Creative Soccer Culture

The Top 20 Shirts Of The 21/22 Season

With the majority of home, away and third shirts out for the 21/22 season we’ve picked out what are, in our opinion, the 20 best designs from around the globe. Club football only, no internationals…

Shirt design has enjoyed another stellar year, with the so-called bigger brands being given a real run for their money through the renaissance of smaller heritage brands, establishing new trends and branching out from the conventional. It’s great to see and has served to push the boundaries, giving us some of the best shirts in recent memory. 

As always, this list is based on the very scientific formula of whether we like it or not, and the only rules for qualification are that they are club shirts (Germany Away would be a shoe-in otherwise) and they have to be for the current season. 

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20. Hull City Away

Starting off with a dark delight from Umbro, who black out the Hull City away shirt, sponsor, branding, club crest and all. Can't go too far wrong with a black out shirt and the Double Diamond smashed this one. Tigers? More like Black Panthers...

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19. Orlando Pirates Home

All about the repeating use of the skull and crossbones from the club crest in a sublimated design that runs throughout the body of the shirt for the Orlando Pirates shirt. PUMA tried a similar thing with their radical third shirts, but that replaced the conventional placing of the club crest, something adidas did not do here.

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18. Bayern Munich Third

A divisive one, but one that we're all for. The bespoke design of the Bayern third shirt pays homage to the landscape of Bavaria, with a sublimated graphic inspired by the mountain panorama of Munich’s surroundings dominating the design.

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17. Ajax Away

Ajax just don't get bad kits, do they? Following up last season's strong away shirt, this time the design consists of two shades of blue, with mint green accents that pop through the pinstripes, sponsor, branding and club crest. Bright, bold and brilliant.

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16. Venezia Away

Freshly arrived in Serie A and instantly looking to claim the best dressed award, Venezia and Kappa have commenced their new partnership in supreme style this season. This away shirt is probably the weakest of the Venetians three shirts this season, and it still ranks at 16 in our Top 20 best shirts list. Let that sink in.

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15. West Ham Home

Retro done absolutely right, Umbro present a design inspired by the shirt worn by Paolo Di Canio when he scored one of the club’s greatest ever goals at the turn of the Millennium. Perfect execution that brings tradition and a hint of fresh feels. You could say Umbro nailed it. Get it? Yep, we'll stop now.

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14. FC Porto Away

A navy and nautical blue design that treads in the traditional footsteps of previous FC Porto away shirts, but New Balance switched it up with the inclusion of metallic Gold details that pop through the sponsor, branding and club crest, lending a regal finish to the look. 

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13. Mamelodi Sundowns Away

South Africa is something of an untapped resource for shirt design, with designers ready to embrace the vibrant culture inherent in the African nation. Case in point: Mamelodi Sundowns away shirt. PUMA provided the reigning DStv Premiership champions with a beautifully bespoke design that was carried across both home and away, but is more effective in the blue hues of the latter. Bafana Ba style indeed.

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12. Philadelphia Union Secondary

The “BY|U” kit was designed start-to-finish by a group of fans, the Union Creators’ Collective, and it features a blue base with a tonal lightning pattern with bolt yellow accents – simply striking. Not the first time we'll see a fan-led design on this list – could this be the way forward?

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11. PSG Third

PSG are no strangers to these types of lists, with Nike – and off-shoot Jordan – often bestowing the Parisians with some of the best shirts in the game. With the Jumpman promoted to the home shirt this season, that left Nike with a little more wriggle room in the away and third shirts, and the latter flips the traditional Hectre stripe horizontally in homage to club shirts from the 90s. The toned down colour scheme leaves attention on that centralised club crest in Electric Red. Magnifique.

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10. Seattle Sounders Secondary

Top 10 time. Here we get our first – but not last – shirt design inspired by an iconic musician. Drawing inspiration from legendary musical artist and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix, the Seattle Sounders secondary jersey combines purple, orange and yellow as an homage to Hendrix’s love of colour and psychedelic patterns. Absolutely wild.

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9. Manchester United Away

Inspired by the iconic design from ’92 – one of the most recognisable in the club’s history – the Manchester United away shirt strikes the perfect balance between retro and progressive, sitting perfectly in line with adidas's ethos. It reworks the iconic snowflake design by taking “Cloud White” and “Glory Blue” and bringing them together as part of an optical art pattern engineered into the fabric.

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8. Roma Home

Always a nervy moment when a new brand comes in to take over from an established partnership, especially one as successful as Nike x Roma. But fears were well and truly put to bed when New Balance unveiled their first Roma home shirt, with a design that lays the focus squarely on the club’s iconic colour palette. A subtle tonal pin-stripe design is also visible on the front of the shirt, lending an elevated finish to the otherwise understated design.

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7. Venezia Third

Kappa and Venezia were back at it with the club's third shirt, which sees a blue-green body with Venezia FC’s famous arancioneroverde on the chest in three fading stripes, creating an effect of the club colours floating on water – fitting given the design was inspired by the Venetian lagoon. Seems borderline unfair how good the Serie A side's shirt repertoire is this season.

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6. Inter Milan Home

Another divisive one, this, with some fans hating the deviation from tradition. But see, that's exactly why we love it. It's all well and good experimenting on prematch or third shirts, but to do something this radical on a home shirt is commendable, and Nike should be applauded for it. It still flirts with the Nerazzurri's classic stripe aesthetic, but brings back the Biscione snakeskin look not seen for a decade. All for this.

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5. Atlético Mineiro Away

What were we saying about fan created designs? Any team that has the balls to pair Hulk and Diego Costa together upfront deserves a shirt of this stature. The 'Manto da Massa 113' shirt was designed to celebrate the club's 113th anniversary – that well known marker. The design, created by fan Lucas Adriano and produced by Le Coq Sportif, sees a beige base with a detailed printed map of the Minas Gerais state (of which Belo Horizonte, Atlético Mineiro's home city, is capital) on the front. Finished with grey, white and orange cuffs and collar, this is a stroke of bespoke brilliance.

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4. Corinthians Home

You can always rely on Corinthians to have some standout designs, courtesy of Nike. And sure enough the Swoosh delivers once more, this time for the Brazilian side's new home shirt, which features a <ahem> cracking design inspired by the cracks in the walls of the city of São Paulo. OK, we'll go now.

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3. Arsenal Third

Another club upon whom you can always rely on for some outstanding shirt designs, with adidas recently leaning heavily on some of the Gunners' most iconic shirts from the past. For this season's third it's the iconic lightning strike look from the 95/96 season, reworked to perfection.

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2. Ajax Third

The Ajax third shirt is quite exquisite in its simplicity; taking a black base, the design is accented by red, yellow and green details, most notably on the Three Stripes on the shoulders and sleeve cuffs. And it's all in ode to the Dutch club's affinity for Bob Marley, and specifically his ‘Three Little Birds’ track. Great story, great design, only narrowly missing out on top spot...

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1. Venezia Home

Venezia FC have built a reputation around some of the best bespoke kits in the game over the last few years, so eyebrows were raised when it was announced that the Italian side were ending their relationship with Nike, and starting anew with Kappa. But what has come about from the partnership this season has been nothing short of jaw-dropping. Not one, not two, but three unbelievable kits that well and truly put Venezia on the map ahead of their return to Serie A. Talk about setting the bar high...

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Daniel Jones

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