One of the most unique aspects of soccer is that a team gets to make a new image of itself when they release new jerseys or “kits” each season. In recognition of that, we have decided to give our honest and subjective opinions on the best and worst that the top European leagues have to offer this year.
We looked at the kits of all the teams in England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany’s Bundesliga and selected five of the best and worst they will take the field in this year. The categories for judgement are:
- Best Overall Team Kit: The team we felt had the best combination of home, away, and third kits
- Worst Overall Team Kit: The team we felt could have brought their home, away, and third kits back to the drawing board
- Most Boring Overall Team Kit: The team that needed more inspiration when creating their home, away and third kits
- Best Individual Kit: We chose the one kit that was the most strikingly beautiful, amazing, and awesome throughout the entire league
- Worst Individual Kit: After looking at all of the kits, these were the ones we think will be finding the clearance rack soon
We also decided to prevent teams from being placed in similar categories. For example, if a team was selected as the Worst Overall Kit, they could not be represented in the Worst Individual Kit. The same goest for Best Overall and Best Individual. However, as we will see later in this list, we allowed for a team to be selected for the Best and Worst Individual Kits if we felt they were merited.
Before we begin, all photos were taken from footyheadlines.com, one of the best websites for soccer jersey leaks and releases.
With that, we start our list in England.
English Premier League
This was apparently the year that Premier League kit makers decided to be experimental. Some kits worked well, others crashed and burned in glorious fashion.
Best Overall Team Kit: Everton
These kits are clean, bold, and inoffensive. The home kit is traditional with great subtle design details. The away kit features an amazing shade of yellow. The third kit is a shade of mint that we don’t love, but unlike a certain German team’s mint kit, the accents are subtle. A great result for Everton here from Hummel.
Honorable Mentions: Southampton, Manchester City, Arsenal
Worst Overall Team Kit: West Bromwich Albion
The home kit isn’t bad at all. In fact, the bar code stripes have been worn by West Brom before with good results. The problem really lies in the away and third kits. Not only does the same pattern in the home kit continue to the other two, but the colors are terrible. The away kit directly rips off a fellow English team in Norwich City and the third kit causes me such intense headaches that I can’t look at it for too long. Why Puma?
Honorable Mentions: Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle United
Most Boring Team Kit: Fulham
Simply put, all three of these kits look like they were Adidas templates you would use when you’re making jerseys for your rec league team. Add on the fact that the third kit was their same last year and these kits look like the epitome of laziness.
Honorable Mentions: Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Ham United
Best Individual Kit: Manchester City away
This thing is beautiful. Shades of blue in the gothic cathedral design on the shirt play nicely with the black base of the shirt. The bronze accents and bronze monochrome badge really make this kit the beauty that it is. Man City went in three bold directions with all of their kits, but this one totally payed off. Maybe the best Puma kit for the year.
Honorable Mentions: Southampton third, Leeds United away
Worst Individual Kit: Manchester United third
Do I really need to explain this one? The same design is on the shorts too. Yikes Adidas.
Honorable Mentions: Chelsea third, Liverpool third, Newcastle third
The top flight of Spain brought a lot to the table with many impressive kits. Some stood out like a sore thumb, but most of these were fantastic.
Best Overall Team Kit: SD Huesca
A quality kit collection should be balanced, clean and varied. Huesca nailed all three with their range for the 20/21 La Liga season. Choosing a soft color for the cross in the home kit allows it to complement, not contrast with, the deep yet sparkling blue. The away is simple and all white, but it’s cohesive and has an understated topographical design element giving it dimension. The third is quite simply a green and gold accented stunner. The zig-zag design element makes it look flowing and royal. You either play a sport as beautiful as football in it, or you clap twice to have peasants carry you on a golden pillow to a goblet filled with peeled grapes. No in between. I’m shocked Kelme produced our winners, but they deserve it.
Honorable Mentions: Deportivo Alaves, Eibar, Valencia
Worst Overall Team Kit: Real Madrid
This requires some defense as Real is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The home and away kits suffer from the same problems. They both just look like white and pink t-shirts with as minimal design as possible. A lack of design on the shoulders and sleeves hurt this kit. On top of those two, the third kit features a design that doesn’t make sense for Real Madrid and failed to impress the two of us. Better luck next year, adidas.
Honorable Mentions: Celta Vigo, Sevilla
Most Boring Overall Kit: Getafe
It’s the same shirt, three times, in three basic and flat colors: blue, red and white. As a consummate procrastinator, I know ‘Whew, at least I made the deadline’ when I see it. Do better Joma.
Honorable Mentions: Celta Vigo, Osasuna
Best Individual Kit: Cadiz away
Full disclosure: I would place Huesca’s third kit here but we are trying to be fair. Having admitted that, Adidas’ design on Cadiz’s away shirt is not far beneath Huesca’s third shirt. It’s not as opulent, but it would still feel good to pull on ahead of a match. It has a wonderful use of an accent color, which is a vivid and perfect shade of yellow that contrasts well with its blues. I typically dislike plain gradients (see: Chelsea’s third shirt), but the upward stripes are actually design elements that merge to create a gradient effect. Up close they are unique and interesting, and that continues to the crest, which is outlined in yellow and filled-in with a pearlescence that shifts from blue to a soft pink or almost purple depending on the angle and available light.
Honorable Mentions: Barcelona away, Eibar away, Valencia away
Worst Individual Kit: Granada third
This is just ugly fam. It doesn’t deserve the classical collar it has, the glowing aquamarine is framed by flat yellow sleeves, the sponsor is a big red ‘W’ and the crest and Nike logo are blacked out. It’s a confusing mess of a shirt and I hate it, so I’m going to show mercy and stop typing so that you can scroll down.
