On July 17, 1994, two teams took to the pitch in Pasadena, California to play for football’s biggest prize. While all 22 players shared the same dream of winning, ten wore the same boot – Nike’s first for football – the Tiempo Premier. Its black and white color palette was classically football, but the athletes who wore them were anything but. These athletes would go on to represent a new guard, imbuing football with youth, speed, excitement, brilliance and forever changing the face of the game. They showed unparalleled confidence in choosing an upstart company, and over the next 20 years, this rebellious attitude would shape some of the best players football has ever seen. But one fact always rings true: it all began with the Tiempo.
As far as introductions go, they don’t get much better than Nike’s tribute to the debut of its popular Tiempo line, and in celebration of the shoe’s 20th anniversary, the company has released two new styles that are sure to please longtime fans and further revolutionize the sport as we know it.
First up is the Nike Tiempo ’94, a throwback to the original Tiempo Premier that draws inspiration from its iconic design, including a black stitched leather upper, contrasting white swoosh and suede overlays. Additionally, there’s a splash of orange on the lower instep that extends to the Phylon midsole fitted within the premium gum cup sole for lightweight cushioning, as well as exposed flex grooves designed to maximize comfort and natural motion. The coolest thing about the Tiempo ’94, however, is that it can either be worn with the retro oversized tongue attached or removed for a different (and admittedly more modern) look. Though the shoe may seem a lot bulkier than its closest competition, the Tiempo ’94 is comparable to the adidas Samba in quality and comfort, only without that annoying squeaking problem and with twice the flair.
For those looking to really leave an impression on the pitch, the new Tiempo Legend V is one of the flashiest boots around, combining a two-tone look with metallic flourishes throughout, perhaps most noticeably on the mirror-like tongue. But for as stylish as the Legend V may be, it’s the improved design features that warrant the most attention, geared towards providing players with the lightest touch and performing in all conditions. Through enhanced fit and innovative materials, the Tiempo Legend V not only brings the upper (and therefore the ball) closer to the foot, resulting in some of the best control you’ll ever experience, but also offers a solution to the age-old problem of water absorption. Nike’s All Conditions Control (ACC) technology has been applied to the ultra-soft kangaroo leather uppers to block moisture and allow for a consistent touch regardless of weather, while the second layer of hydrophobic mesh ensures that the boot dries quickly and absorbs less water than previous leather boots. That may not sound as groundbreaking as creating a more lightweight shoe or one with added protection, but most soccer players know all too well the effect that the elements can have on their game, so it’s nice to see that Nike has finally addressed this issue.
With two great styles to choose from, the question on most people’s minds will undoubtedly be: if you had to pick just one, which shoe would you pick? But the answer isn’t that cut-and-dry, because you can’t really compare the two. The Nike Tiempo ’94 is more of a casual street shoe, and although it’s not something you’ll necessarily want to wear to play soccer on a consistent basis, it’s good for the odd pickup game. The Nike Tiempo Legend V, on the other hand, is one of the best performance cleats on the market, and for those looking to upgrade, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better designed soccer boot than this. Of course, you could always just buy both.
The Nike Tiempo ’94 (in a low and mid version) and Nike Tiempo Legend V are now available for purchase on Nike.com and other retailers. For more information, follow Nike Soccer on Facebook and Twitter.