Nike’s late run of retro-infused third shirts have ensured that the 2019/20 replica scene is ruled with a Swoosh. The return of the Nike ‘Futura’ logo has been lapped up by fans and players which has us thinking whether adidas, who despite having launched some stunning kits of their own this year, may be feeling like they’ve missed a trick.

Nike have successfully delved into their archives to deliver a throwback feel for their leading European clubs, but the adidas archive is considerably deeper and while the Nike ‘Futura’ logo is undoubtably retro royalty, the adidas ‘Trefoil’ logo, which is now an adidas Originals staple is legendary in football replica. We can’t help but feel that a comeback of kits featuring the Trefoil would have created even more hype than the Nike third shirts.


The Three Stripes returned to the Arsenal shirt this season to re-ignite a partnership that produced some of the most exquisite football shirts to ever grace the English top flight in the late 80s and 90s. Of course, that era is being embraced with a huge streetwear resurgence right now, and would there have been a better way to cash in on that trend than continuing their relationship with Arsenal from where they left off – by placing the trefoil on the Gunners shirt?

The same could be said for when adidas took over at Manchester United in 2015; imagine the hype levels if they’d have gone straight back to the Trefoil as a subtle two-fingers up to Nike – a move that would have reclaimed what was theirs and celebrated their superior history in the game in comparison to Nike. A proper ‘we were here first’ flex. All while giving fans a slice of what they already know, and what they already love.


Of course, adidas drove immensely successful campaigns for their return to both clubs, but when you look at the noise the Futura logo has made it would be hard to deny that a Trefoil comeback – even just on third shirts – would have been louder. Now that Nike have already made their move would adidas want to look like they’re following the Swoosh into the retro room? Probably not. While adidas have embraced retro designs on their 19/20 kits, we’d still guess that they’re keen to up that jersey culture movement with an alternative series of shirts that perhaps would see a temporary departure from the adidas performance logo. There were rumours earlier in the summer of a potential adidas x Palace x Juventus collab, which would suggest that wheels are in motion.


In the build up to the 2018 World Cup adidas Originals released a collection of retro international shirts, which gave fans a smart alternative to the performance replica and a taste of how beautifully stylish a comeback would be. The Originals label also linked up with high-fashion powerhouse Alexander Wang for a collection that saw the Originals logo flipped and placed a run of retro-licious football jersey templates, leading to a number of graphic designers whipping up concept designs on what a comeback could potentially look like. Not that it was needed, a comeback would be off the scale in terms of hype and sales.


Looking back to what worked to guarantee success is a relatively safe bet. And while Nike’s strategy to bring back the Futura logo required minimal effort their results are clear. You could rightly argue that adidas have opted for a more forward thinking attitude in terms of innovation and progression rather than favouring an easier success story, but sometimes the most obvious route is the winner. Do we still want to see the Trefoil return to the pitch? After scrolling through some of these designs you can answer that question for us.