The best football shirts of 2020 (so far)
It’s been a fantastic year for football shirts already. We’re picking out some of our favourites so far…
2020 has already been one hell of a year for football shirts.
From Nike claiming they’re “ditching the template” to a truly stunning array of new international kits, the past few months have been jam-packed with inventive, beautiful designs. Not only has this made a significant dent in my bank balance, but it’s also got me completely hyped for what next season’s kits might look like - although we probably won’t see these any time soon.
Quite understandably, it seems as though brands are pausing most of their new releases for the time being, leaving us to obsess over leaks, rumours and fan-made concepts. More importantly, this has given us plenty of time to look back at the fantastic designs launched earlier in the year, as we “um” and “ah” over what to add to our collections.
Since this is such a tough choice, I’ve rounded up the best football shirts of 2020 so far, including designs from Asia, South America and the rest of the world. Below you’ll find my top 10, and it’s fair to say I’m desperate to get hold of every single one of them…
PLEASE NOTE: I haven’t included any special-edition anniversary kits in this list, since it just wouldn’t be fair on the other shirts!
10. Shanghai Greenland Shenhua - 2020 Home Shirt
This has really grown on me in the last few weeks. Like a lot of people, my initial reaction to Nike’s new Chinese Super League kits was a resounding “meh”. While it was obviously great to see them following up on their “anti-template” plan (take note, adidas), nothing in this collection initially blew my mind or opened my wallet.
I’ve since decided that Shanghai Shenghua’s home shirt really is quite lovely, and just about sneaks onto this list. I just love how clean it is, with that traditional collar throwing up some serious retro vibes and matching up with those beautiful cuffs. Sure, it looks much better in the promos without that ugly sponsor, but this is still easily my standout pick of the CSL.
9. Forward Madison - 2020 Goalkeeper Shirt
Forward Madison just always seem to get things right. Living up to last year’s standard was always going to be a tough ask, but their 2020 goalkeeper shirt is everything I hoped it would be. Oh, and it’s worth pointing that their away shirt is also an absolute belter.
This black and gold design just straight-up hits the mark for me. While boring adidas templates plague the rest of the MLS, the unique detailing on this shirt is just absolutely staggering. The pattern is beautiful, the fonts inspired, while those gorgeous gold accents have the whole thing dripping with insane style.
I won’t say anything else, just look at it.
8. Club América - 2020 Third Shirt
Last year, Inter Milan rekindled my love for minty green colourways with their outstanding away shirt. A few months on, and the mighty Club America are looking every bit as fresh as their Italian counterparts, although I’ll admit the excessive sponsors (looking at you, Home Depot) do kinda ruin the whole effect.
Even so, when you mix this kind of minty freshness with Las Águilas trademark Aztec style, it’s fair to say you’re probably onto a winner. There are unmissable shades of 1994 Germany here, and it’s actually quite difficult not to picture Jurgen Klinsmann wheeling away in celebration, even with the unmistakably South American themes.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea - and it’s just the same template as their home kit - but this is so far up my street it’s practically knocking on my door.
7. Boca Juniors - 2020 Home Shirt
Let’s face it, Boca Juniors kits have always been special. From the simplistic retro shirts worn by Diego Maradona to the fantastic designs sponsored by Quilmes and Parmalat, this is a club with a long history of beautiful football shirts. Of course, La Bombonera deserves nothing less.
The 2020 Boca kits are certainly no exception, serving up the kind of style Juan Roman Riquelme would’ve been proud of. Although I’m a fan of both, the home shirt just about has the edge on the away, possibly because I’m an old man who loves it when a club goes down a more traditional route.
Drenched in shades of blue and yellow, this is quintessential Boca. Their reunion with adidas takes us straight back to those days of Maradona, and the trademark yellow band dovetails beautifully with those iconic three stripes. This is everything a modern Boca shirt should be, so let’s hope the German brand never leave La Bombonera again.
6. Italy - 2020 Third Shirt
This is known as the “Renaissance” shirt for a reason: it’s a complete work of art.
Puma have nailed just about everything here. While I’ll always be a fan of the famous Azzurri blue, this darker shade of green is just absolutely gorgeous, complemented perfectly by the navy accents and golden logos. It’s the kind of majestic shirt I could see Roberto Baggio swaggering around in, ponytail and all.
The Renaissance-inspired graphic is, of course, the star of the show. Adding a beautiful depth and richness to that fantastic green colourway, this unique graphic screams sophistication so loud it’s actually hard to hear anything else. You go on and read the rest of this list, I’m just gonna sit and stare at it for a little while longer.
