Famously worn by Italy’s Paolo Maldini and Brazil’s Romario during the 1994 World Cup in the US of A, Nike’s Tiempo 94 football boot has been a longtime favourite for fans of the Beautiful Game. Now on the cusp of its double decade anniversary, Nike look to reanimate the OG Tiempo with an all-new sneakerised rendition that is stripped for battle and ready for street action. Delivered in both mid and low cuts, the shoe is hewn from snappy ‘nappy’ suede in a bevy of internationalé colours. It’s no wannabe nutmegger though, enhancements include quilted toe panels, removable lace flaps and translucent phylon-injected midsoles. Happy birthday Tiempo 94, nice to have you back – on and off the pitch! Launching alongside the 94, Nike have unveiled the next silhouette in their Tiempo performance range, the all new Tiempo V. Leaner and meaner than its predecessor, the V has got to be one of the most attractive leather boots in the market.
Last night in Sydney, Nike held an event to celebrate the launch of the new inclusions to the Tiempo line. Aik Leong Lim, Nike's Football Product Director flew in from Portland to speak about the project. We managed to steal a few words from him amidst the fanfare.
Hi Aik, welcome to Australia. Can you tell us a little about your work at Nike and your involvement in the Tiempo project?
I'm the footwear Product Director for Nike Football, the key job of my team is to be the voice of the players. We talk with them so we can understand what they want and need in a product. We are constantly looking at the market place as well, identifying trends and then writing product briefs, working with the designers, developers and engineers to create football boots. This particular Tiempo project has been in the works for more than two years, all our product development usually takes over two years because of all the material development, product testing, engagement with players... We want to make sure we are creating the best product out there for our players.
With other cushioning foam technology on offer like Cushlon and Lunarlon, how was the decision made to use Phylon?
Different foams perform differently. Cushlon is slightly softer, Phylon is slightly firmer. With running shoes, different people have different preferences for what kind of cushioning they want to use, but for lifestyle you want something that's firmer, that's not too soft because you'll be wearing them all day. We tried different foams when developing this shoe to see how they work with the flex-grooved outsole, and we found that Phylon was perfect for the combination.
With the reworked sole it moves away from being a football or futsal shoe. Where do you personally see the shoe being worn?
As a company we are grounded in performance sports and our lifestyle shoes all take inspiration from the heritage of the sports products, so one kind of person would be the football-obsessed teen. These are the kind of kids who wanna wear something that is inspired by football. But really anyone who thinks this shoe is cool, I guess. We are working on a lot of material applications that will attract a whole wide range of people. We've seen the Gato become an SB skate shoe, these actually look like they would be good to skate in too. Can we expect to see more styles from the football catalogue popping up on the street? A Mercurial perhaps?
We're always working on new stuff that we can potentially bring to the market place. But you know the deal, there are some projects in the works but they are all secrets. Definitely stay tuned!
We understand that there is some new tech in the Tiempo V, we've gotta say it looks great with some colour on it as opposed to the traditional black leather look too. What can you tell us about the model's key points?
The sole is all about traction and is also inspired by natural motion technology from our Nike Free, but we also have innovation on the upper as well. Two of the key performance areas for the upper are fit and touch, we really used that as our main focus to deliver innovation that would enhance those areas. We started with fit and used a new anatomical last, this last allows us to deliver an incredible fit by bringing the foot closer to the ball and lower to the ground. We've developed and engineered this upper package to work with the last to deliver a longer lasting snug fit. One of the key issues we've heard from players about previous Tiempo models is that as the same with all leather boots – when they get wet they kind of stay wet, and of course they stretch over time, so we've developed this upper package with two layers of material, waterproof K Leather (kangaroo leather) over the top and low wicking, hydrophobic mesh underneath. The combination of these two layers of material actually allows us to reduce the water intake of the boot and increase the rate of drying if any water is absorbed. This revolutionary upper package actually allows us to deliver a comfortable and snug fit that lasts. We are calling that Hypershield technology.
For touch we've reduced the amount of material used in the upper by fifty percent. The previous Tiempo was made up of four layers of material, where as I explained before the Tiempo V is just two, obviously that results in a better touch. To ensure that the touch remains optimal regardless of wet or dry conditions because when the World Cup is in Brazil, depending on weather you're playing up north orr down south, the weather is very different. It could be sunny and dry or wet and cold, so we've added Nike All Conditions Control technology (ACC), which is a treatment to the material during the manufacturing process. It's not a spray or something that we apply after the boot has been made, it's actually ingrained in the fibres of the material. It essentially allows the surface of the material to maintain the same level of friction regardless of wet or dry weather, resulting in consistent and optimal touch.
The boot looks amazing, Aik, just holding it makes me want to play football right now. Finally, any World Cup predictions?
Personally, I'm a big Brazil fan, who doesn't like Brazil? With this world cup being held in their home country it's really exciting. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the players, especially Neymar, he's one of the stronger young players that we have. But I am actually following Australia, I got tickets for Australia's games, so they're definitely my second team.
To coincide with the launch of the Tiempo V and Tiempo '94 Nike has also created the "I AM Tiempo" campaign featuring Gerard Pique, Ashley Cole, Sergio Ramos, Carlos Tevez and Ronaldinho. Check them all out below.