All you need to know about the Nike Tiempo Legend 8

Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Elite

The list of soccer boot royalty is a rather short list. On top of that, the list seems to have a member lost to father time as each season begins anew. For Nike, their two members of the royal court are easily anything stamped with the “Mercurial” or “Tiempo” moniker. The latter of the two is definitely seen as one of the most worthy of a crown and throne against any and all competition, Nike’s original stamp on the footie world came from this silo. From inception and now to the Tiempo VIII, a history of leather and class that dwarfs practically any other boot that exists. The VIII is attempting to rule over a kingdom that possesses more direct competition than this style of boot may ever have seen before, as a fresh-faced version of the Copa and the re-emergence of the Puma King means that threats aplenty exist for the Legend.

In that vein, the 21st century is not a safe place for complacency and skating by on past accomplishments. Nike and those involved with the creation of the newest Tiempo will be fully aware that merely giving the Tiempo a new name and very little actual change would be met with a chorus of negative reactions. So, it should come as no surprise that the Tiempo VIII flew out of the gates with a very unique look and a lengthy list of tech updates. Will it all add up to be a formula that has us singing the praises of the Legend, or has the time for this beloved monarch finally run out?

We stepped out of the king’s court and decided to see what the newest Legend was all about.

THE LOOK

back of nike tiempo legend 8

The newest Tiempo has a major visual feature that was creating questions as soon as pictures started to circulate the web. The upper looked like it was covered in a diamond shaped texture. Needless to say, the masses of Tiempo fans were not too pleased. While we’ll discuss how the design actually feels when you get them in hands a bit later, it certainly creates a unique look. Many have compared it to early Magista Opus builds in terms of how the design makes the boot look, and it made us instantly think that the boot might have this added for some sort of control element (it wasn’t). The VIII also has an impressive amount of kangaroo leather covering the upper and a definite lack of stitches.

The Tiempo 8 launched in two very different colorways. We have fallen head over heels for the dark grey and blue (Under the Radar), but a whiteout colorway (Nouveau White) is always a winner in the boot world (personally we avoid anything that screams “grass stains!”). The ankle cut showcases the slight ring of FlyKnit that wraps around to the tongue, and it all blends together in an incredibly sleek profile especially for a boot like the Tiempo. A close inspection also shows Nike bragging about all the tech that sits under the Tiempo hood (ACC, FlyKnit, and Quadfit).The soleplate looks identical to what we saw on the VII, but it is still a very aggressive set-up for a boot that once stuck completely to conical studs throughout.

The Tiempo also comes complete with a string bag to haul the newest piece of your arsenal to your next training session.

THE TOUCH

back stretch of nike tiempo legend 8

The crazy look of the upper, the colorway, and nearly everything else is just noise if the Tiempo VIII doesn’t deliver something close to the level we expect from the Legend, especially considering how soft the leather felt in our hands as soon as we got the boots out of the box. We’re looking for a super clean feel on the ball, the perfect blend of padding and touch, and a uniform sensation no matter where we strike the ball. If the Legend VIII can’t offer up something that checks all those boxes while becoming an instant selection to our boot bag.

The first thing you notice is that the design that has been heat-pressed into this upper is truly only a design. None of the diamond shapes are deep enough to alter any moment on the ball. We’re still not quite sure how we feel about Nike choosing to go for this look, but it certainly makes the boot unique (and we’re definitely excited that this design isn’t some sort of crazy tech that takes away from kangaroo leather). If anybody starts saying that the “diamond pattern creates an air seal when bringing the ball out of the air and it makes your shot 2% more powerful,” then you can know that they’re definitely lying. If the design does anything, it might simply be that it makes the leather feel a bit thinner.

Your first few moments in this boot makes you feel like you’ve been wearing this boot for several sessions already. The Quadfit system combines with the Flyknit Tunnel (not the best name, but we’ll let Nike get away with it) to give a warm squeeze to your foot and makes you feel locked in before you even lace up. It only gets better as you draw the laces tight and also only improves as the leather softens up during wear. Because of the Quadfit and FlyKnit, these boots will be a welcome home to a wealth of foot-types.

The Tiempo VIII benefits from all of these layers when it comes to initial fit, but we had some serious questions on whether all of this would work when we finally start kicking a match ball. Dribbling at speed and making swift turns with the ball does feel great, and we definitely enjoyed our time on the ball. However, we couldn’t shake the idea that we weren’t getting to experience the beauty of the kangaroo leather because of the fact that there are two materials between you and the leather upper. Neither the FlyKnit nor Quadfit is incredibly thick, so we never felt like it was a major issue but it put just enough between you and what is supposed to be the best part of the Legend that it hurts what has made us all fall in love with Tiempo Legends over the years.

Shooting in the Tiempo VIII does give a crisp zip when you connect with the FlyKnit area where the tongue would be, and there is so much leather on the upper that it’s incredibly uniform whenever you address the ball. The warm softness that you want when you blast through a ball, control a ball with your instep, or try to take the heat off a ball are all there. We didn’t notice the fact that there are two layers under the leather for all of this, but we think that’s fairly easily explained by how much more pressure passing and shooting tend to involve over simple dribbling touches.

