With its association with warm weather, cup finals and far-flung tournaments, football in summer has a special feeling.
Whether or not you’re celebrating a famous victory or not, though, you can still show your colours during the summer months.
we’ve compiled some of the best football jersey in history, from cult classics to bestsellers to less well known kits from across the world.
England 1990 Third Kit
Italia ‘90 is remembered as one of the best tournaments, and that was especially true for England fans. A young Gazza had the world at his feet and helped inspire England to their first World Cup semi-finals since the glory of 1966. Arguably the main success story, though, was New Order’s World in Motion, which had arrived just before the tournament started and featured the now-iconic rap from John Barnes
Throughout the video, New Order frontman Bernard Sumner wore England’s light blue third shirt. The jersey’s tonal diamond pattern and musical heritage cemented it as a cult classic, even if the England team rarely wore it.
Ajax 2021-22 Third Kit
At the start of the 2021/22 season, Ajax and adidas decided to celebrate one of the club’s anthems, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. While it might seem like an incongruous choice, the song has been associated with Ajax since 2008, when it was played by a Cardiff City DJ after a friendly.
Designed to honour the fans’ enthusiasm for the song, Ajax released a black kit complete with Jamaica-inspired red, yellow and green detailing. Finishing off the design were three little birds on the back of the neck. Although UEFA forced Ajax to remove the three bird motif, the shirt still sold out almost instantly.
Nigeria 2018 Home Kit
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, there was one kit that everyone was talking about. Nigeria’s shirt for the tournament featured a zig zag pattern in light green and white across the chest, with a black and white version on the sleeves. Unsurprisingly, the shirt broke records – making it difficult to find nowadays – with 3 million pre-orders and a long queue outside Nike’s London store.
Nike clearly knew they were onto a winner and continued to reissue the shirt over the coming months and years. The brand even carried the design onto boots and trainers, while the shirt was also nominated for the Beazley Design of the Year award.
Venezia 2021-22 Away Kit
Described as the “world’s coolest club,” Italian team Venezia launched their 2021/22 away kit to widespread praise before the last season. The design pays tribute to the city of Venice with a repeated triangle pattern inspired by the city’s tile mosaics.
The stand-out feature of the shirt, though, was the gradient-effect across the shirt. With a cream base acting as an understated background, the triangle motif shifted between Venezia’s orange, black and green colours as it moved across the shirt. Bellissimo.
Arsenal 1991-92 Away Shirt
Nowadays best known as the “Bruised Banana,” Arsenal’s early ‘90s away kit is rightly the stuff of legend. The kit – complete with a black and yellow chevron design, red detailing and the adidas Originals Trefoil – was worn by the club from 1991 until 1993.
Despite Ian Wright’s admission that he and the players hated the kit at first, it went on to be a fan favourite. Arsenal and adidas updated the kit for 2019/20’s away shirt, before finally rereleasing the original design in all its glory at the end of 2019.
Netherlands 1988 Home Shirt
The late '80s were when international kits really became interesting. Gone were the days of staid solid colours, and in their place came a range of experimental patterns and combinations. Obviously not all of them were successful, but the Dutch kit for the 1988 Euros is still one of the all-time best.
The iconic orange remained, but this time it was designed in an all-over tonal pattern, with lighter sections across the shirt to form a series of arrows. The design was finished with a V neck collar and the adidas Trefoil logo, helping to certify it as one of the best ever.
Marseille 1991-92 Home Shirt
In the early ‘90s, Olympique Marseille were the dominant force in French football. They’d begun the decade on a run of four consecutive Ligue 1 wins and an appearance in the Champions League final. For the last of those four league triumphs, the club wore one of Europe’s all-time great kits.
Arriving in OM’s signature white and sky blue, the shirt was best known for the giant adidas three stripes that reached across one shoulder. Combine that with a team that mixed the youth of Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps, the goals of Jean-Pierre Papin and the flair of Chris Waddle, and Marseille were on to a winner.
England Euro 2022 Home Shirt
The major footballing event of this summer is Euro 2022, so its a fitting time to show your support. While a number of teams have great kits for the tournament, a stand-out is England’s home shirt.
The host nation’s all white kits are an iconic part of any international tournament, but the Euro 2022 design features a range of subtle improvements. First of all there’s a special knit pattern, intended to replicate the angular lines of cut diamonds, and the jersey is finished with a selection range of iridescent pearl-inspired detailing.
AC Milan 1988-89 Home Shirt
AC Milan’s kit for the 1988/89 season didn’t differ too much from the Rossoneri’s signature design, but the shirt is a connoisseur’s classic. The red and black stripes that give the club its nickname were worn by one of the great AC Milan teams, featuring Ancelotti, Maldini, Baresi, Van Basten, Gullit and more.
It’s hard to say what makes it such an iconic jersey, but the smart collar acts as a nice counterpoint to the black and red stripes. Even the all-white Mediolanum sponsor logo adds to the kit’s design.
Denmark 1986 Home Shirt
Denmark have been the proud wearers of some of Europe’s better international kits – the 1992 Euros-winning shirt in particular – but there aren’t many that come close to the 1986 design. Worn for the country’s first-ever World Cup appearance, the kit was designed by Denmark-based Hummel and put a slight twist on the classic red and white colours.
