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The Most High-Tech Leather Boot in the Game: Nike Tiempo Legend 7 AG-ProMore photos
The Nike Tiempo Legend series has been one of the pillars of Nike’s football range. The Tiempo line was the face of Nike aggressive expansion into soccer outside of the US in the 1980s and has been a mainstay ever since. However, despite its illustrious history, demand for leather boots has been on the wane for the football boot industry.
The last 10 years have seen innovations in synthetic and knitted material leapfrog the less fashionable leather as the premier material – leaving the Tiempo to be a little bit of an afterthought behind the other Nike silos (Mercurial, Hypervenom, and Magista).
The Tiempo is now positioned as a modernized classic with a focus on the biggest benefit that leather boots can bring – comfort and a supple touch.
Learnings from the previous generation – the Tiempo Legend 6
I was a proud owner of the Tiempo Legend 6 which introduced me to the best that the Tiempo series had to offer. Perfect lockdown, perfect fit for moderate to wide footed players and leather that was exceptionally soft after a few games in. I also liked the look of the ribbed design on the forefoot which was meant to keep the leather from over stretching.
Unfortunately, the boot had a major flaw – the upper was prone to splitting from the sole and I encountered the first signs of this about 6 months in. The splits just got worse progressively and I traded it in for the new Tiempo Legend 7 upon its launch.
Did it learn and improve from the 6th generation Tiempo Legend?
Leather meets FlyKnit
Nike decided to add some new life to the Tiempo by developing it with Flyknit elements. I was really excited for this as I own some of Nike’s Flyknit running shoes and the material is really soft. That said, Flyknit on their football boots have taken on a different texture and density to withstand the rigors of the game.
We were disappointed to find out that the implementation of Flyknit was mainly served as a marketing gimmick rather than a full-on feature. The memory foam tongue from the previous generation is replaced by a Flyknit tongue which wraps your feet down tight into the boot though this makes it a little harder than expected to put on the boot.
The heel counter is wrapped in Flyknit but it's still mainly a light plastic material.
Can there be too much lockdown?
While the Tiempo Legend 6 showed how you can perfect lockdown, Nike wanted to show that there were still avenues it hasn’t explored yet in this area. The Legend 7 has Flywire cables connected to the top 3 lace loops to ensure further security in the midfoot.
With the cables securing your midfoot, Nike developed Fit-Mesh on the inner linings of the forefoot. They claimed for it to be a material that acts like a “Chinese finger trap”. The more aggressively your feet move, the tighter it gets. I did feel the slightly rougher material on the inside but never for once did I notice the “finger trap” effect during play.
And last but not least, the inner sole comes with Nike Grip properties woven in it to be activated when in contact with a Nike Grip sock to reduce slippage. That too felt like a bit of marketing as I didn’t feel more grip with the socks.
A side note about the socks – I think the material is exquisite and is worth the steep price of about US$20-30. However, I am not sold on it being a grip sock despite their promotional videos telling me otherwise. It’s still one of my favorite socks to wear but it has no effect whatsoever with the Nike Grip insoles as marketed.
The inner suede lining and embossed pillows around the heel and ankle do help make the boot just a little more comfortable.
Nike’s AG soleplate – the best AG soleplate but still not perfect
With the popularity of AG grounds, manufacturers are still finding their way around building a boot that can withstand harsh AG ground. Many players still use FG (firm ground) studs which works alright but may have some drawbacks.
FG studs are longer than AG studs which may cause players to dig the studs too deep into the rubber based ground of AG pitches. This could cause sprains and even worse, ACL injuries, when the studs don’t disengage from the ground as the player makes a sudden shift in movement.
What Nike has done is built a thicker soleplate, shortened the studs and increased the number of studs across the sole. The result is a more durable plate, less traction and a better spread of your weight for safety and comfort.
Nike uses this same exact plate for the Tiempo, Magista and Hypervenom line with the Mercurial plate being very similar save for the arrow-shaped stud in the forefoot in place of the 3 small circular ones on the other lines.
However, Nike’s AG soleplate does come with some drawbacks. Due to its thicker nature, it is very stiff overall and it caused some aches in my feet when breaking them in. I had them on my Tiempo Legend 6 too and the Legend 7 had the same issues. It took me about 4 – 8 games before I could totally play in them without any aches in the foot.
Its design is also quite plain despite this being the top-grade boot. The Tiempo Legend 7’s firm ground and soft ground variants look really cool but Nike hasn’t been able to adapt these design for their AG plates despite being sold for the same price.