Honorable Mentions: Barcelona third, Villareal third
A league in a country that is well known for its fashion produced some amazing kits. Unlike the other leagues, only two teams were in the running for worst overall team kit. But, the loser is a big one.
Best Overall Team Kit: Genoa
Genoa’s kits this season are as good as Genoa kits get. They have a set style and Kappa didn’t deviate, but this year I think they hit the pinnacle of what they’re capable of. The home is perfectly balanced and has understated design elements to give it depth. The away is just as balanced and looks especially clean on an all white backdrop. The third is the beauty of the bunch. I love how the logo and crest treatments make them a cohesive part of the shirt, and the subtle red in the collar accents the red piping down the sides. The prominent design on the shirt is balanced by deep colors, giving it depth and making it interesting even though it’s simple.
Honorable Mentions: AC Milan, Atalanta, Fiorentina
Worst Overall Team Kit: Juventus
I don’t know what Juventus is doing with any of these. There’s no cohesion in any of them and two of them look like they were designed by children at the height of a sugar rush. WHAT IF THE STRIPES WERE LIKE TIRE MARKS INSTEAD OF STRIPES JUST LIKE SKKKKKRRRRRR! WHAT IF IT WAS LIKE ORANGE CAMO BUT NOT REALLY ORANGE CAMO BUT LIKE IT LIKE JUST BSH YA BRRRSHHHHS ALL OVER! Go to your room, Adidas.
Honorable Mention: Sampdoria
Most Boring Team Kit: Spezia
The benefit of looking at these shirts is that they will make you infinitely interested in something else just to make sure you don’t accidentally slip into a coma. ONLY MALE PLATYPUSES ARE VENOMOUS — whew, thought we almost lost you there.
Honorable Mentions: Hellas Verona, Torino
Best Individual Kit: Roma away
I feel things looking at this shirt. The primary thing is an appreciation for life and the possibility that it could be beautiful. This shirt is a reminder, or more accurately a refresher. It can exist, it can be endlessly beautiful, and that must mean that not everything is terrible. The cream with deep burgundy accents, the throwback wolf crest, the retro styling; it is a perfect shirt and Nike’s best of the year.
Honorable Mentions: Atalanta away, Inter Milan third, Genoa third
Worst Individual Kit: Roma third
Nike, continuing their quest to be the most confusing kit manufacturer, made two stunning shirts (one an immediate classic) and then decided that they would build the third shirt using construction paper. It makes no sense, it’s overly complicated, poorly designed, and has what looks like asphalt pouring from the armpits. I almost respect Nike’s commitment to ensuring that their expectations are never set too high. Every now and then you gotta fart at the dinner table just so everyone is reminded that you do not, in fact, have your life together. Correct, this shirt is a fart.
Honorable Mentions: Inter Milan away, Napoli home, Sampdoria goalkeeper
One of us writes for a Bundesliga team blog. So, when we say we were underwhelmed by the offerings from the German top flight, we really mean it.
Best Overall Team Kit: 1. FC Union Berlin
There weren’t many dazzling kits this year in the Bundesliga, but this one stood out for all the right reasons. The collar and sleeve stripes on the home kit are perfect. The lines on the away kit are a great color of blue. The third kit uses that same shade of blue plus some awesome design elements that help Adidas knock these kits out of the park.
Honorable Mentions: 1. FSV Mainz, Armenia Bielefeld, Borussia Mönchengladbach
Worst Overall Team Kit: RB Leipzig
We both realize what Nike was trying to do when they announced the third kits of a bunch of teams (see Juventus, Roma, PSG, Spurs, Chelsea) would take inspiration from old Nike Air Max shoes to show the connection between streetwear and football culture. The design they used on the third kit for RB Leipzig should have stayed on a pair of shoes. It is ugly to look at and I almost feel like there’s an optical illusion I should be finding. The away kit has two (2) different shades of yellow with the club crest and Nike logo being darker than the bulls on the front of the shirt. A boring, uninspired home kit wraps up this nightmare.
Honorable Mentions: SC Freiburg, Bayern Munich
Most Boring Team Kit: FC Augsburg
Huh? Did something happen?
Alright, I know that Augsburg’s traditional kit structure is white home kit, green away kit, red third kit. But did they have to be so boring about it? Three radically different collar designs don’t help these shirts and Augsburg should think long and hard about what they’ve done.
Honorable Mentions: Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg
Best Individual Kit: VfB Stuttgart away
Jako kits don’t often get a lot of love outside of Germany. But gaaaaawd these are sick. The monochrome badge plays really well with the intricate design of the map of the city of Stuttgart on the kit. They also apparently aligned the map in a way so that the middle of the stadium was under the crest. Lots of points for creativity and a fun look.
Honorable Mentions: Borussia Dortmund home
Worst Individual Kit: 1. FC Köln third kit
To the average fan, this is a garish kit. However, for Köln fans, it’s a throwback to a classic shirt known as the “canary kit”.
However, unlike the effort from Puma in the 90s, this uhlsport kit has un-subtle and blocky stripes that truly ruin any good things coming for it. This reminds me more of something I’d be wearing on the 20th of April rather than what I’d wear to a football match.
Honorable Mentions: Bayern Munich third, VfL Wolfsburg third, RB Leipzig third
So these are our rankings. This is the way.
However, we know the conversation doesn’t end here. Let us know your thoughts and feelings in the comments.