Germany womens shirt is better than the mens
Seriously, if this shirt was released last year it would’ve been one of the best of 2018.
I’ll be honest, the new range of kits for teams at the upcoming Women's World Cup caught me completely by surprise.
I was aware that many teams were slated to receive bespoke designs, but in truth I didn’t expect much more than a few subtle tweaks to the largely successful collection of shirts we saw in Russia last Summer.
Boy was I wrong.
This week the bar for international kit design has been raised to heights even higher than the levels set in 2018. Yes, the same 2018 that delivered iconic looks for the likes of Nigeria, Japan and Belgium. I would argue that Russia was the best tournament since the 90s for football shirt design across the board, but France 2019 already looks set to render that opinion invalid.
I want to hone in on one shirt in particular which is causing a stir which reminds me very much of what we saw with Nigeria last year.
That shirt, of course, belongs to Germany.
Remember when Germany were World Champions?
On the eve of the 2018 World Cup, depending on who you asked, Die Mannschaft were many people’s second favourite to win the tournament behind Brazil. Sporting Life summed up the attitude of many at the time, stating that whilst “defending World Cup champions don't have a great record recently, with just one of the last four escaping the group stages, ... that just won't happen to the Germans.”
I’m not here to dissect exactly what went wrong with the German’s hapless, hopeless defence of their world title. I do however want to speak briefly on their kits, specifically the home kit which was one of the most interesting releases last year.
adidas’ approach to international kits in 2018 received a lot of plaudits, and rightly so. After a largely underwhelming Euro 2016 for the Three Stripes, things kicked up several gears in Russia with a range of designs including completely fresh looks for teams like Japan and designs inspired by retro kits of the past for heavyweights like Belgium and Spain.
Despite some flaws (more on them later…), Germany’s home and away kits were probably my favourites from the retro-tinged side of the spectrum. Looking at the home in particular, I was a huge fan of how adidas didn’t just simply remake the 1990 look, but instead gave us a contemporary twist on the subject.
As much as I liked and still like the shirt however, what we’ve seen from adidas this week has proved to us that things could’ve been so much better.
It’s fair to say Germany suffered a dent to their national pride with their historically bad performances in 2018, but the shirt that has risen from the ashes is already helping us move on.
Germany Women’s new home shirt builds upon the ideas of the 2018 men’s shirt with added layers of energy and quality, and it all starts with the fact the pattern is in colour.
As interesting as the pattern on the men’s shirt was, the monochrome design failed to capture the essence of what made the 1990 shirt so special. That classic design was unashamedly ‘German’, bringing out the colours of the flag in a way which only international shirts can, but by contrast the 2018 felt comparatively corporate. Jump forward to 2019 and you can’t help but feel a little bit more excited or intimidated (depending on who you support), with those strips of black, red and gold.
But it’s not just the colours that help separate the women’s shirt. The pattern knows exactly what it’s limits are, and instead focuses on what it can do well. Let me explain what I mean.
On the 2018 men’s shirt, no matter how hard adidas tried, the pattern ended up looking awkward due to restrictions around how a pattern can bleed from the chest area to the sleeves. Depending on what angle you looked at the shirt, the pattern could end up being abruptly interrupted and cut off, ruining the overall aesthetic which was so important in the 1990 design, and indeed designs from the 90s in general.
The women’s shirt completely rights this wrong, by instead ‘zooming’ in on a particular portion of the 1990 graphic and framing it perfectly within the chest panel. No awkward breaks, just a strong pattern that looks like it belongs on the shirt.
It’s also notable how the design, which broadly fits into adidas’ recent ‘glitch’ trend, compliments the base design of the shirt which sees a series of subtle horizontal lines. The flag pattern appears to 'jump out' from this base, and it's another small but important improvement on the men's shirt.
Finally we have to talk about the World Cup winners badge. I am all for additional patches, badges and details that add something to a shirt’s design, but the FIFA World Cup winners patch is easily one of the worst additional detailings a shirt could ever dread to include.
No matter how much I liked Germany’s shirts last year, I can’t deny that the clunky gold badge that was stuck in the middle took away several points from the look. On the women’s side, we can enjoy the flag pattern in all its glory, and I don’t think anyone would argue that’s a bad thing.
After all, there’s still a couple of World Champion denoting stars on top of the crest, and that’s exactly how a historic triumph ought to be celebrated.
A legacy in the making
My excitement levels for the Women’s World Cup have gone from 1 to 100 in a matter of days, and it's all thanks to adidas and Nike. Of all the storylines that will come and go from France 2019, I am most excited to see how the shirts help play a part in what is happening both on and off the pitch.
Germany will be the flag bearers of this exciting new wave of optimism (in more ways than one), and if the new kit can help play a positive role in the appreciation and support of the Women’s game as a whole, it will have more than played its part.
I have a sneaky suspicion it’s already helping.