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Football Boots We Have Loved: The Original Nike Tiempo

By Chris Wright

This ‘ere be a new regular-ish feature we be dabbling with on Pies, in which we have a look back at some of the football boots which have tugged on our heartstrings down through the years.

In a sport which only really requires you to supply a minimal amount of gear, your boots take on an added sentimental significance. You find a good pair and you stick with them; through thick and thin, from dog turd-strewn park to dog turd-strewn park. It’s a special bond.

First up, it’s the original Nike Tiempo Premier which debuted in 1994…

With Nike a non-entity in the football boot market, and rivals Puma, Adidas and Hummel being the boot choice of the majority of international players at the time, a push was needed – and the 1994 World Cup in the USA provided the perfect impetus for Nike to muscle in on the competition.

Ahead of the tournament Nike agreed a raft of sponsorship deals with high-profile names to wear the new Tiempo Premier, Nike’s first football boot, with the majority of players in the final between Italy and Brazil (including Romario and Paolo Maldini) wearing the boot – emblazoned with a clean swoosh down either side and ‘NIKE’ in huge lettering across the heels – in front of a global audience of roughly one trillion people.

The ’94 Final served as a fairly good advert (18.1 million tuned in the US alone) and, due to popular demand, the Tiempos were commercially released a few months later.

Maldini and Romario have a good old gander at each other’s nifty new boots

It was a few years on down the line until I got my grubby paws on a pair – my first ‘big brand’ boots – and, though they were the knockdown Tiempos rather than the ‘elite’ line (I was operating on a paper boy’s disposable income at the time), the design had hardly changed; clean and precise in black and white with ‘NIKE’ still written in large lettering across the heel, but with an added flash of blue on the huge fold-over tongue.

They were supremely comfortable, like they had been specially moulded for my feet and what’s more, they were gorgeous. I wore them until they died – and then I wore them some more.

In fact, I loved them so much that I even attempted a D.I.Y patch job to prolong their lifespan; cutting up a bicycle inner tube, making slits for the front four studs to push through and pulling it over the end of the boot in a futile bid to stem the leakage caused where the stitching had completely eroded between the leather and the base.

Of course, my rubbery bodge didn’t even come close to preventing sodden socks but, in many ways, I like to think I inadvertently invented what went on to become the Adidas Predator.

Time to chase up some royalties…

If you have a particular pair of boots you’d like to see featured or even fancy writing about them yourself, give Pies a nudge at waatpies@gmail and we’ll sort something out.

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By Chris on November 26th, 2012 in Featured, Kits & fashion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

30 Responses to “Football Boots We Have Loved: The Original Nike Tiempo”

  1. NathanM says:

    Adidas Copa Mundial. Puma King. All the classics.

  2. Mr Sensible says:

    I had a pair of these, loved them, it was all about the fold-over tongue, for some reason only expensive football boots had tongues that actually folded over.

    I used to love buying Wold Soccer magazine in WH Smiths and checking out all the boots on sale in the back, I was always fond of Joma, it always seemed so exotic to me, and some Italian brand I can’t remember the name of, all I remember is Daniele Massaro wore them.

  3. barf says:

    I remember my first pair of really good boots, I bought myself a pair of predators in 1998, I was 14 and had worked my arse off all summer to afford me a pair after I saw Gazza touting them in some magazine or other just before the World Cup.

    Cue 1st game in them, all the lads on my Sunday league team were mightily impressed, I even earned a new nickname, “flash tosser”, which I believe was a compliment at the time.

    Anyway, the game was a delight, I was pinging around crosses and 30-yard balls like nobodies business thinking these boots were sent from God/Dassler himself….right up until around the 75th minute, cue corner coming in from the opposition, I go to hammer the ball out 1st time and the bastard catches the boot/my foot in a way that defies the laws of reality, physics and causality and flies in my own top corner.

    I still have tinnitus to this day after the ribbing I got from the rest of the team after that.

  4. hasselhof says:

    How about the original Nike Mercurials form ’98. I managed to buy myself a pair my freshman year of High School after being blown away by how light they were and seeing fat Ronaldo show up(not show up) in the wc final. Granted, they may have only lasted 3 games before that ultralight synthetic upper ripped at the sole plate, and they’re ugly as sin as only the late 90’s could produce, but they did jump start the super light boot movement.

  5. Mr Sensible says:

    YES! Valsport!

    Those and Reusch or Uhlsport goalkeeper gloves, only the foreigners wore them, all the keepers in England wore Sondico, I prefered the continental stylings. I remember going to Soccer Scene in Carnaby St back in the early 90s when it was amazing (they had 100s of foreign kits for sale back then) and trying on a pair of Schmeichel Reusch gloves with the ‘S’ on them, they only had them in a size XL and I was about 9, my Dad rightly told me they looked stupid on me.

