Nike Premier Review
The Nike Premier soccer cleat definitely has that old-school vibe about it, not only in how it looks, but also in how it performs. It is what I would call a modern day classic, in that it has a very traditional feel about it, but doesn’t lack modern innovation. It was designed to compete directly with the iconic Adidas Copa Mundial, and I must say, the Premier is definitely going to give the Copa a run for its money.
The Nike Premier is all about simple design and natural materials, making for one of the most comfortable boots currently on the market. The upper is crafted from what Nike calls “Premier” leather, which is code name for kangaroo leather, and the quality is absolutely amazing. From right out of the box the leather is super soft and pliable, making for an extremely comfortable fit. The shape of the boot is more modern than what you’ll find from the Adidas Copa Mundial, making the break-in time a lot shorter on the Premier, while still allowing you to achieve a truly custom fit. Give the boot about two hours or so of wear-time, and you’ll notice a major difference in how the shoe fits.
Other comfort elements on the Premier include a suede heel and ankle liner, which does a great job of gripping the back of your heel, and locking your foot in place. The tongue is crafted from a thinner synthetic material, with a single strip of memory foam running through the middle to cut down on any possible lace-bite. The central lacing system runs fairly deep down the boot, allowing you to adjust the tightness very effectively. The removable insole has a good thickness to it, being made from a fairly dense foam, and also features a uniquely textured liner that does a great job of preventing any kind of slippage inside of the boot.
The Nike Premier is one of those boots that is suitable for pretty much any foot type, wide or narrow. Due to the softness of the kangaroo leather upper, the Premier is a shoe that stretches quite a bit, so its very important to get the proper size. This is not a shoe that I would recommend buying with too much extra growing room, or space at the toe in general, because you could run into issues with the boots over stretching and feeling too sloppy. Given that you’ve got your proper size, the fit is perfect. From right out of the box, the shoe is about average in width, and overall will have a slightly tighter fit, especially through the toe box and forefoot area. Give the boot a practice or two to break-in and you’ll find that the upper will stretch to the exact shape of your foot, making for that custom feel that you just can’t get from most modern boots. The custom fit in combination with the softness of the leather makes for sock-like comfort and may even make you question why you ever wore anything else.
Sizing is a little bit off with the Nike Premier. I would compare the sizing to the Nike CTR360 Maestri 3, in that it runs about a half size small, unlike all of Nike’s other models. Instead of wearing my usual size 9US, which I tried on and was too small, I wore a size 9.5US for testing, and the fit was absolutely perfect, before and after break-in. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend going a half size up for the best possible fit.
One of the major downsides of an older style shoe like the Copa Mundial is weight. Not to say that the Copa is a “heavy” boot, but it really doesn’t compare to the weight of most modern boots that people are used to wearing. Where the Copa weighs in around 12oz, the Nike Premier weighs in at a very lightweight 8.6oz, which is significantly less than the Copa, and right on par with some of the more lightweight boots currently the market. The Premier is even lighter than its modern Nike counterpart in the Tiempo Legend IV, which is pretty shocking. Not only does the Premier offer an extremely comfortable fit, but its also pretty lightweight with all things considered.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Nike opted for a more traditional stud pattern on the Premier. The stud pattern is similar to what you’ll find on the Copa Mundial, with the only difference in the layout being four studs along the medial side of the forefoot, as opposed to three. It’s a layout that is nearly identical the Nike Tiempo Legend IV, except all of the studs are conical on the Premier. The conical studs are fairly thin and narrow, allowing for improved ground penetration, which makes for better traction when pushing off. It’s a slightly tweaked classic stud pattern, that offers a great mix of grip when pushing off, as well as plenty maneuverability when planted. The flexibility of the soleplate also allows the stud pattern to move more freely with your foot, so no matter which you twist or turn, you’ll have as many studs under your feet as possible. For natural grass playing surfaces, this is an absolutely fantastic stud pattern. There’s nothing fancy here, but it gets the job done and is very consistent.
If you’ve never worn a pair of kangaroo leather shoes before, than you’re missing out. The kangaroo leather upper is so soft and flexible, making for a touch on the ball that feels absolutely fantastic. The leather itself is a little bit thinner than you’ll find on the Copa Mundial, and even the Nike Tiempo Legend IV, so the overall feel is a lot less bulky. The entire upper is made from the same thickness of kangaroo leather, so no matter what part of the foot makes contact with the ball, the feel is the same. There’s something to be said about a simple design with quality, natural materials, because it really does feel amazing.
The only synthetic that you’ll find on the boot is the tongue, which is made from a slightly thinner synthetic, with a memory insert running the middle. Normally I would have preferred a leather tongue, but the slim profile of the synthetic tongue really allows for a more streamlined feel, and cuts down on any unnecessary bulk.
The perfect fit in combination with the soft kangaroo leather upper, makes for a shoe that feels more like a leather sock than a soccer cleat. I’m a huge fan of kangaroo leather soccer shoes, especially when they’re done right. I’ve worn my fair share of traditionally styled boots, but the Premier is a definite stand-alone when it comes to quality and feel. If you’re looking for the ultimate kangaroo leather feel, than look no further than the Premier.
Striking the ball in the Nike Premier is nothing that you wouldn’t expect. The simple design does not feature any kind of striking elements, so all you get is the natural feel of the soft kangaroo leather upper, which is by no means a bad thing. I found that the thinner synthetic tongue gave the shoe a slightly more responsive feel when striking the ball, which is great if you don’t like having too much padding. The fit of the boot in combination with the stiffness of the soleplate give the shoe a decent amount of rigidity, allowing for a solid feel when striking the ball. Again, simplicity is the theme, so if you like a very clean striking surface with a slightly cushioned feel, than you’ll love shooting the ball in the Premier.
Something that’s great about the Copa, is that it’s a very protective shoe, mainly due to the extra bulk of the upper. On the Nike Premier, most of the extra bulk has been removed, so the protection is just OK. The natural padding of the upper will provide some decent protection should you get stepped on, but you’ll still feel plenty of the impact. The boot also features an internal plastic heel counter, which provides some decent protection against kicks to the back. The Nike Premier is going to provide enough protection for most players, and won’t leave you feeling over exposed.
The quality of the Nike Premier is some of the best currently on the market. The upper is made from some of the nicest kangaroo leather that I have ever used, and the simple design means that there isn’t much that can go wrong when it comes to durability. The bond between the soleplate and upper has remained intact without any signs of separation after three weeks of use, so I don’t anticipate there being any major durability issues with the boot. Considering that the Premier is available for as little as $90, I would say that you’re definitely getting your money’s worth and should be able to get at least a season’s worth of play out of these boots.
Keep in mind that the upper is made from natural leather, so some maintenance is required to keep the boots is optimal condition. Also keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Nike Premier, or any FG soccer shoe for that matter, is designed for use on natural grass playing surfaces, and not artificial grass or turf. Using any FG soccer shoe on an artificial playing surface will have a major impact on the longevity of the boot.
The Nike Premier may not seem all that exciting, but if you’re a fan of simple styling and quality leather uppers, than the Premier is something to be excited about. The Premier is one of the most comfortable, best fitting boots around, offering an upper made from some of the finest kangaroo leather available, in a package that is actually pretty lightweight. Not to mention that the shoe is available at an incredibly affordable price, so not only is the Premier a great value, it’s also an incredible boot. If you’ve been thinking about trying something a little more traditional, something that I believe everybody should do at least once, than trust me when I say that the Nike Premier will not disappoint.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||61 out of 70 or 87%|