The launch of the MLS 2020 kits last week marked the comeback of one of the most iconic adidas shirt templates in the game. While some fans questioned the strategy of giving each MLS club similar designs, for many it was the return of the EQT style with those classic thick three stripes adorning the shoulder of each kit.

Younger fans might have to wait for the designs to grow on them, but those of a certain generation instantly connected them to the retro look of the early 1990s where numerous clubs and nations were dished out with the the adidas Equipment (EQT) styled shirts and shorts. The EQT shirts were worn between 1991 and 1994, with the most notable connection to their 2020 MLS comeback being the shirt the USA wore in the run up to 1994 World Cup, two years before MLS kicked off. Here we take a look back at ten of the best designs and to confirm, as if you needed it, that the MLS 2020 kits arrive with strong identity and meaningful history.


Templates often get criticism, and sometimes it's justified, but sometimes the 'lazy' label is quite the opposite with the brand outlining a strategy that ensures the design is iconic in years to come. Take the MLS designs this season as an example; if the EQT template is exclusive to MLS then it makes the shirts desirable in Europe. It makes the league that little bit more exotic, rare, and ups the desirability of their jerseys. We're on board. But we were from the moment they had us thinking back to these works of art...


Bayern Munich 1992-94

Back to a time when every player was given a XXL shirt and told to get on with it. A time when your shirt was so oversized that the club crest disappeared under your arm. The early 90s was a beautiful era for football shirt design and Bayern Munich were given consecutive adidas EQT home shirts with the added bonus of the stripes continuing on the opposite side of the shorts.


Marseille 1991-94

The only thing that was more windswept than Chris Waddle's oversized Marseille shirt was his beautifully conditioned mullet. The clean white Marseille shirt with the sort of blue on the stripes that makes you want to crack open a box of Quality Street was one of the greatest adidas EQT shirts of all time. Combine it with the centralised adidas Equipment logo and French tricolour flag on the collar and you've got a winner.


Republic of Ireland 1993 / USA 1993-1994

The EQT design lent itself favourably to international shirts as the lack of sponsor allowed those thick three stripes on the right shoulder to really make a statement. Sleeves wide enough to fit your head into is always a strong ingredient for a throwback kit, and while the 2020 MLS shirts have been streamlined, that USA 93-94 design which was worn in the lead up to the 1994 World Cup can take the credit for the comeback.


Japan 1992 / Sweden 1992

The lack of sponsor on international jerseys also allowed the squad number to be centralised for another slice of retro vibes. While the USA wore their EQT design at the 1994 World Cup, Sweden wore theirs two years earlier as they also played hosts, this time to the 1992 European Championships. The adidas performance logo on the middle stripe of the Japan shirt was a nice little alternative touch as brands were a bit more versatile with their templates.


Liverpool 1991-93

The fact that this period and design spanned across two of the most iconic and aesthetically pleasing sponsors in Candy and Carlsberg no doubt helped, but these, for us, are two of Liverpool's greatest football shirts of all time. On the subject of smart sponsors, we recently picked out every Premier League club's greatest ever sponsor, if you're interested. Liverpool also wore this design in their first ever Premier League season, and you can check out every kit from that season here


Wolfsburg 1992-93 / Stuttgart 1992-93

Another shimmering effort from Wolfsburg and another strong two colour-combo from their German brothers over in Stuttgart. The adidas EQT logo also taking a central position. While the EQT logo takes a more lifestyle focused position nowadays, back in the early 90s it was a regular 'performance' icon, featuring not just on jersey but also on boots; most notably on the heel of the Predator Accelerator.


Arsenal 1993-94 / Rangers 1992-93

The three stripes on the shoulder was the original EQT template, and one that is still relevant on training pieces almost 20 years later, but adidas did also introduce variations of the design onto their leading club kits, including the stripes coming from the bottom of the opposite side of the shirt (Arsenal) and vertical stripes on both shoulders (Rangers).

So, that was your quick history lesson. Shop all adidas MLS 2020 jerseys at