Featuring a half-and-half design, the shirt featured one solid red section set against a red and white pinstripe half. The same approach continued onto the sleeves, which were situated in the opposite order, while the design was finished with Hummel’s chevrons and a navy-trimmed V neck collar.
FC Tokyo 2022 Away Shirt
FC Tokyo are one of the newer names in the New Balance roster, and the J-League team’s kits have garnered a cult following. For the 2022 season – currently underway – New Balance and FC Tokyo stuck true to the team’s red and blue colour palette, even with an away kit that put its own spin on the traditional colours.
Featuring a white base, the shirt is adorned with thin horizontal stripes that mix the red and blue. The shirt is then finished with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” on the inside collar.
France 1998 Home Shirt
As the kit that France wore to claim their first World Cup – and on home soil no less – the 1998 kit was always going to be popular. As well as because of what Zidane et al did in the shirt, its popularity is also partly due to its design. The predominantly jersey incorporates the colours of France’s tricolor with red and white horizontal stripes, offering a new take on the traditional colours.
The 1998 victory resonated far beyond just football, with the multicultural French team helping to unify the country with its run to the trophy. This kit is symbolic of what that team and that World Cup meant.
FC Saint Pauli 2021-22 Home Shirt
In 2021, German club St. Pauli took control of its own shirt manufacturing and launched Di!Y to handle the process. Described as a “ultra fair sportswear” the Di!Y line encapsulates the St. Pauli punk spirit that has made it a cult club across the world.
For the 2021-22 season, the club stepped out in their signature brown, which was offset by very fine white and red pinstripes. Finishing off the shirt is a single button closing and the punk-inspired Di!Y logo.
Jamaica 2021-22 Away Shirt
Whereas Umbro stuck with Jamaica’s classic yellow for the home shirt, the away shirt was a bold reinterpretation of the national colours. The jersey featured an all-over pattern, integrating the black, green and gold colours, and sitting alongside a split green and yellow crewneck collar.
The shirt’s detailing also helps it stand out, with a subtle green trim on the sleeves and, in bright yellow, the team’s “Reggae Boyz” nickname on the neck.
Barcelona 1999-2000 Home Shirt
Barcelona's Blaugrana stripes are famous the world over, but in the late '90s the Catalan club revisited the design for a special-edition kit. Marking the club’s centenary year, the kit eschewed stripes altogether and replaced them with a half-and-half blue and red design.
The kit’s design was finished with gold detailing – reading 1899 and 1999 either side of the central badge – and dark blue collar and sleeves. This kit also launched in Barcelona’s pre-sponsor halcyon days and coincided with Rivaldo’s Ballon d’Or win. No wonder it's an all-time classic.
West Germany 1988 Home Shirt
The best West Germany kit was also the last West Germany kit, being worn through the late 1980s until the 1990 World Cup and the country’s reunification. While its design keeps the team’s black and white colours intact, it's the Bauhaus-style flag running across the chest that made the kit stand out.
Even now, more than 30 years since it was launched, the kit remains popular, although the less said about Germany’s 1991 away shirt – which mixed a green background with the same flag graphic – the better. An updated version of the graphic also returned for the 2018 World Cup, although its black and white design never lived up to its predecessor.
Juventus 2015-16 Away Shirt
Drake’s famous appearance in Juventus’ pink away shirt saw the design cross over fully into the fashion world. It’s still not clear if Drake wore the shirt because he’s a fan of the Old Lady, or if it was purely due to the shirt’s design.
In the long history of football kits, pink has been a rarely used colour, and its appearance on Juventus’ away kit back in 2015 destined the shirt for modern-classic status. Even the massive “JEEP” logo in the middle somehow added to the shirt’s appeal.
Belgium Euro 2022 Away Shirt
Another banger from Euro 2022 is Belgium’s bright yellow away shirt. The shirt’s colour makes it look instantly summery – as opposed to the all black home shirt – while the subtle detailing used helps to elevate the design.
The yellow shirt is interrupted by a repeated tonal pattern across the front, as well as black adidas branding along the sleeves and on the chest. The real highlight, though, is the Belgium crest, arriving as an all black outline.
Parma 1999-2000 Home Shirt
Yellow and blue stripes, a big Champion logo, Hernan Crespo’s long hair. Parma’s 1999-2000 home shirt had it all. The Champion C also carried on along the sleeves, complementing the shirt’s dark single-button collar and massive lower-case Parmalat sponsor.
The shirt also marked the dying days of Parma’s glory years. Within four years, Parma would be stuck in insolvency and a slow descent through the Italian leagues followed. But still, the club will always have some of the best kits of the era.
Fluminense 2022 Home Shirt
Brazilian club Fluminense is blessed with one of world football’s most unique colour combinations, making every kit an eye-catching choice. The shirts always mix green and dark red (officially described as “Garnet”) with thinner white stripes, and the colour combination works to give all kits a retro-inspired look.
The 2022 home shirt was finished with the club’s crest – in the same colours – as well as an Umbro logo, white collar and stripes along the shoulders. Marking the club’s 120th anniversary, a little hit of silver celebrates the milestone.
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia