There really is nothing better than an iconic kit. Throughout the annals of football history, the greatest names have donned some of the best football kits in history, wearing them while creating memories for millions across the globe to enjoy even decades on.
Indeed, think of the team you grew up supporting. Think of how deeply etched the image of that first strip you saw is in your mind. Think of the memories, the feelings it brings back into your mind while you go about daily life.
Clearly, it’s a personal preference and to some one iconic kit is a monstrosity to others. Still, there are some that stand apart from the rest. Some that are simply so universally adored that you can spot them from a mile away, no matter where you are in the world. So, here’s a look at the ten best kits in football history.
10 best football kits ever
The Argentina shirt looks heavy these days as Lionel Messi desperately tries to win an international trophy amid a backdrop of controversy following his initial decision to retire. Still, part of the reason why those who play for the Albiceleste is because of, well, largely one man’s heroics back in 1986.
Diego Maradona’s obsession with driving his country to the World Cup final in 1986 makes this football kits one of the best and most recognisable ever. The fact they won it is almost irrelevant. Given what a unique character Maradona was in the sport, this is the kit perhaps most synonymous with one man rather than a team more than we’ve ever seen.
— Leicester City Kit (@Leicestercityki) December 2, 2017
Back before football was so easily accessible, international tournaments were such a big occasion because audiences would be seeing players they’d never seen before up close and personal.
Naturally, kits would be marveled over, particularly Belgium’s in 1984. With red and black diamonds encrusted across the chest, it was a classy national shirt. Perhaps their current generation would be wise to launch a tribute to the shirt, given just how freakishly talented their squad is at the moment.
Not a regular delivery day 🤗
Belgium 🇧🇪 1984, issued to no. 1️⃣9️⃣ Raymond Mommens for the Euro ‘84 match against France (5-0 defeat).
One of the best 80s football kits IMO. pic.twitter.com/mUFlcIObR4
— RB | Classic Soccer Jerseys (@classicsoccerjs) December 7, 2020
Sticking with the World Cup theme, the sleeveless number Cameroon took to the 2002 edition of the tournament was copied in hundreds of playgrounds across the world.
It’s quite rare to see a team play in what is effectively a vest but, oh my, it was a seriously enjoyable novelty. Easily one of the best football kits this century so far.
🇨🇲 Cameroon’s 2002 sleeveless World Cup kit.
Why was this banned?! 🤦 pic.twitter.com/PMpJVr6wRG
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) September 21, 2020
Long before kits were used as marketing tools, Ajax’s simple plain white shirt with one giant red stripe down the middle was the epitome of sophistication.
Known as the thinking man’s football team at the time, I dread to think how many hipsters owned one at great expense back in the 1970s. Still, cynicism aside, it really is quite the look.
France Football have ranked their Top 50 most iconic kits of all-time…
Their Top 5:
1st: Ajax (1971-73)
2nd: Saint Etienne (1975-77)
3rd: Netherlands (1974)
4th: Brazil (1970)
5th: Boca Juniors (1981)
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 7, 2020
No matter how badly things are going on the pitch, you can rarely accuse Arsenal of looking scruffy while they’re stinking out the place. While there have been some awful Premier League kits over the years, Arsenal has regularly been stylish.
That was never more true than back in 1991 when their away kit seemed retro even back then. The yellow and black jagged lines spoke of a team who took pride in their appearance as they established themselves as the top dogs in North London.
The Bruised Banana in all it’s glory.
1991-93 Arsenal Away full kit by Adidas.
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) February 2, 2021
While Italian football has always been stylish, the 1990s were a glorious period for Calcio. The major league in world football, Serie A housed the best players in the world and Sampdoria’s team at the start of the decade boasted two glorious forwards in Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli, plus one of the greatest football kits ever.
Winning the league title ahead of their most prestigious divisional rivals, this kit allowed them to look cool doing it too.
Shirt: Sampdoria Home Shirt
Bought from: @ShirtKingSOE
— Andrew Savory (@adsavory) March 1, 2020
Boca Juniors (1981)
Another strip Diego Maradona wore during his eventful career, the Boca Juniors kit in the early 1980s was deliciously simple.
The navy background. The yellow trim. The ridiculously talented Number 10 who made himself a God in Buenos Aries despite playing there for only one season while at the height of his powers.
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) September 29, 2017
Ah, back before Michel Platini had disgraced himself as a FIFA employee.
With the French hosting the 1984 European Championships, the pressure was on a country so synonymous with art and design to, not only perform on the pitch, but to simply look better than pretty much everyone else. Luckily – in this kit with that man – they were able to do both.
Classic kits. #2 France 1984. What a kit. What a team. The stripes & red band with the trefoil & classic rooster badge – c’est magnifique! pic.twitter.com/yjaHqOesMF
— Culture of Football Classics (@CFclassics) July 18, 2017
It’s quite hard to get a Lazio kit wrong given their favourable light blue and white colours but, over the years, we’ve certainly seen designers drop the ball.
Not in 1982, however. This iconic kit might not have been draped over the shoulders of title winners but what a look the mix of baby blue, white and navy gave them back in the day.
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) September 29, 2017
Ok, so it’s a little obvious, but come on, this is the perfect football kit and no list of the best football kits ever would be complete without it. Simple design? Check. Iconic players? Check. World Cup winning team? Check.
The Selecao are a legendary football team thanks in no small part to the heroes of the 1970 team who blew the world apart draped in a truly amazing kit, helping craft the legend that is still with us today.
The iconic Brazil kit from 1970 worn in their World Cup win pic.twitter.com/OX19JoGjhy
— Fresh Football Kits (@freshfootiekits) July 11, 2016
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