Classy new England kits from Nike launch to price controversy

Unfortunately for both Nike and England, much of the press surrounding the unveiling has been less about the clean look of the shirts and more about their retail price.

For England's trip to the World Cup, Nike have designed an unsurprisingly classy pair of kits for the Three Lions that pick up right where Umbro's last few spectacular efforts left off. England will wear a white home kit and red change complete will all of the technology that Nike are packing into the rest of their World Cup kits.

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"Designing the kits for the country that invented the game was a real honor for our design team. We wanted to pay homage to key moments in England's proud footballing history," said Martin Lotti, Nike Football's Global Creative Director. The kits ooze classic style, inspired by England's long footballing history. Speaking further about the kit, Lotti added:

"Two references really stood out during the design process for the home kit - that stunning all-white kit England wore in Mexico in 1970 and the idea of the armour of English Knights," said Lotti.

"You can see subtle references to the armour in the pinstripe, which carries a hint of shine, and in the white satin tape on the shoulders. We wanted to add some small detail that echoed the glow of the armour worn by St. George."

The home kit is bright white with a V-neck that features a monochrome St. George's cross on the pennant tab. The shirt features subtle vertical pinstripes that run from top to bottom. The red change shirt features a crew neck and the same pinstripes running its length. Both shirts feature an oversized crest complete with three shimmering, royal blue lions that sparkle when they catch the light while the back of the shirt features a typeface designed by renowned typographer Neville Brody. The letter and numbering is clean, curvy, and sharp while carrying the pinstripe theme throughout to rival the look on the Dutch kits.

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Unfortunately for both Nike and England, much of the press surrounding the unveiling has not less about the clean look of the shirts and more about their retail price. It's no secret that for years, the price of shirts have steadily increased. Much like their adidas and Puma counterparts, Nike are offering two pricing levels for the shirt: a "stadium" (replica) or "match" (authentic) option.

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The stadium shirt goes for the now-standard £60 (roughly $100 after currency was converted or $90 if purchased from a US retailer. The limited match edition goes for £90 ($149.99 either way). It's the latter that caught the attention of fans, demanding an answer for the pricing decision. Guess what? The other manufacturers are charging the same prices on both front. Furthermore, no one is forcing fans to buy the more expensive option.

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The differences between the shirts? The authentic option features the laser-cut ventilation holes that the players will have on their match kits as well a similar fit. On the replica kit, the crest is woven whereas on the authentic, it is embroidered. The fabric is a slightly different, meshing cotton into the recycled polyester for comfort.

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The truth of the matter is that fans never really want to pay what the market demands. Nike have not priced the kit above the price that the market has found acceptable for the last few years but because the limited edition shirt's price was sensationalized right from the off, the fans' minds seem to be stuck on it.

Make no mistake about it, Nike's England kits are well designed but if clean (read: unobtrusive, not embellished for the sake of embellishment) shirts aren't your cup of tea, this pair of shirts won't be for you. And, you know what, if you don't think that the new kits are worth the cash, then simply don't spend it. No one is forcing you. Who knows, England may even make it to the round of 16 in the World Cup without your purchase.

The shirt is available for preorder now and will make its debut in late May when England take on Peru at Wembley.

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