May 26, 2024

With the 2023-24 campaign now fully up and running, football fans have had the chance to witness a wide variety of new kits worn by clubs in the Premier League and those European giants competing in the Champions League, whether they are drenched in the afternoon sunlight of a 3 p.m. kick-off or resplendent under the floodlights in a midweek evening clash.

From Real Madrid‘s gorgeous “infinity” away shirt to Manchester United piling stripes upon stripes upon stripes on their own second kit, Europe’s top clubs have given us plenty of designs that are memorable, be it for the right or wrong reasons.

However, many of this season’s most eye-catching jerseys have evaded the attention of a wider audience, especially those being worn by clubs playing in the lower divisions and less-heralded leagues around the world.

Here we take a look at the teams from around the world who have made it their business to produce some of the most stylish, as well as some of the downright wildest, kits for the 2023-24 season.

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Stylish

Venezia (Kappa)

Home: Venezia have forged something of a name for themselves in recent years for producing some of the most elegant designs you’ll find anywhere. The 2023-24 home and away jerseys utilise the Italian club’s traditional colours, with the home resplendent in prim striping and gilded trim.

Away: The away shirt sees the Venezia colours reversed, with a pristine white bed adorned with nothing beyond a green-and-orange offset bar and another scattering of shimmering gold embellishments.

Third: The third kit is perhaps the most noteworthy as it is inspired directly by the famous striped uniforms worn by the gondoliers who navigate the canals of Venice. The black-and-white bars are topped off with an exquisite red fold-over collar. In fact, all that’s missing is the traditional straw boater hat.


Athens Kallithea FC (Kappa)

Home: Leaning heavily on the Venezia template, Kappa have created an equally fashionable set of kits for Greek second tier side Athens Kallithea. The home jersey is a navy design with an almost satin-like sheen, delicate pinstripes, button collar and elbow-length sleeves.

Away: A lesson in minimalism, the away shirt has fine navy pinstripes adorning a fresh white bed which is all set off nicely by the burnished gold trim. Just to top the whole thing off, the club are also sponsored by the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (ΕΜΣΤ) — it’s not often a football club wears the name of a cultural institution so proudly.


Marseille (Puma)

Third: Perfectly timed to coincide with the changing of the seasons, there is a distinct autumnal feel to Marseille’s latest third kit. However, the orange camouflage design is actually intended to reflect what L’OM refer to as the “Peuple Volcanique” — the flare-wielding supporters who regularly transform their Stade Velodrome into a thronging pit of fire and flame.


ASD Boreale (Ezeta)

Home: Italian club FC Boreale have gone way back in time to inspire a batch of kits that are smothered with ornate designs based on historic works of religious art. Treading a fine line between flowery flamboyance and outright gaudiness, Boreale have walked that thin line well with a home kit that draws inspiration from the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which took place in Rome in 312 AD.

Away: All four of Boreale’s new shirts have been designed in conjunction with Rome-based football design studio Ezeta, who used an ancient etching of the battle to adorn the home and fourth kit while the away and third jerseys are festooned with the Golden Cross which was dedicated to Emperor Constatine after his victory.

Third:

Fourth:


Walthamstow FC (Admiral)

Home: Non-league London club Walthamstow FC caused quite a stir in football kit circles last month when they unveiled their ultra-decadent new shirts for the 2023-24 produced in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery.

Away: Morris was a British textile designer famed and one of the most famous exponents of the Arts and Crafts style popular in the mid-19th century. Ahead of the new Isthmian League North Division season, Walthamstow delved into the William Morris Gallery archives and selected the “Yare” pattern for their shirts. Yare was originally created by John Henry Dearle in around 1892. Dearle was trained by Morris and later became an acclaimed textile designer in his own right.


Wildest

FC Volendam (Robey)

Away: With all taste and decency heaved well and truly out of the window, Dutch club Volendam have covered their garish 2023-24 away shirt in eels. Yes — eels. Neon blue eels. The slippery strip has been dubbed the “Palingshirt” (“Eel Kit”) and also features a small embroidered image of one of the many statues of fishermen that are situated along the city’s harbour.


Norwich City (Joma)

Third: For reasons unknown, Norwich have chosen to resurrect one of their ugliest-ever kits by recycling the strange purple “crackle” graphic that first appeared on the sleeves of their old 1992-94 Ribero away kit and plastering it all over their new third shirt. The result is a barrage of zigs, zags, crinkles and crags that are already starting to induce a migraine.

As you can see, the original design was hardly one that many people at the time could see being resurrected three decades later, but nostalgia does funny things to a football fan.


Seattle Sounders (Adidas)

There are some extremely weird and wonderful entrants in the 2023 MLS kit rundown but none are remotely as wild as the Sounders’ new “Bruce Lee” tribute shirt. Celebrating the life and times of the martial arts master, who moved to Seattle from Hong Kong in 1959, it’s perhaps fitting that the bewildering, intensely over-engineered jersey hits you like a inch-punch to the cerebral cortex.


Sharktopus FC (Olive & York)

As their name suggests, Seattle-based amateur club Sharktopus FC have fused the twin marine threat of the shark and the octopus to launch a razor-toothed, eight-limbed assault on the 2024 US Open Cup, from which they are currently two games away from qualifying.

Even more terrifying than their name is their latest kit which features a gaudy pattern made up of a mass of pink Kraken-esque tentacles thrashing and writhing amid the boiling maelstrom of the Puget Sound.


Reading (Macron)

Third: Reading have really been saddled with a stinker thanks to a third kit that pays dubious “homage” to one of the town’s most popular music venues. Indeed, in doffing their cap to The Purple Turtle, with the help of Reading-based rock band The Amazons, the Royals have created a grim, overly literal shell design that is almost certain to become a staple of the “horror kit” oeuvre for years to come.


Bolasatukankita Palembang

With a novelty design so hilariously bad that it almost — almost — circles all the way back around to being a work of genius, Indonesian side Bolasatukankita Palembang recently unveiled a stunning new kit that comes complete with a “collar,” “tie” and “belt.”

Perhaps they were inspired by Cultural Leonesa, the Spanish club who in 2015 unveiled their infamous “tuxedo” kit? Or maybe this is proof that the same bad idea can be thought up by two different groups of people, independent of each other?

Either way, they should have left this design concept on the rack.


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