Tuesday, 15 June 2010

World Cup Kit Parade 2010: Nike

I like to think of the office where the Nike World Cup kit designers work as being divided into three sections, each labelled ‘Sane’, ‘Slightly Silly’ and ‘Monster Raving Loony’. When you’ve seen the kits they’ve come up with for this summer’s tournament, it’s easy to spot which kit was designed by which part of the office.

At the neat and stylish end of their product range you’ll find the understated cool stitched into every fibre of the home shirts worn by Brazil, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. A common theme on each is a single round-ended stripe in a contrasting colour running along the shoulders as it does down the sides of the shorts. A simple device which works a treat without being too showy.

If, however, you’re looking for something a little more daring, Nike won’t leave your desires unfulfilled. Both the Australia shirts (home and away) have a broad block of colour spanning the shoulders and sleeves, a thin second band of colour just below that and the rest of the shirt in the main third colour. Bold and uncomplicated, it hasn’t found favour with everybody – indeed one writer in The Guardian likened the home shirt to the sort of garb donned by an Aussie one-day cricketer.

Elsewhere, Nike’s Serbia home shirt has a white cross intersectioned over the right breast which scores points for originality, while Portugal’s home and away kit also set one foot beyond the boundaries of modest inoffensiveness.

The home strip is no longer all red for the first time in many a year and the shirt features a broad green band across the upper chest. The away shirt is all white and has a racy green and red double-stripe running down the centre from top to bottom.

But if that’s not extravagant enough for you, why not try the new Slovenia home and away shirts? Both look resplendent (if that’s the word I’m looking for) with a zig-zagging stripe spanning at mid-chest level. The white home shirt has a green zig-zag and the green away shirt has a white zig-zag. One can only guess whether the designer was an amateur mountaineer or perhaps a doctor that works with heart-rate charts. Strange...

All things considered then, Nike have provided something for everyone – normal kits, abnormal kits and something in-between, all of them well made and all likely to prove popular with fans around the world.

Coming soon: Part 3 - Puma and their off-the-shoulder numbers...

Our great thanks go to John Devlin from True Colours Football Kits (www.truecoloursfootballkits.com) for the use of his excellent football kit graphics. To see all of John's World Cup kit designs in greater detail, click here.)

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