We present out 10 best football kits in World Cup history spanning 66-18, showcasing the most aesthetically pleasing designs that international football has ever seen.
10- France 2018
This year’s crop of kits has brought us a fresh offering on some established styles from Nike, adidas, Puma and New Balance amongst others. Taking a contemporary fashion slant to the always popular France national, Nike has updated their template for the tournament to include a simple henley button collar and a tonal gradient to the sleeves, plus a plethora of France specific embellishments to represent their heritage. Their breton stripe training kit is also worth applause for its quintessentially French display. We’re steps closer to an APC x FFA, we guarantee it.
9- Japan 2018
It’s only fitting that the forward-thinking fashion facilitators in the world are provided with one the most unique offerings of the current world cup. The nation that brought us Comme des Garçons and Edwin amongst others has developed an eye-catching kit consisting of a denim colour base and consistent spots flecked throughout the kit, inspired by traditional Japanese samurai warrior armour. Whilst other nations pay homage to their footballing heritage in the form of their kits, Japan is referencing their warriors of premodern Japan. On top of that, they’ve placed their traditional FA badge on the breast, with an embroidered flag above.
8- Netherlands 1974
Displaying a nice shade of oranje across their kits, the peak of Holland’s footballing capabilities also saw them peak in the kit department, decking the legendary Johan Cruyff and his men in a simple orange long sleeve with black accents. Presenting their coat of arms loud and proud, the details are sparse other than the 3 stripes of adidas seen on everyone but captain Cruyff, who famously shed his strip of one of the 3 stripes thanks to his then deal with fierce rivals Puma.
7- USA 2010
Although their showings at FIFA tournaments haven’t been up to scratch, the bold and brash stars and stripes have always provided us with competition in the form of their red, white and blue kits. Their away kit offering in 2010 finally placed them at the forefront of the football world for everything but their ‘soccer’ ability. Taking cues from Polo Ralph Lauren in their sporty yet preppy look, the kit displays a vibrant sash to the frontal area, a fitting design for the world leaders in pageantry.
6- Soviet Union 1966
2018’s hosts and its former collection of states made a splash in the 1966 World Cup. Refusing outright to wear the Umbro sponsored kits of the tournament, the CCCP took their first outing in their red kits at Roker Park to beat former world champions Italy 1-0. Aided by Ballon d’Or winning goalkeeper Lev ‘Black Spider’ Yashin, decked out in his token all black outfit, it was a stylish and ultimately entertaining affair.
5- Argentina 1986
Argentina may be associated with a lot more than just kits in this incredible year for football, but dodgy replacement quarter-final kits and goals aside, 1986 introduced the world to the quintessential light blue and white jersey donned by the legendary footballing bad boy Diego Maradona. Decking the humble cotton offering with the Argentine FAs emblem and clean crew neck, it was the simple yet effective kit that lent them a cool air whilst going all the way. Kurt Cobain had his Converse, Slash his top hat, Freddie Mercury his moustache, Diego Maradona had the best iteration of the Argentine kit of all time. Of. All. time.
4- Denmark 1986
Another favourite from 86 comes in the form of unusual contribution from Hummel and Denmark. Commonly known as the brand who ruin football kits for bad teams, it was a perfect design spark at the right time for a thriving Danish team aided by superstar Michael Laudrup. A red and white affair with contrasting pinstriped panels and chevrons down the sleeves, it was a statement of intent from a country looking to make waves with a generational bunch of talent. Although they may not have come close to winning, they won our hearts with this wholly unique style.
3- Peru 1978
2018 has seen kit designs ramped up with homages to past football heritage of all qualified teams. In the case of Peru, their current kits are a wild throwback to one of the most unique and cleanest displays in football fashion. One of the first countries to adopt the diagonal stripe to their kits, the 78 world cup saw the pinnacle of Peru’s national team journey displayed in its beauty all the way till it’s eventual quarter-final exit at the hands of Pele and Brazil. Still, one of the greats of all time made sure he was walking away with the red white displayed boldly on his chest, swapping shirts with Ramón Mifflin after the whistle had blown.
2- Nigeria 2018
It may be premature to dub Nigeria’s current offering as one of the greatest kits of all time, but we have a strong case we swear! The intersection of fashion and football was inevitable, but in the last decade we’ve seen high fashion brands adopt the sporting styles of the beautiful game to great effect, from Virgil to Gosha and all the way down to their reciprocal collaborations with Nike and adidas, we’ve seen football fashion become an accepted way to present yourself, adding a prestige. Combine all that with the hypebeast culture that dominates our fashion scene and you get the Nigeria kit, the first football top to sell out as soon as it was made available. It’s revolutionary.
1- Germany 1990
The grandaddy of them all, the shirt synonymous with efficiency, with 90s style, with winning, the swooping technicolour design from Germany’s very own adidas. It’s quintessential ownership for any retro football fan. Everything about its design is so ironically unique considering the contrast to its wearers, all modelled on one another. Can anything ever come close to it?
France / Atletico Kimberley 1978
The only club kit to ever be worn in World Cup history thanks to a mix up between French and Hungarian FAs, local club Argentine club Atletico Kimberley bailed the French out from a faux pas that left both teams taking the field in white. The clean green and white stripe contrasted beautifully with the blue and red lower bodies of the France team.
England Third Kit 1990
We had to acknowledge a classic that was never donned by the 3 lions, the best blue shirt in England history, boosted by it’s showing in the timeless anthem ‘World In Motion’. New Order guitarist and singer Bernard Sumner rocks the 3rd choice kit flanked by suitably excited bandmates and John Barnes post-rap.