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12 kits from last season that became instant classics – and you can now grab on the cheap

Juventus shirt
(Image credit: PA)

Some designs are just timeless, aren’t they? The England away shirt from 1990 that New Order wore in the World In Motion video. The Barcelona kit from their centenary season. The Netherlands ‘88 top that Van Basten wore when he walloped that volley.

You might not realise it now but a number of kits from last season may have become firm favourites that you’ll refer back to in years to come. Come 2050, you’ll be telling your grandkids how they don’t make football shirts like they used to; perhaps the likes of Paris Saint-Germain will re-release retro shirts from the 2020s.

For our money, there are a few kits last season which became instant classics. And the best news? They’re much cheaper to buy online now.

Arsenal away

Arsenal's bruised banana shirt from the early '90s was never a unanimous favourite among fans - the garish black and yellow divided opinion among Gooners. The update to the classic away shirt, however, has been universally accepted into Gunners folklore. 

As much as the refresh was about updating the iconic design for 21st-century tastes, there was a lot of research about other elements that could be included; did you know that the pattern is designed to resemble the lightning bolt taken from the crest displayed on the facade of the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse, for example? 

NEW PREMIER LEAGUE KITS 2020/21: Every released home and away shirt so far

Adidas aren’t the first to be influenced by that either - since Nike brought in the bolt for a blue away kit in 1994.

It’s perhaps sensible that Adidas have distanced themselves from a yellow kit this season after last year’s superb efforts. Arsenal will wear white with a marbled red pattern away in 2020/21.

Buy the Arsenal away shirt with 25% off here

Italy 'Renaissance' kit

In 1954, Italy donned a ‘Maglia Verde’ - or green jersey - at the Stadio Olimpico against Argentina. It made sense at the time, considering that the Argentinians could only have worn sky blue or white, and there would have been a clash.

Italy playing in a deep green never caught on with the senior side. The Azzurri’s youth sides have gone on to wear the shade often, however, so when a new dawn beckoned for Italy last season, with a dozen or so young talents all coming through the international side at once, Puma decided to bring back this classic shirt for the Euro 2020 qualifiers. 

Complete with Renaissance-inspired graphics and a retro collar, this shirt is an absolute beauty. It may not have pleased the purists who weren’t happy with Italy deviating from blue, but it’s become a much-loved piece of design with neutrals. 

Buy the Italy Renaissance shirt from 2019/20 here

Paris Saint-Germain third

Paris Saint-Germain are Nike’s no.1 clients. For the French champions’ 30th anniversary of working with the manufacturer, Nike brought back the away shirt from 1989/90, making the new kit as true to the original as possible. 

Incorporating the Nike Futura logo and a jacquard pattern rising from the fabric, this particularly simple design used a number of retro touches without looking too busy. It was so good in fact that it informed the decision that Nike would go in for other clubs: each of their teams got a Futura logo last season, while the third kits they produced all harked back to club culture. Tottenham’s blue alternate top, for example, had the new stadium’s pattern embellished on it, while Barcelona’s aqua green shirt incorporated the diamond shape of the club’s first crest.

Ultimately, the PSG one stood out best. It’s a crying shame that the season ended early in Ligue 1, preventing fans from seeing this one in the flesh a little more.

Buy the PSG third shirt from 2019/20 here

Cambridge United away

Fans don’t often know what they’re talking about, let’s face it. So when Cambridge United put their away shirt last season to a vote, the players must have been holding their breath as to what the Amber Army would plump for.

The 1993/94 away shirt was chosen by a clear margin. Manufacturer Hummel proceeded to rework the classic design into a more modern style, bumping the vibrance up and subtly working their iconic chevrons onto the sleeves. The final result is a blue and white masterpiece that falls halfway between a Mondrian painting and a watercolour. 

One of the standout shirts of the lower leagues last season, this kit was wildly popular with fans. With Hummel working with Everton this season, Toffees fans may well be petitioning for something equally as classy for their threads. 

Buy the Cambridge United away shirt from 2019/20 here

England Women's away

England’s kits last summer were the first instance of Nike designing shirts specifically with the Lionesses in mind. While the home kit looked little more than a fresh update on the 2018 World Cup template though, the away kit was a unique, lush design that shattered all expectation.

The away shirt incorporated a beautiful flower pattern across the front - in four subtle panels, alluding to the cross of St. George on the 2018 shirt - but wasn’t simply a rose, as many suspected. According to Cassie Looker, Nike Women’s Football Apparel Lead, “The common poppy, primrose, rosebay willowherb, wood anemone, spring gentian, Nottingham catchfly and traditional rose intermingle with the hop to form a floral pattern that represents the entire country.”

As well as a shirt that represented everyone, Nike opted for a darker red than they’d ever gone for before. This kit was fantastically received by fans and such a deep, Portugal-esque shade could well provide the template for the women’s kits in the future. 

Buy the England women’s away shirt for half price here

Barcelona fourth

Barcelona opted for a classic yellow jersey for their away last season, drawing inspiration from their 1979 change strip in celebration of La Masia’s founding. To coincide with the club’s 120th anniversary, however, Barca went a step further, introducing a fourth shirt for big games. 

