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2020 Nike third kits to be inspired by famous Air Max trainers | Reaction

Nike have been killing it with their third kits in recent seasons, and 2020 is set to bring something even fresher to the table.

2020 Nike third kits

It came to light last week that some of Nike’s most high-profile teams will have their third kits fashioned after famous Air Max models for the 2020/21 season. After the retro inspired kits of 2019/20 and the city inspired designs of 2018/19, it represents the latest attempt from Nike to collectively link their third kits across multiple teams, with bespoke designs within a given theme.

For any kit fans the news is interesting, but the rumours yield just as many questions as they does answers. What will the 2020 Nike third kits look like, and what on earth could an Air Max football shirt look like? Let’s explore further...

What will the 2020 Nike third kits look like?

When a brand claims that a shirt is ‘inspired’ by a particular medium it can mean pretty much anything - you might end up with a design that’s entirely based off something specific, or simply a kit that includes a tiny added feature (such as an inscription or detailing on the inside neck) that can be traced back to the choice of inspiration.

In the case of Nike’s new third kits and Air Max trainers, at this stage all options are on the table as to how closely the new shirts will resemble Nike’s famous trainer line. At the very least, if we use recent seasons as a reference point, we would expect some good variety across different team’s kits. This season some of Nike’s third kits closely resemble specific kits of the past (PSG, Roma), whilst others feature a more abstract link (Chelsea, Inter).

Several current season third kits brought back the iconic ‘Futura’ logo, and it’s quite possible we’ll see elements of a number of Air Max logos incorporated into the new 2020 kits. There’s also the possibility that the new collection could introduce materials used in Air Max trainers, but given the high technological specifications that player issue shirts are made to these days, it’s hard to image that this quality will be sacrificed for aesthetics, especially given the fact that most teams share materials across their home, away and third kits.

Given the hugely positive reaction to this season’s third kits, we should see bespoke designs borrowing details from famous Air Max trainers, though the shirts should look quite fresh given that we’ve not seen many shirts inspired by trainers in the past.

Which Air Max shoes in particular are being honoured?

The Air Max 97s, 2s, 95s and 180s have been confirmed so far, with specific versions of the Air Max 98, Air Max Tn and Air Max 1 being rumoured too. If you look at the mainstays of the Air Max range, the confirmed list notably excludes the Air Max 90 - could this be the shoe that inspires Liverpool’s third shirt next season?

No notable or iconic black & pink (the reported colours of Liverpool’s third kit next term) Air Max 90s have ever been released, but with 2020 being the 30th anniversary of the shoe, it seems inconceivable that it won’t be involved somehow in Nike’s third shirt range next season.

Furthermore, although wildly popular in recent years, the Air Max 270 and Vapormax are unlikely to see a football shirt counterpart due to their lack of heritage and iconic iterations - stranger things have happened though.

Which teams will receive an Air Max inspired shirt?

Nike keeps an exclusive list of ‘elite’ level teams that receive their own unique designs each season, largely because they are the best sellers. Using this season’s third kits as a reference point, we can expect the following 8 teams will be involved:

  • Chelsea
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • Galatasaray
  • AS Roma
  • Inter Milan
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Paris Saint-Germain*

After their high profile court case against New Balance in the summer, Liverpool have been added to Nike’s portfolio, and therefore will almost certainly be included, bringing the total to 9.

Given the endless possibilities presented by drawing inspiration from the iconic range, we would love to see the design initiative stretch to include other big name teams, such as the likes of RB Leipzig, Corinthians, Pumas UNAM or Zenit.

*PSG are already manufactured under the Jordan brand, so it is unclear at the moment whether or not they will involved - some of their kits are already inspired by the famous shoe, and it would probably not make sense to have an ‘Air Max inspired’ Jordan shirt. If they are not involved, it would bring the total back down to 8.

Final thoughts

The crossover range seems a no-brainer for Nike, and honestly it’s a surprise that it hasn’t been done before. The prospect of limited edition trainer releases further expands the range’s potential, meaning that you should not be surprised to see a Tottenham Hotspur pair of Air Max 95s coming very soon. This would not be totally out of Nike’s remit, as PSG’s extensive Jordan range has actually already seen some Air Jordan x PSG trainers be released.

Regardless of how this pans out, rest assured we can be expecting some fire shirts to be coming our way this summer.

If you’re struggling with your Air Max knowledge, or can’t quite put your finger on what each model looks like, take a look at this detailed guide about all things Air Max.

Chris Semple

Manchester City season ticket holder and FC Schalke armchair. Wannabe trainer collector and travelling enthusiast.