5. South Korea - 2020 Home Shirt
It seems as though South Korea have become Nike’s latest guinea pigs. Well, if this particular test is anything to go by, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be partnered with the Swoosh indeed.
The new Korea home shirt is bursting with the kind of creativity we’d usually associate with Nigeria, featuring an eye-popping wavy graphic inspired by the national flag. Sitting atop a beautiful red colourway, this pattern is fantastically mind-bending and trippy, gradually fading in a lovely gradient effect towards the bottom.
The whole thing is framed perfectly by black accents on the cuffs and collar, while the brand-new logo - which is definitely a bit Salford City - rounds off one of the most inventive home shirts I’ve seen in a long time. It’s received mixed responses over in Korea, but this should be irresistible to any shirt collectors out there…
4. Palmeiras - 2020 Home Shirt
There’s just something about South American crests which really makes them pop out of the shirt. The likes of Sao Paulo, San Lorenzo and Flamengo all have particularly bold badges, but this year I don’t think any look quite so striking as Palmeiras.
Sitting atop a beautiful dark green colourway, the white crest looks absolutely incredible alongside the shirt sponsor and brand logo. This particular shade will be familiar to any Italy fans out there, as will the gorgeous Renassaince-inspired pattern flowing throughout, with Puma running with a similar theme and absolutely nailing it once again.
To be more specific, the pattern is inspired by Italian immigrants travelling to Brazil in the early 20th century, and I certainly won’t complain about Puma finding another excuse to focus on the Renaissance. Like Italy’s, the pattern is simply very easy on the eye, and the letter “P” is actually found within the floral graphic. A nice touch.
3. Nigeria - 2020 Home Shirt
Make no mistake, Nigeria’s 2020 home shirt is even better than their 2018 design. You can obviously disagree if you want, just do so in the knowledge that you’re just plain wrong. So there.
That infamous World Cup shirt shocked us with its audacity and creativity, and this latest strip bore the weight of expectation heavy upon its shoulders. The shock factor had been entirely taken away, but Nike somehow had us all picking jaws off floors once again, mesmerised by the sheer intricacy and originality of their design.
This insanely beautiful shirt draws inspiration from a traditional agbada robe, celebrating Nigerian heritage while still delivering their usual sense of excitement and awe. A fantastic hand-drawn pattern can be found on the sleeves, while centralising the logos was a truly inspired choice by the guys over at Swoosh HQ.
It might not be officially on sale just yet, but something tells me Nigeria kits will be top of everyone’s wishlist later this year.
2. South Korea - 2020 Away Shirt
Just wow. This is the Joe Exotic x Korea x Cruella de Vil crossover we never knew we needed. It’s bold, brash and looks like the kind of thing you’d find in a 1970s living room. Above all, it’s absolutely fantastic.
The white tiger print (no, it definitely isn’t a zebra) is nothing short of sensational, with the hand-drawn stripes serving up one of the most distinctive designs of the year. You wouldn’t be surprised to see Del Boy wearing this down the Peckham Markets, but the gold detailing adds a touch of elegance which had me immediately grasping for my wallet.
There’s no doubt this has been a huge year for South Korea kits. Their home and away shirts serve up a seriously strong double-punch, giving us one of the best international double-acts I’ve seen for a very long time.
I do worry that the match shirts are somewhat ruined by the numbers, but at least we don’t have to worry about that when getting hold of our replicas.
1. Japan - 2020 Home Shirt
I just don’t think it gets much better than this, to be completely honest. Japan kits never really fail to disappoint (their strips at the 1998 and 2018 World Cups are particular favourites), but this is so good I don’t think any of my words can really do it justice.
The traditional blue colourway is still there, but this time it’s been incorporated into a sensational camouflage effect, mixing with various other shades of blue and white. This is actually based on the different colours of the sky, and the result is a stormy, beautiful masterpiece which really wouldn’t look out of place in some sort of gallery.
I’ll admit that it’s a shame this pattern doesn’t continue onto the back, but it’s still so strong I honestly don’t think anything will top it this year. Hopefully, I’m 100% wrong and the beautiful shirts will keep on coming, although anything that betters this will have to be something truly iconic.
Going off the designs above, the future of shirts has never been more exciting. New, awesome designs will be released later in the year, and FOOTY.COM lets you compare prices on absolutely all of them. Shop with us to find cheap football kits throughout 2020, including brand-new releases and a selection of retro classics!