Football kit design has moved on a lot from the heavy and slightly itchy shirts of the 1980s, and these days there is as much emphasis on fashion as there is on practicality and – perhaps even more important for some – identity. The recent launch of the new home Nationaltrikot was largely met with approval, in that answered every question correctly: in addition to being a practical design, it signalled a return back to tradition.
The same cannot be said of the new Auswärtstrikot, which in stark contrast takes things in a completely new direction. It’s not just out of the box, but somewhere else altogether. This is not to say that’s it’s completely bad – though others may be a little less forgiving. Like the home shirt, this new away design was given its own fanfare – held in Paris rather than Germany.
While the new home shirt pays more than a nod to Germany’s footballing history by taking things back to the famous design of the early 1970s, the new away kit looks firmly into the future, taking its cues from street football – or so goes the marketing schtick – with an unique colour combination and reversible design.
While the shirt itself is a little less outrageous than some of the leaked “prototypes” that have done the rounds on the internet, there is no doubt that it takes the Die Mannschaft in a completely new direction. While I would consider myself a traditionalist, I have to admit that this new Adidas creation isn’t actually that bad. Maybe I am just comparing it to the prototypes however, and it’s a case of it not being as bad as it could have been.
In simple terms, the shirt is a mid-grey, with thin horizontal hoops in a slightly darker shade of grey – which when looked at closely consists of closely compacted horizontal dark grey pinstripes. In itself, it’s pretty smart – and not that odd a colour choice given that grey has featured in national shirt designs before, including the charcoal-grey Auswärtstrikot from 2002-2004 and a dark grey presence on the 2000-2002 home shirt. Like the recently-launched home shirt, the black round neck is straightforward and fashionably retro.
Contrasting gently with the two shades of grey are khaki green sleeves with black cuffs, which some might see as a gentle nod – a Jeremy Corbynesque bow, perhaps – to the old DFB green tradition. Like the home shirt the three Adidas stripes have been shifted from the shoulders to the sides, running horizontally from the armpits in strongly contrasting white. The Adidas logo is stitched in white, as is the national crest which sits on top of a black disc. Sitting above the national eagle are the four championship stars, also in white, while the gold FIFA world champions badge looks a little out of sync with the colour scheme. Not to worry – I’d rather have it on there than not.
The big thrill for some however will be the fact that that this new design is reversible. Yes, reversible. Turn it inside out, and you end up with what looks like a lurid lime/neon green training bib. Sporting the maker’s name in fashionably old school style in black, the design also contains the slogan Bolzen. Kicken. Pöhlen. – three words roughly meaning “kickabout” in regional street dialect. Will we see the team on the pitch sporting this eye-bleeding look? Probably not.
The official launch of the new design. Strassenfußball.
The shorts accompanying the new grey-khaki shirt are as old school as you can get – a plain design in what can best be described as off-white (or if one wants to be slightly pretentious, ivory), with the national crest in black. The socks, also white, are topped in dark grey and khaki that matches the shirts, with the four championship stars in black.
Unlike the home shirt, this is a design that will get mixed reviews – but I have to admit that it is growing on me, especially after getting a better look.