The Senyera shirt was inspired by the Catalan flag with typically arty paint strokes across the front. A straightforward design that takes nothing away from the original, it’s perhaps paved the way for Nike to bring out new versions of already-established kits that their clubs are using.

The kit looks beautiful and will go down as one of Barça’s nicest away shirts for years - especially given that it’s off-template for Nike. Who knows what the manufacturer have planned for the 125th anniversary?

Buy the Barcelona fourth shirt from 2019/20 here

Liverpool away

Simply by default of Liverpool winning the Premier League, the shirts that the Reds conquered England in should go down in history as fan favourites. After two hugely popular home shirts from New Balance though, the jury was out on the pinstriped red kit, while the third shirt drew criticism, too.

The away shirt though is a top worthy of a champion last season or any other. With delicate patterning on the white base and vibrant red flashes on the sleeves, this was a kit that felt incredibly minimal, yet the navy logos and shorts felt like a nice break from the usual grey and black that the Reds usually pair with white. 

It’s difficult to come up with a genuinely impressive white football shirt, but New Balance really excelled on this one. It’s fitting that it’s gone down in history as the league-winning away shirt.

Buy the Liverpool away shirt from 2019/20 here

Kaizer Chiefs home

During the 2010s, we hit an impasse of sorts with football kit designs, as minimalism was taken to new levels of boring. Luckily, that trend is well and truly dead in South Africa. 

For the Kaizer Chiefs’ 50th anniversary shirts, Nike decided to put a spin on the 2012/13 home shirts, with a mesmerising, optical illusion-style pattern. The shirts looked fantastic, a world away from some of the identikit styles that have been churned out in recent years. This is a style that it’s likely the Kaizers will return to in years to come.

How will fans react if Nike don’t manage to top last season’s efforts? We predict a riot… 

Buy the Kaizer Chiefs home shirt from 2019/20 here

Lille home

Lille aren’t the biggest club in France, but they’re most certainly a hipster’s favourite; the side where Nicolas Pepe made his name, where Jose Fonte is winding down, where George Weah’s American son Timothy plies his trade. 

Last season, Les Dogues wore a stunning New Balance home shirt that featured a beautiful red, white and blue graphic. Said to be influenced by “the raw and creative energy that comes from Lille street art”, the shirt immediately captured the attention of fans in Ligue 1 and was on show when Chelsea faced them in the Champions League last term. 

“These kits are so different to what we have seen before,” Fonte himself said. It’s a shame really that Lille launched all three shirts together, instead of giving this one a proper big release like it deserved.

Buy the Lille home shirt from 2019/20 here

Inter Milan away

Inter Milan may well have the most iconic shirts in football, you know. Associated with Ronaldo, a world-class sponsor in Pirelli, a hit colour combination in blue and black, with options of an iconic grey/blue change strip or classic white. There’s a reason that they’re based in the fashion capital of Europe. 

While plenty of clubs have gone with mint green or aqua for change strips in the past, Inter knocked everyone else out of the park last season with a superb effort. Their black shirt was classy, but this particular number is one that has staying power. It was extremely popular with Inter fans and neutrals alike and may well be revisited for future kits.

After finishing a point behind Juventus, I Nerrazurri couldn’t quite write this kit into history. Still, it’ll be remembered for an excellent campaign and an even better design. 

Buy the Inter Milan away shirt from 2019/20 here

Chelsea third

All three of Chelsea’s kits last season were excellent. The Stamford Bridge-patterned home shirt was loud enough without being garish, while the away shirt was a classy white that could appeal to the burgeoning US audience. It’s all about the third kit though, really, right?

The beautiful collar was what grabbed the headlines but all over, this shirt looked fit for a king. The black base was adorned with a retro “CFC” pattern and the splashes of white and orange on the shirt gave it a flashiness without overstepping the mark into something far too over-the-top.

“You can see the ’90s influence in fashion at the moment, and I think the kit will appeal to pretty much everyone,” Blues star Mason Mount perhaps summed up best. “Younger fans will like that it has a streetwear vibe and older fans will appreciate the sentimentality, remembering club legends who donned the famous jersey and their memories of going to games.”

Buy the Chelsea third shirt from 2019/20 here

Juventus Adidas/Palace home

Juventus’s half-and-half shirt last season received mixed reviews from fans. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait a whole year to see them back in their classic monochromatic stripes, thanks to an unlikely mid-season collaboration with a London streetwear designer.

Rumoured for months, the Palace x Adidas collaboration brought about a beautiful range of gear including white tracksuits and training tops with patterns that resembled Adidas’s mid-00s efforts. The piece de resistance, however, was that that home shirt, with green and orange touches and a halftone fade on the stripes of the kit itself. 

This is unlikely to be the only link-up of its kind. Be prepared to see more fashion crossovers in the coming months and years - this kit could well become the trendsetter on that front.

Buy the Juventus Adidas/Palace shirt from 2019/20 here

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