It’s a bit of a shame as the Tiempo Legend 7 (and all of Nike’s other top models) are not cheap and we are paying top dollar for design which we are not getting with the AG variants.
How the Tiempo Legend 7 performs with increased lockdown
The first thing that I noticed was that the boot was very tight and stiff on feet. Perhaps maybe too tight for comfort. The leather was also not as soft as it was on the previous generation. Combine these issues with the stiff AG plates and it made for a very uncomfortable first couple of months in them.
After the 2 month break in time, I did feel quite at home in the boots. Passes felt more responsive and tactile in the boot. The touch felt sharp and not too pillowy and the boot was light on feet at just over 210g. This is extremely light for a leather boot and one of the pleasant surprises for the boot. The FG version, for comparison, is even lighter at about 195g. I was glad that there were no durability issues in this version in spite of the reduced weight and new materials.
The AG plates provided the right amount of traction and never did I feel at risk of injury. Even on FG pitches, the plate worked a treat.
While the Nike Tiempo Legend 7 ended up being a very good boot on a technical level, I feel that the long break in time is too much to ask for a customer who is paying top dollar (approximately US$230) for their boot. A leather boot is supposed to be about comfort and a soft padded touch on the ball – almost straight out of the box. Nike did a great job with the responsive touch and also with the weight of the boot but the discomfort in wearing the boot was a major dissatisfaction for me.
The lack of a premium design on the soleplate also makes me feel a bit shortchanged on the value of the boot.
If you can look past its issues with discomfort, I would recommend waiting for the price to drop before purchasing it. Prices usually depreciate 3 months after the launch of the colorway so you’ll get value for your money there.
Another option would be to buy the takedown model – the Nike Tiempo Legend 7 Pro. The Pro version comes with a similar construction – the same leather forefoot, secure internal cables (not Flywire material though), an integrated synthetic tongue that makes it easier to put on and a synthetic inner forefoot lining to replace the Fit-Mesh.
What you get is a cheaper price point (approximately US$130) and a Legend 7 without the premium materials like Flyknit. I’m ok with that as I don’t think Nike delivered with all the gizmos and tech they installed in the latest Tiempo.
What I hope is for Nike to prioritize comfort and balance it with a solid lockdown for the next iteration of the Tiempo. They almost did it with the Legend 6, surely it won’t be too hard, no?
- Like its firm ground counterpart, the AG-PRO version of the Tiempo Legend VII Elite features high-quality kangaroo leather on its upper, complemented by a Fitmesh liner underneath. The upper composition reinforces the cleat's structure as well as facilitates ball touch. The quality of the leather, together with its added cushioning, makes the upper extremely durable, similar to the one used on the Nike Premier II Firm Ground.
- Another incredible feature of the cleat is its Flyknit construction on the heel and tongue. The Flyknit material provides breathability, elasticity, and support. These things contributed to the overall fit of the cleat. Alongside the Flyknit, the cleat also utilizes Flywire cables that offer stability and enhances foot lockdown. These innovative features are also used on the Nike Mercurial Superfly 6 Elite Firm Ground.
- The cleat also features the Nike Grip technology on its inner design. It ensures stability as it prevents the foot from sliding in the cleat.
The Nike Tiempo Legend VII AG-PRO offers a snug and sturdy fit. Utilizing Flyknit and Flywire technology, the cleat provides wearers with a comfortable wrap that doesn't restrict movement. Meanwhile, the Nike Grip insole stabilizes the foot and prevents slipping. In terms of sizing, the cleat can be availed in the standard sizes for men. But just like most cleats in the Tiempo line, the Legend VII AG-PRO runs a bit small.
The cleat features an artificial grass plate that is lightweight and thick enough to provide support. The sole plate is built with low-profile and secondary studs that function to boost perimeter traction as well as decrease foot pressure for an even stud pressure during the game. Moreover, the hollow studs and added heel cushioning enhances support while a flex groove helps with quick transitions.
The unique upper construction of the Legend VII AG-PRO includes a soft and supple kangaroo leather top layer that delivers unrivaled touch on the ball. Beneath it is a Fitmesh liner that preserves the shape of the cleat by minimizing stretching of the leather.
The tongue and heel of the cleat utilize a breathable Flyknit material that provides a second-skin fit to deliver flexibility and support to the foot. Flywire cables are also integrated into the lacing system to keep the foot in place for an adaptive fit.
- The soccer cleat weighs 7.7 ounces.