    Also watching the Bundesliga on RTL on Sky and seeing all the outfield players wearing outfield Reusch gloves, blew my fucking mind, I wanted them so badly.

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with boots.

  6. tico says:

    That picture makes me think modern football has failed to live up to expectations…

  7. David Badknob says:

    Cracking boots. Would take these over Nike’s current offerings any day. A modern classic. Adidas Copa Mundial’s next please!

  8. Duranos says:

    Been wearing a pair of Asics Testimonials for about 5 years. Always saw Italian players wearing them on Channel 4, and they’re amazing. Just don’t make boots like that anymore. They’ve got a massive tongue too, one of the key ingredients of a class boot.

  9. JQ says:

    I remember buying world soccer for the very same reason!

    I had a pair of Tiempos, they were class. A great memory is a 2nd gen pair of predators in junior size, i painted the tongue red with some red touch up paint from my Dad’s Volvo! Ha! The guys at school never let me hear the end of it!

    What annoys me the most though, is the lack of half decent boots these days, horrible colours all round!

  10. Leon says:

    Mine were Puma Kings, I luckily had the Astro Turf variation in red, and later on bought myself the yellow PK’s in ‘proper’ studded type. It was a shame I didn’t have both studded as it was around that time that a player from the african nations cup wore different colours in each foot.

    Those were the days.

  11. Chris B says:

    I still wear my second pair of Adidas Copa Mundials, purchased in 1999. I have tried Predators, F50s, Laser90s, etc., but these were all goofy clown shoes in comparison. I’d wear them until I developed blisters, then go back to buttery-smooth kangaroo leather of the Copas.

    Also, they only come in black.

  12. McRillen says:


  13. Ubietz says:

    The Nike Tiempo Premier (re-release edition) are my favourite boots ever. EVER. I’ve gone through 4 pairs since they were released a few years ago and am still hunting down more. They fit like a glove, aren’t flashy, provide great support and above all are black. The tongue is bad arse. Fantastic choice!

  14. Sjakie Meulemans says:

    When I started playing football back in 1994, aged 7 or 8, I got a pair of second hand Puma boots from the club. They were black with an orange-yellowish Puma stripe and…a Lothar Matthäus autograph on them. Best thing is, I’m from Holland. We’re not that fond of German players, especially back then we weren’t. Still, I wore them with pride. Today I wish I had a picture of them, but I can’t find it anywhere. If anyone could find me one, it would make my day.

  15. Sjakie Meulemans says:

    @Chris: Close! But I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any purple in them, and definitely some yellow.

  16. […] Football Boots We Have Loved: The Original Nike Tiempo Tweet […]

  17. Jules says:

    Great feature – however the Tiempo Premier wasn’t Nike’s first boot. They had been making them since the 1980s. Ian Rush used to wear them. A a certain cricketer.

    I remember having a cracking pair in about 1987 – silver on the sides. Lovely.

    Then they sponsored Roy of the Rovers.

    I remember wearing several pairs before the Tiempos. They made some great boots in the early 90s. I remember some with a kind of green mesh on the side, and a pair with a purple fold over tongue that were the best. No pics anywhere sadly…

  18. […] Original Nike Tiempo Puma King Valsport Era  Tweet […]

  19. […] – not the most popular boot brand in the early 1990s – for my next two pairs until I caught the Nike Tiempo bug a few years […]

  20. Rich Scott says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to own Puma kings, Adidas Copa Mundials and still have a pait of the Predators worn by Zidane and Beckham in the france 98 World Cup.

    None of those however were a patch on my first loves, the Quasar Lineker Magic’s! I had these in about 90/91 when the tanned one was still banging in the goals for England and Spurs. They had a really cool fold over tongue which was quite special at the time, ultimately they were pretty shocking and I soon upgraded to (pocket money permitting) to a Pair of Mizuno’s that David Platt was wearing at the time – Happy times

  21. Brian Byrne says:

    i had a pair of Nike Tiempo circa 1989 with a gold swoosh, these ’94 editons were not origiginal tiempos

  22. Danny noc says:

    I must correct you, these are not the first pair of boots nike brought out, I got my first pair of nike hotspurs in 1985. Also nike brought out a pair of yellow and black boots.
    Players like Brian McClaire, Tommy Burns and even judas himself Mo Johnstone were all wearing Nike boots in the 80’s…..even Roy Race had a pair.

  23. sean says:

    im looking for a picture of my old nike boots. danny with above comment may be talking about the same pair. these were indeed black with a bit yellow on heel but NO swoosh. they had nike written across the back of the boot. around 1986-7-8 ish.

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