.
After 6 months with the Nike Tiempo Legend 8
A big caveat here. I switched out my boots from FG to AG studs after I was done with the first review. My feet are quite sensitive to stud pressure and I snapped up the AG variant in the gorgeous Kinetic Black pack when they became available.
Many might find black out packs to be boring but Nike always finds a way to sprinkle that little bit of stardust even on the simplest designs. In this pack, the Tiempo Legend 8 gets a beautiful and subtle iridescent finish around the heel counter. It looks especially lovely when playing at night under the floodlights.
I’ve observed that Nike’s AG soleplate and entire sole tooling (which is shared across all their models) seem to a bit more roomy, especially around the toebox area. This was slightly disappointing for me as that meant the “vacuum seal” sensation I got in the FG variant was gone. That was one of the biggest highlights of the Tiempo Legend 8 but I’ve come to terms with the lost of that sensation. It’s still a very good boot nonetheless.
Accepting knit in a leather boot
As I carried on playing with the Tiempo Legend 8 on rotation, I came to grips with the sock-like padded sensation. I was free and unplugged from the Matrix to accept that this was a fantastic all-round boot and it should not be judged as a leather boot.
Whether it’s dribbling, striking the ball or receiving it at pace, the sensation you get from the upper is pretty uniform throughout. The plush sensation you get feels more like putting on a comfortable sweater over your feet, complete with a slight airy cushioning feel when in contact with the ball. No surprises on the airy feel as the Flyknit tunnel is bound to have pockets of air trapped within during a game.
Due to how much knit there is throughout the entire boot, I’d also recommend not getting the Tiempo Legend 8 wet as it’s going to be a major bitch to dry the insides of the boot. The slow drying process might also damage the leather skin from prolonged exposure to moisture, despite their claims to having All Conditions Control (ACC).
No traditional structures? No problem.
One problem many traditional leather boots have is how they tend to (over)stretch after regular use. Yes, the upper becomes softer but the boot expands and lockdown becomes sloppy. Most brands include a skeletal foam cage to provide some structure and rigidity to ensure the boot keeps its shape after months/years of wear. The Tiempo Legend 8 doesn’t have a foam cage.
With just a knitted structure on the inside, I predicted the worst for the Tiempo Legend 8. True enough, after so much use, the upper became buttery soft. A slight pinch and the upper collapses between your finger and your thumb. But on pitch, the boot still delivered.
Despite being uber soft, the Flyknit and Quadfit come to life once you’re laced up. The internal structures do their best work under pressure – whether I’m planting my foot hard for that perfect strike, changing direction or sprinting. Never did the lockdown get sloppy when my foot was pushing against the upper.
Nike Tiempo Legend 8: Reinventing lockdown
After continued use of the Nike Tiempo Legend 8, I’ve come to fully appreciate what Nike have done with their Flyknit tunnel/Quadfit construction. They reimagined a leather boot that could be as soft as can be while never going sloppy. It’s just unfortunate that this construction has been on one of their least popular lines because everyone deserves to feel this level of comfort and lockdown once in their life.
It’s a further shame to learn that we’re not seeing this implemented in more boots, especially the new Nike Phantom GT which could use some extra structures to keep the upper from being sloppy. Perhaps, of all boots, the Tiempo should have been the last on the list to have this construction implemented due to how different the touch and feel might put off their target market – the leather boot aficionado.
To the good people of Nike, I personally have no problems with how it feels and I’d like to see more of this. I truly hope Quadfit lives on in future football boot models. It’s too good to never see the light of day again. Just have it built in any other boot but the Tiempo, ok?