The kangaroo leather used is incredibly soft and we just wish that Nike would have let us experience that material on its own. It’s so tough to say because the FlyKnit makes for a perfect fit and feel on the tongue and the Quadfit is one of our favorite Nike innovations but it makes the boot feel closer to a Phantom VSN or Vapor than what we’d want from a Legend.

The wheels on the Tiempo are exactly what we got with the Tiempo VII, but we aren’t complaining. While some purists will wish that the Tiempo would return to the days of being completely conical, the mix of stud types makes the soleplate that much better. The chevron studs in the forefoot help you push off when you dig your toes in for quick sprints and the blades/chevron studs in the heel help keep you planted when you go to shoot or plant your foot. However, there’s enough conical studs to where you never feel stuck in the dirt. We wouldn’t suggest using this on any AG surfaces as the chevron suds might get stuck in the turf and the conical studs are a bit too long to truly be great for AG. The flex is perfect for when you sprint on and cut on your toes, and the midfoot offers the stiffness that you’d want to ensure that the boot is at its responsive best. We always say that the best soleplates are the ones you don’t have to worry about during play, and the VIII does have a set-up that fits that bill.

THE FEEL

side view nike tiempo legend 8

One of the cornerstones of what has always made the Tiempo Legend so impressive is its incredible comfort. Since we’ve been testing boots, there hasn’t been an iteration that doesn’t pass the comfort test with flying colors. Even on the Tiempo VII, the inclusion of FlyKnit seemed to elevate the Tiempo and still provide the comfort that we demand from this particular silo. It doesn’t matter how the layers of the boot change the feel for the ball, if the VIII can still be a house slipper with studs, then there is still going to be a massive following for the new Tiempo.

When you slip the boot on, you get a sensation that isn’t something we tend to expect from a classic leather boot. The boot’s FlyKnit Fit Tunnel that runs through the middle of the boot squeezes your foot before you even lace up. The Quadfit system helps make sure that the boot feels form-fitted to your foot (even if you think you have a foot type that makes most boots fit in a slightly awkward way) by giving way to your foot when you are slipping the boots on, but tightening to your foot when the pressure is applied by a laced up boot.

The FlyKnit that sits under the laces is nice and soft with quite a bit of stretch. It’s one of the few times you’ll get to have FlyKnit on a boot that isn’t coated in something or altered to feel almost completely unlike a knitted material, and it helps the whole boot blend together and work. We aren’t in love with the number of layers it all has created for a boot that’s supposed to be all about letting a high quality leather work, but the comfort is still there and still at a very high level. The Tiempo VIII offers a level of padding in the heel that offers a great level of comfort while locking you in place. Nike has taken the padding down a bit from the VII (which we are a bit saddened by), but it’s still one of the aspects that the Tiempo tends to knock out of the park. It helps make sure that the ring around the ankle cut blends together super well, but we’d love for them to go back to what we had on the VII.

The soleplate has a perfect amount of flex to make sure that the boot avoids feeling like your foot is strapped to a block of wood. Even with Nike making the Tiempo soleplate much more aggressive on the last two versions, we never experienced any hot-spots or issues during testing. As any decent leather boot would need, Nike has made sure that you are able to completely focus on everything above the plate instead of whatever is happening underfoot.

Bang for your buck

soleplate of nike tiempo legend 8

The newest Tiempo retails right around $225, which is what we once saw as the top of the price-point mountain. However, modern boots would have that actually sitting around being one of the cheaper options available. Going against the biggest Legend competitors in the Copa 19+ ($275) and the Puma King (Platinum $200/Pro $100), it is a decent price point for the boot. Over on soccerpro.com, you can snag the boot for right around $200. If there’s space in your wallet for the newest Legend, it’s a great option to choose for your next soccer outings.

Who’s Wearing It?

Nike is marketing the newest Legend as a boot meant for defenders, a unique viewpoint for a modern boot, but one that sticks because of how much protection this boot offers in comparison to the rest of the market. Still, look for the usual roster of Tiempo players to rock the newest version of the boot. Pique, Julie Ertz, hopefully a version with a fold-over tongue for any time Totti steps back out on a pitch, and a host of others. It does feel like the Tiempo gets less and less love on the professional stage as each week goes by, so we’ll be anxious to see how often we spot the VIII once most professional leagues get going again.

FINAL VERDICT

nike tiempo legend 8 elite

As massive fans of this silo throughout its lifetime, we’re conflicted about the Tiempo VIII. Is it a quality boot that would be a worthwhile option for anyone heading into a new season. The touch is crisp and clean, the fit is incredible, and the comfort is top-notch…but, there is just something about the Tiempo VIII that doesn’t have us finding the nearest rooftop and shouting the boot’s praises from it. Perhaps it’s the amount of layers that Nike has put between you and the leather. Perhaps it’s lessening the padding in the heel from the Tiempo VII or perhaps maybe it’s how this boot somehow doesn’t feel like a Legend or truly differentiate itself from what Nike already has on offer. Will people love the VIII? Absolutely. Could it be better? Absolutely.

The Legend VIII feels like it has fallen victim to Nike trying to squeeze too much into one release and not letting us have a chance to experience the quality kangaroo leather that is used on the upper. It may still be a long time before this boot steps down from its throne, but this boot might need to be a wake up call to the Legend.

 

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