Nike Tiempo Legend IV SG-Pro (Soft Ground Pro) Review
Nike has reinvented simplicity with this edition of the Tiempo Legend IV line, creating a boot that is arguably the best version of the Legends ever released. The first and most important thing to note in getting a pair of these boots is the sizing issue. Nike has really done a great job with the sizing because they made the shoe fit very tightly right out of the box. The toe box comes very small and the boot fits really tight all around your foot, tight enough to where many people would go up half a size for a more comfortable fit. Don’t go up a size. The kangaroo leather on this boot is very soft and will stretch and the boot is made to form to your foot through a break in period rather than fitting right out of the box. A kangaroo leather shoe is supposed to fit tightly because, unlike synthetics, it will stretch and form to your foot. After wearing the shoes for about 3 hours, you will notice how the boot changes shape to form to your foot, making for a perfect fit. Once you break in the boot and it has formed to your foot, these boots quickly go from feeling very tight to very comfortable. This boot is made to be comfortable, with its super soft kangaroo leather, the swede heel liner and the slightly padded tongue; this is easily one of the most comfortable boots I have ever worn. Although there was a break in period, I was never uncomfortable and never even came close to getting blisters. What Nike also did with this boot to improve the fit is adding Kanga-Lite on the sides of the boot as opposed to all kangaroo leather. What this means is the fit of the boot will be more supportive and fit tighter in the long run because Kanga-Lite, a synthetic, will not stretch like kangaroo leather will. I wore my usual size 9US for review and I would recommend you get your normal size. Even if you feel like they feel too tight at first, stick with them and they will fit properly after a couple hours of use.
The standard firm ground version of the Legend IV weighs in at a very average 9.6oz, where the SG-Pro model weighs in at 10.6oz, exactly one ounce more. While 10.6oz is not considered as lightweight, it is still very impressive that Nike managed to keep the weight of the shoe so low considering all of the additions that are included on the SG-Pro. Keep in mind the SG-Pro has six metal studs, which weigh significantly more than plastic ones, in addition to the plastic studs that run in between the metal studs, as well as a beefed up soleplate, made from a much thicker plastic than the firm ground model. For a soft ground shoe, this is about an average weight, which is what you would expect from a shoe of this type.
This is actually the second stud pattern released for soft ground on the Nike Tiempo Legend IV. Up until the release of the Nike Clash Collection colour way of the Legend IV, the soft ground stud pattern was a standard six stud formation. The new SG-Pro stud pattern got people excited, mainly because it is a stud pattern that was exclusive to the professionals, but now Nike have released it to the public. This is also the same SG-Pro stud pattern that can be found on the CTR360 Maestri III and the T90 Laser IV. What makes the SG-Pro stud pattern so attractive is that it isn’t a particularly aggressive soft ground stud pattern. With that being said, there are two sets of studs included with the purchase of a pair of SG-Pro shoes. Included are a set of 11mm and 13mm, as well as a set of 13mm and 15mm studs, for really soft ground. If you look at the shorter set of metal studs, they do not extend much past the plastic, or firm ground studs, making this a stud pattern that you can get away with should the ground that you are playing be consistently soft-ish. If you are playing regularly on firm ground or hard ground, the standard firm ground stud pattern is what you want. Another misconception with the SG-Pro stud pattern is that you can use it on turf or artificial surfaces. I strongly suggest not doing so. As the name suggests, the stud pattern is for “soft ground”, which is more or less the exact opposite of a shallow artificial surface. As far as the performance of the stud pattern is concerned, the plastic studs scattered around the metal ones do make for a different feel than you would normally get from your standard six stud, soft ground stud pattern. There are some additional grip points on the shoe, but what I am a big fan of is the extra stud right at the toe. This stud just gives that little bit of extra grip when pushing off, which could be the difference between slipping and staying on your feet in soft field conditions. Other than that, I would say that the plastic studs give the stud pattern a feel more like a firm ground stud pattern on the ball. If you have ever used a pair of six studs before, you know that feel of somewhat of an awkwardness if you ever use the bottom of your foot to control the ball, and that just doesn’t happen with the SG-Pro stud pattern. It is easy to see why the pros are choosing to use the mixed sole stud patterns, but just keep in mind that they are still intended and should be used on soft ground.
A kangaroo leather boot is always supposed to be based around the quality of the touch, and the Legend IV delivers one of the nicest touches in the game. The kangaroo leather that is used on this boot is some of the softest leather that I have ever used on a soccer shoe. Just touching the leather with the shoe in your hand, you will notice instantly how soft the leather really is. What is also really nice about the leather is that it isn’t overly thick. The leather isn’t super thick, but it’s not super thin either, it is in my opinion the perfect thickness. The kanga-lite material blends in quite nicely with the natural leather and is also really soft, giving the entire boot a very soft touch. The tongue is even a very quality leather material and it almost blends in to the rest of the boot, as it is the same thickness as the upper, and you can hardly feel any joints on the tongue. I would describe the touch of this boot as perfect. It provides just enough padding, a nice feel on the ball and is the same thickness anywhere on the boot.
Shooting with this boot is also really great. The soft leather provides a nice amount of padding when striking the ball and the overall feel is very natural. What I mean by this is that there is nothing on this boot the feels like it shouldn’t be there, or something is in the way. This boot offers simplicity at its finest and really feels great no matter what you are doing.
The Legend IV is a very durable shoe. The leather quality is great and the entire upper is very securely glued to the sole. The Kanga-Lite mid-foot allows the shoe to keep its shape much more efficiently than a natural material would be able to, making for a shoe that will fit great for a long time. Everything feels vey solid, and the simple design means that very little can go wrong with the shoe. Keep in mind that this is a soft ground shoe, not designed for use on artificial surfaces. Not only is using a soft ground stud pattern on turf unsafe, but it will also have a major effect on the durability of the shoe. Also keep in mind that the Legend IV uses natural materials in the upper, so some maintenance is required to keep the shoes in optimal shape.
Most kangaroo leather boots do offer a little more in the way of protection than the standard synthetic boot will. Because no boot is made with protection as the main objective, it comes down to the small elements of each boot that do provide protection whether it was intended to or not. With the Legends, the boot is slightly padded so there is some protection there. The shoe also features an internal heel cup that is hard plastic which will definitely protect you from any kicks to the heels.
This boot is the perfect blend of technology and heritage. The kangaroo leather paired with the kanga-lite is the perfect combination to ensure the best possible fit. The leather quality is some of the best on the market, making for a touch on the ball that anybody can appreciate. If you are on the market for a no nonsense leather soccer shoe, the Legend IV is a very solid choice.
|9 out of 10
|8 out of 10
|9 out of 10
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|60 out of 70 or 86%