Kit-Astrophes: An Embarrassment to the Flag

Nike’s run of kits in the mid ’00s , through to about the 2010 World Cup, was fairly solid, and turned out quite a few neo-classics.  Their first offerings for my favored club, Aston Villa, were exceptional takes on the classic claret and blue color scheme, with a subtle callback to the 1982 European Cup-winning side.

What most American readers will remember, though, are the run of kits Nike produced for the U.S. National teams.  These were fairly understated, classy designs that were topped by the 1950-style “modern throwbacks” of the 2010 World Cup:

Let the Balding Eagle Soar. . . (credit:

People who pay attention to these things, though, have noticed Nike start to come a little, shall we say, unglued over the last two years.  Rather than using the badgeless pre-70s as a reference point, like their subsidy Umbro, Nike have gone to the mad, technicolor 1990s as a reference for their club kits, as referenced by last year’s Man U away kit, this year’s zagged stripes of Barca and the dot-matrix Juve kit.

Unfortunately, the dream of the 90s has returned to the States, again. And not just in Portland.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! We look hideous!" (credit: Nike itself)

Now, this isn’t QUITE as bad as the seasick vertical stripes of USA’94, but MAN.  When you go from something as crisp and clean as the “ghost sash” kit of South Africa ’10 to this  monstrosity, it’s  juuuuuuust a bit of a shock.  But that’s not all. Apparently, in addition to the hoops, Nike basically took its previous American kit, turned it to 30 percent transparency, and dropped it over the top of the new design in photoshop.  To whit:

I guess it would have been halfway tolerable if it were just hoops, but this?  That’s like Man City’s transfer policy toward forwards.  Just way too much, and not artfully done, either.


7 responses to “Kit-Astrophes: An Embarrassment to the Flag

  1. The faux sleeveless one looks terrible. I never knew why we couldn’t do the sash in colors that made sense (white/red, blue/white, etc. And use an actual red, not a maroonish one). That said, I think these ones might grow on me. The shirts plus shorts and socks are better than the shirts by themselves…

  2. Yeah, I was going to say something about the “Blue Arsenal” numbers as well (which also, rather stupidly, include the tonal sash), but I figured the home kits gave me more than enough to work with. Also, totally agree with Arkie. The USMNT has been through so many design changes that there’s no true visual identity (which complements our utter lack of a footballing identity) like there is for Argentina, England, Spain, Italy, Brazil, or any other footballing nation for that matter.I’d love for the sash, ON ITS OWN, to take over, though I could also accept the vertical stripe/banded blue away from the 06 World Cup

  3. I’m surprised Kilnsi hasn’t tried to lobby for a switch to Addidas to be better complement ze Germans being brought in

  4. Has no one thought about the loveable OOH SAH fanatic who’s 5 ft 3 & 300 lbs when pulling out a hooped shirt? Think of the chil…uh, the big people!

  5. I’ll join the contrarian chorus and say that I actually love the hoops. Lots of vertical stripes on the international circuit, but not many hoops. Plus, it’s like…THE FLAG!!! If we kept it, I’d be cool with it. I’d also be cool if we kept the actual sash (contrast colors). Actually I’d be cool if we kept anything at this point. We all know Nike won’t because they want to chase more shirt purchases. But Argentina, England, Italy, Brazil, etc seem to do just fine on shirt sales with a signature design.

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