Nike Tiempo Legend IV Elite Firm Ground Review

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The Nike Tiempo Legend IV Elite is probably the most unique shoe to come out of Nike’s Elite series. In comparison to the standard Legend IV, there is almost nothing that is the same, much like the difference between the Vapor and the Superfly. Perhaps the biggest difference with the Elites is the upper. The upper is full kangaroo leather, all the way around the boot, with Flywire running through the midfoot of the upper. First, the leather is very soft from right out of the box. You should have no issues with rubbing or anything like that since the upper of the shoe is so soft. Normally I would say that the leather is too soft for a soccer shoe, as it will overstretch, but because of the Flywire that runs through the midsole, the leather has some structural rigidity, which you can’t get from any other full leather boot.

If you aren’t familiar with Nike’s Flywire technology, it is essentially woven carbon fiber strings that run from the lace holes of the shoe to the underside of the shoe. They act as support bands that grab your foot when you pull the laces tight, making for a very secure and stable feeling. This is the same technology that can only be found in the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly, but this version feels a little different. The Superfly is by far the stiffest boot from right out of the box, partly due to the use of Flywire, but when the Flywire is paired with natural leather, the stiffness of the upper is dramatically reduced. The Legends still have some stiffness to them, but it isn’t from the upper. The upper is so unique because it can provide that super soft feel, but still have the lateral stiffness and tight midfoot fit that you can’t get from any other full leather soccer shoe. It is very impressive how Nike have managed to enhance an already premium material, that is kangaroo leather. It is also worth noting that the Flywire, which on the Superfly makes for a more narrow fit, does not have the same effect in the Legends, which have a much wider midfoot. The tongue on the boot is surprisingly not leather, but is instead a very thin material, the exact same material that the Vapor tongue is made from, with a strip of memory foam running through the middle. When I first saw this, I didn’t really think that it should be there, but after using the boot, I actually came to like it. The upper seems to be a little thinner, which I will get to later, so it actually suits the boot quite well.

The one thing that I just didn’t get was the heel liner, which I thought really should have been suede. Instead the heel is lined with synthetic leather, which feels ok, but a suede heel liner just would have worked so much better. Another benefit of the Elite series is the carbon fiber soleplate, as it removes all stud pressure, making for a very comfortable running experience. It is worth mentioning that the carbon fiber soleplate is much stiffer than your standard plastic soleplate, which some may not like, but it will loosen up to be less stiff after a couple hours of use. The fit isn’t narrow, but it isn’t super wide either. The Flywire is not going to stretch, so the width in the midfoot area of the shoe is pretty much predetermined. I would say as long as you don’t have an exceptionally wide foot, these should not give you any issues. As far as fitting true to size, these are a little off. Where I would normally wear a size 9US, I needed a half size up to a size 9.5US in order to get the proper fit. So if you are looking to order a pair, I strongly suggest going a half size larger.

Weight

These shoes weigh in at a slightly below average 9.4oz, which in comparison to the standard Legend IV, is only 0.2oz lighter. I anticipated them to be lighter, and am surprised that they aren’t a little lighter, but at the same time, no corners were cut in order to shave weight. Anyways, the weight of the boot should not really be your main concern here, and like I always say, I will always choose quality of materials over less weight.

Traction

The stud pattern on this boot is the unchanged version that we saw from all of the Legends prior to the IV. It is a combination of predominantly conical studs in the forefoot and rounded blades at the heel. This is a soleplate that is very popular amongst professionals, and for good reason. It provides a very good combination of grip and agility. You will never feel locked into the ground when your foot is planted, which is something that is very important in avoiding injury. I feel like the more traditional stud patterns like this one are becoming more and more extinct, as the blades seem to be taking over. This is personally one of my favorite soleplates, as it will perform well on any surface, especially turf.

Touch

I can’t say that the touch on this boot feels like any other. The leather is very soft, and is probably the thinnest kangaroo leather upper that I have ever seen on a soccer shoe. The touch reminded me very much of a thin synthetic, but with some really nice cushion to it. The section with the Flywire is just slightly thinner, but again, still has a nice cushioned quality to it. Juggling is these boots feels awesome and controlling the ball just feels very natural. The thin tongue paired with the memory foam insert also feels great, and it seems to match the thickness of the rest of the upper almost perfectly. I don’t want to say that this boot will improve your touch, but it gives that feeling that you do actually have a better touch, something that I had only really ever got from one other shoe, the Diadora Maracana. This boot truly offers that “premium” kangaroo leather feel, separating itself from most other kangaroo leather shoes. The touch on this boot is very unique, but definitely in a good way.

Shooting

Shooting with these boots is nothing that should surprise you. There are no shooting elements on the boot, so there is no added grip on the ball when you strike it. The upper is a little bit thinner, so you may feel a little more of the ball that you would from other kangaroo leather boots, but the difference is not majorly noticeable. One thing that I can say is that the carbon fiber soleplate provides excellent stiffness when striking the ball. Soccer shoes were originally straight leather, just like this one. It worked then, and it still works now.

Protection

Given that these are a leather shoe, there is some cushion to the upper, that will provide some protection against getting stepped on, but for the most part, I would say that these boots are on the thinner side. That’s not to say that these offer any protection, because they do. They will provide much more protection than any “speed”, and the amount of protection that they do provide should suffice for most people.  There is some form of an internal heel counter, that will keep you protected from behind, but again, I wouldn’t worry about feeling unsafe in these boots.

Durability

The build quality, as well as the quality of materials is very high. The leather is very nice and the Flywire in the midfoot will prevent a lot of stretching in the upper, making for a boot that will not lose it’s shape over time. The carbon fiber soleplate will never really break down, so loss of stiffness or stud pressure should never be an issue. One thing that must be taken into consideration is the softness of the upper. Generally when you have an upper that soft, durability does go down, but I don’t think that this is going to be a big problem with the Legend IV Elite. These should be able to last the season, and with proper care, maybe even longer.

The Verdict

Besides being one of the better looking shoes on the market, these truly are very high quality soccer shoes. The quality of materials and unique combination of Flywire and carbon fiber make for a boot that is not only impressive, but very nice to play in. There is very little that this boot does not get right, and if you are in the market for something unique, yet traditional, these are definitely worth a look. Also, quantities are fairly limited, so if you want a pair, get them while you can.

Comfort/Fit10 out of 10
Weight8 out of 10
Traction9 out of 10
Touch10 out of 10
Shooting8 out of 10
Protection8 out of 10
Durability8 out of 10
FINAL SCORE61 out of 70 or 87%
Joshua Vujovic (1131 Posts)

My goal is to provide the most detailed, in-depth reviews on all the latest soccer gear. Its very easy to get caught up in all of the hype around the latest soccer equipment, but we're here to point you in the right direction. As a product tester, I always give my honest, unbiased opinion on everything that gets tested, ensuring that you're always getting the most accurate information possible


4 Comments

  1. Do you know where I can get some of these?

  2. Hey Josh,

    Do you prefer these shoes over the Tiempo Legend V?

    • The Legend 5 fits me a little better, so the answer would be no. With that being said, I love the design and concept of the Legend IV Elites, which is why they’re on of my favorites of all-time.

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