Leather innovation redefined
The Nike Tiempo Legend has long been a staple in Nike’s football lineup and also the long standing silo for the brand.
The silo has always been synonymous with kangaroo-leather (k-leather) but in the recent releases we have seen Nike push innovation boundaries with added materials and technology while diminishing the role of leather on their Tiempo boots.through various modern technique and technology ‘add-ons’ to the Tiempo line in bid to benefit the modern player. The biggest change in this edition sees the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 pushing boundaries by replacing k-leather entirely and featuring a new synthetic leather upper called FlyTouch Plus.
Will the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 thrive as the first synthetic Tiempo, and how does it stand against its predecessors?
The Nike Tiempo Legend 10 embraces change
The standout feature of the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 is the reinvention of its upper in the form of FlyTouch Plus. The leather, straight out of the box,is supposed to be lighter, softer and stronger which makes it more durable and resistant to waterlogging in wet conditions.
The upper itself features textures which mimics the grains on natural k-leather, perhaps to appease diehard k-leather fans. If you were to pick it up at a shop, you might even think it was made of k-leather. The texture is not for vanity’s sake but serves a functional purpose of adding an abrasive coating enhancing your touch on the ball.
Notably, indents are added on the upper which provides flex in the right area of your foot for a seamless fit and avoids bunching up which is often a problem with synthetic leather.
Personally, I am a fan of FlyTouch Plus and am excited for its potential for innovation. Synthetic leather allows for more creative execution in terms of textures, functional properties, and design/colourway options.
An improvement to a familiar Tiempo Legend fit
When thinking of the Tiempo, fit and comfort are the two key things that immediately come to mind.
The Nike Tiempo Legend 10 cradles the foot nicely with a good amount of lockdown and provides a close fit through the forefoot till midfoot area. The forefoot features a lightly padded inner lining, while the midfoot incorporates a mesh weave liner for added support and a secure sensation when lacing up the boot.
The Nike Tiempo Legend 10 shares a similar construction with its predecessor, the Tiempo Legend 9, in terms of the mesh tongue and upper implementation. However, the Tiempo Legend 10 introduces two key improvements: reducing the thickness of the inner lining to the new upper to provide a closer feel on the ball and enhancing the mesh tongue with an updated weave pattern for better lockdown. These updates contribute to a great fit and comfort during gameplay.
Breaking in the boots was a breeze, taking only one training session for them to mould to my foot. I opted for my usual US9 (27CM), which is consistent with what I wear across all Nike silos currently available in the market. Go true to size for the right fit.
A new hybrid between touch and control
Putting the boots through its paces, the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 reminds me of an old favourite – the Nike CTR 360 Maestri. The upper does remind me of kanga-lite as I compared the Nike CTR 360 Maestri 3 remake side by side. However on feet, what you get is a thinner and softer upper which was what you would have wanted in a CTR Maestri 4, if they ever came to produce it
Just like a CTR 360 Maestri, the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 has indents in strategic locations that make contact with the ball. These indents offer a unique benefit – flex grooves that seamlessly align with your foot’s shape as you anticipate and flex in response to the ball’s movement.
Another personal favourite would be the large instep area. It provides a clean contact area for you to play those weighted through balls while the thin upper allows you to feel the ball closely.
The grip dots on the instep also allow some traction when you juggle or take touches off the air. It is not as aggressive as compared to the Nike Phantom GX or the older Nike Phantom VSN but it offers a balanced feel even in dry or wet conditions.
Shooting and crossing feels clean against the surface alongside its central lacing system.
Such interpretation of control truly reminds me of the pass pads on the Nike CTR 360 Maestri 2 and 3 though the Tiempo is much more streamlined and less chunky
A Soleplate Switch To Suit The Modern Game
I am a huge fan of AG soleplates considering the pitch surfaces available to play in Singapore are almost all entirely AG
The AG soleplate in the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 is different from its predecessor’s and instead features one that is very similar to the Nike Phantom GX model.
This specific AG stud configuration provided excellent comfort, grip and mobility which I personally prefer over the Legend 9.
While the Legend 9 AG soleplate gave you a shorter stud length and more contact points on the ground which worked well on older 3G pitches, I felt it was slippery at times on thicker AG pitches which are becoming more common as pitches undergo upgrading.
Design-wise, I personally love the look and build quality of the soleplate. Featuring a translucent tooling and bearing the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 signet, it gives the boots a very premium appearance.
Nike Tiempo Legend 10: Touch and control redefined
While the Nike Tiempo Legend series has been long associated with giving you a ‘soft’ touch on the ball, this very Nike Tiempo Legend 10 has certainly changed how we define touch and control as features on a football boot.
With Frenkie De Jong and Jamal Musiala being the face of Tiempo (and away from their past Mercurial affiliation) this looks like Nike reasserting leather to a new generation of young customers.
As a long-time Tiempo fan, this new edition takes the silo forward while appealing to both k-leather purists and those who are excited by the latest technology.
The Nike Tiempo Legend 10 is comfortable, feels good on feet and feels very familiar. Quite possibly because you’re wearing the Nike CTR 360 Maestri 4, in the guise of a Tiempo.
And I love it.