This is the football boot you’ve been seeing a lot of lately. With new campaigns up and running across Europe, from the Premier League to Serie A, many of the world’s best players have been repping Nike’s Tiempo Legend 9 in their early season fixtures.
Virgil Van Dijk and Thibault Courtois are just a couple of the superstars seen wearing them already; instantly recognisable with their icy white leather toe and laces, pink-orange heel and acid yellow Nike swoosh (also available in black and blue).
The Tiempo range has long been a classic, rising to prominence as the boot of choice of Barcelona talisman Ronaldinho in the early-00s. Simplistic and more reliant on durability and comfort than style and gadgetry in the past, Tiempos have developed a cult following among no-nonsense players since the Brazilian retired; midfielders and defenders who prefer tackling and passing to mazy running and stepovers.
Yet the latest version feels like a step back in time – a boot more suited to the Brazilian no.10 than previous incarnations. The Legend 9 is bolder and more eye-catching than previous (often plain black and white) instalments, and far lighter to wear; easily the lightest Tiempo in the boot’s history. They’re still comfortable and made of durable leather, but they feel a better balance between reliability and flair.
FFT took them out for a spin at the weekend – an 11-aside clash just, erm, a couple of rungs down from the Premier League – and immediately drew admiring glances from teammates and non-existant fans on the non-existent terraces. White and orange boots might not be for everybody, but comfort certainly is. It must be said, there are extremely comfortable boots and even just when warming up in the wet and cold, we were glad to have them.
The Tiempo’s reputation for comfort (in comparison to other Nike boot series and those of other brands) has a lot to do with their width. Some Nike boots squeeze the foot in – something which can be uncomfortable for first time wearers – but Tiempos have always offered a wider, more forgiving option. They can be taken out of the box and worn immediately. This version is no different, even if the K-leather feels a little less soft and flexible than in previous versions.
Further evidence that the Tiempo Legend 9 has been redesigned with the attacking player in mind, the latest in the series features memory foam pods for a more cushioned ball touch. They’ve also followed the example of other boots on the market in incorporating touch pods. Together with the memory foam, this made FFT feel more in control when dribbling and gave us the confidence to pluck a ball out of the sky with Berbatov-esque contr...okay, maybe we’re pushing it a little. But you get the gist.
All in all, it’s a cracking all-round boot; perfect for pacy players who like to express themselves with a dash of flair and style, without sacrificing comfort and reliability which made them a favourite of the water-carriers and defenders. The best Nike Tiempo in years.
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