In the incredibly unlikely event that you missed it, Euro 2016 is about to start. So too, is an extra special, 100th year anniversary Copa America. So if you want to watch football, you should be able to get your fair share.
Football fan or not, it’s hard to not appreciate a good kit. We all have our favourites, and we all have ones we’d like to forget.
But what exactly makes a football kit special? Decent players are of course a good start, but we think there’s more to it…
Wearing colours confidently is a great way to liven up your wardrobe. Knowing what colours to put together is the trick to learn, and it is one that Germany seem to have missed out on with their away kit
Mixing varying shades of grey with varying shades of green is always going to be a challenge, but even harder when you make the green similar to that of a watered down basil pesto, and you make the shirt reversible. After Man United’s infamous “invisible kit” was voted the club’s worst kit of all time, you’d think they’d have learnt.
Thankfully, many nations in the two competitions have got it spot on. Bolivia’s simple affair manages to tastefully merge the difficult colours of red and green, without looking like a Drumstick lolly. Nearer to home, Iceland and France fuse red, blue and white without looking like a flag.
A touch of flair
While the the plain blue Italian kit, much like a pair of Oxford shoes, is a thing of simplistic beauty, it does lose out on the flamboyance stakes. A flamboyant design makes a kit stand out from the crowd, and helps us remember it many years after it was last worn to kick a ball in anger.
For an historical example of such razzmatazz, look no further than Jorge Campos, the Mexican goalkeeper during the early 90s. He would design his own kits and they were often… interesting. Mexico’s current kit is a much more tame affair, but there are countries that are still flying Campo’s flag.
Sweden’s away kit is an interesting ensemble, looking like a mix between pyjamas and 1960s beachwear. Croatia’s home and away kits are, of course bold, owing mainly to the flag from which they take its design.
However the greatest examples of flirting with flamboyance, but not going “full Campos”, are Colombia’s 2012 World Cup kit and Turkey’s home kit, from this year’s Euros. Both merge colour in bold designs that look smart, are memorable without looking ridiculous.
Care with detailing
First, let’s look at the ones who haven’t got it right.Uruguay’s away kit looks like a tea towel, Switzerland’s looks like an ambulance, and the Russian home kit looks strikingly like a rug in a manor house. Indeed, it is good to add detail, but if you add it willy nilly, your kit can go from “looking the part” to “not too smart” in no time.
Once again, it is Turkey that have won the battle of detail. The spider web-like pattern and gradient from black to red combine to make a kit that has interest, without meaning something else by accident. And let’s look at meaning some more…
It must mean something
Wales’ away kit is grey and fluorescent green. Neither are colours that really have any association to anything Welsh. England’s home and away kits are both smart enough in their own right, but in adding light blue to the sleeves of the home kit, red socks to the away and navy blue detailing to both, the kit’s manufactures have angered many fans.
Why? Because it is not what a lot of England fans think an England kit should be, and therefore doesn’t endear itself well to the fans.
The Spanish away kit is a prime example of this respect for meaning and national patriotism done right. While not exactly a looker, the patterning is quintessentially Iberian, and could be said to have dashes of cubism, harking back to the artistic talents of one Pablo Picasso. It is a bit of a Marmite kit, but whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that it is very Spanish.
But most of all…
You need good players. Colombia’s 2012 kits are in part remembered because they played so well. Peru on the other hand, always have a nice kit, but with no decent players in recent years, no one remembers them.
Even though England, Turkey and Germany all have kits of varying aesthetic quality, they will only have a winning kit if the players that wear them perform.
Want to see all the kits? You can do just that below.