The release of new football kits often generates a discernible buzz and the recent unveiling of bespoke kits for Euro 2022 has done exactly that.
Almost every nation competing at the major international tournament this summer has released their respective kits for the competition and there are some exceptional designs. Check out our rankings of each country’s kit from worst to best.
While new kit fever is far from a new concept, the interest and fascination with this Euro 2022 attire has been further heightened by the lack of specifically tailored kits for women in the past.
Prior to the 2019 Women’s World Cup, bespoke women’s kits were few and far between. Hence, these meticulously constructed jerseys have the potential to have a huge impact on women’s football.
To some, a kit may just be viewed as a fairly insignificant piece of clothing, but for those players who wear garments that are specifically designed for them, it makes each individual feel valued, it promotes women’s football and helps distance it from being a subsidiary of the men’s game.
As this summer approaches, it feels as though the women’s kit revolution is finally complete. Here’s how that came to be:
History of women’s football kits
For much of this century, women’s kits derived from existing men’s kits and in many cases, female players were often forced to wear hand-me-downs from male players.
Former England legend Alex Scott revealed that back in 2002 she was forced to wear hand-me-downs from the Arsenal men’s first team. “It looked like I was wearing a parachute,” she stressed.
Even as women’s versions of kits started to evolve, the opposite effect was achieved. The majority of women’s jerseys were extremely tight-fitting and widely considered uncomfortable.
For female footballers, the dream was something in between: A kit tailored to them, but that still maximised comfort.
“When we work with the men, they say a tight fit made them feel like a superhero, but for women it’s different,” said the senior apparel product manager for Nike in an interview with the Guardian.
“They want to feel comfortable and covered and professional.”
The 2019 Women’s World Cup
2019 was a breakthrough year for women’s football kits. Nike released shirts for 14 teams at the tournament –– each of which had been specifically designed for the women’s team, rather than derivations of the uniforms made for men.
This was the first time the sportswear brand had done such a thing since they began working with the Women’s World Cup in 1995.
England’s kit was especially different from that of the men’s side. The Lioness was emblazoned on the inside, while a hand-drawn print of flowers featured on the away shirt.
Everyone remembers the iconic England men’s shirts from over the years –– Italia 90, Euro 1996 and the 2002 World Cup, to name just a few.
And when people think back to the memorable 2019 Women’s World Cup, which was watched by a record audience at the time, fans resonate with the kits that were on display in much the same way.
Indeed, back in 2019, the USA Women’s home jersey became the number one football jersey, men’s or women’s, ever sold on the Nike website in one season.
Euro 2022 kits
This year, things have gone to the next level. Nike, Adidas and Puma, among others, have all produced shirts ahead of Euro 2022.
Italy’s shirt, produced by Puma in collaboration with Liberty, has gone down particularly well with both fans and players.
Speaking to GiveMeSport Women, Juventus striker Cristiana Girelli said: “It’s a beautiful thing from Puma. They send a big signal about women’s football with this. It also makes you feel important when a brand like Puma makes a design just for women’s football.”
The shirts have also been given extensive promotion to boost awareness for this summer’s competition.
Germany’s new home shirt was worn by the men’s team during their Nations League game against England, in front of a packed-out Allianz Arena.
Meanwhile, Belgium and Spain did the same during their respective fixtures during the last international break.
Belgium’s decision to join the initiative was also part of their desire to mark the development of Belgian women’s football.
The men's teams of Belgium and Germany will wear the jerseys of their respective women's teams in their upcoming UEFA Nations League match to promote the Women's EURO 2022 competition pic.twitter.com/6pF98KrbNP— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) June 7, 2022
Nick Craggs, the CEO of Adidas Football, explained the reason for doing so was as “a tribute to the great work their teammates are doing.”
Women’s football is ostensibly headed in the right direction. Euro 2022 is set to be a historic tournament, with every game broadcast live on television and record ticket sales already.
But while increased crowds and more extensive broadcasting are no doubt huge in terms of the growth of the women’s game, sometimes the simpler things can have just as big an impact. Something as simple as one’s kit being the desired fit.