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The Top 100 Shirts of 2018

How much sweeter is the fruit we are never destined to enjoy? (Yes I'm still talking about football shirts).

The Top 100 Shirts of 2018

The best football shirts of 2018

I like to think I’m a poet sometimes.

Ok, maybe not a poet, but at least a storyteller who can paint pictures so vivid that grown men and women can be moved to actually feel something about a piece of clothing.

My job isn’t that difficult when you consider all that a football shirt can mean to so many. For most people who are into shirts, personal connections and experiences create the strongest narratives.

Yet the beauty of kits is that you don’t need to have one in your hands to appreciate it. It’s quite possible I will never own a West Germany 1988 long sleeve, but just seeing pictures of the shirt is enough to make me smile.

But what if I told you there was a shirt almost as beautiful, that never got to see the light of day? A majestic piece of craftsmanship that was snatched away at the last second.

You probably know what I’m talking about, and so to conclude Top 100 Shirts here are all our brief thoughts on the best shirt of the year.

Thanks for reading this list and engaging with the content. Let’s do the same again next year, yeah?

Other blogs in this series

100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-2 | 1

1 - China Away


Art. Defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” And boy, does this China away kit fit into that description magnificently.

A wonderful blend of black and yellow detailing’s partnered with a delightful dragon mural across the torso. Overall, this shirt is one of the tastiest things I have ever laid my eyes on and definitely deserves its spot at numero uno. If it wasn’t for that pesky neckline Nike decided to roll with this year, it’d probably be the greatest kit of all time.

And that was probably a bit of hyperbole.
- Luke

This is, without a shadow of a doubt, THE best shirt of 2018!

The shirt pays homage to China’s history and culture with a beautiful dragon graphic on the front and back. The black dragons are striking in that they are almost ‘tattoo-esque’ yet they still blend in with the black shirt. The only other colour is a fluorescent yellow on the logos which gives a nice, bright contrast. Yet, for some reason, we will never see this shirt being used as the Chinese FA rejected the design at the last minute and had them removed from the shelves. It’s such a shame for us fans.

So ladies and gentlemen, take a good, long look… this is 2018’s best football shirt!
- Pedro

Astounding really is the fact that the Chinese FA rejected this design at the last minute, given the rip-roaring commercial success of Nigeria's Home shirt worldwide, but nonetheless it existed and therefore we can admire it. A stunning Dragon pattern covers the main body of the shirt and is highlighted by a golden crest and Nike logo - fitting for such an outstanding creation. To be dangled in front of us and snatched away at the last moment is so cruel. The ultimate one that got away?
- Chris

Surely, you’re not shocked to see this is number 1. The insanely slick silver Chinese dragon design is honestly one of the most artistic things I’ve ever seen on a football shirt, and it works perfectly. It really engages you and captures your imagination, and Nike have certainly outdone themselves with this. The only slight negative is the neon yellow choice for the badge and Nike logo, but even then, it doesn’t take away from such a majestic shirt.
- Apollo

Although this kit may never be worn, it is possibly one of the most unique, classy and patriotic kits out. It was rejected by the Chinese FA at the last minute, but a numbers of players have spoken up about the kit and what it would mean to them if they were able to wear it.

With the kit itself inspiring players to defend the honour of Chinese football, it really shows us what a good design can do for not just fans, but the players who put them on.
- Dane

Have you heard the story of Tantalus?

A king of ancient Phrygia, he committed a grave sin by sharing secrets of the Gods with humans. His punishment, upon death, was to stand loosely tied to a tree rooted near a pool of water. If he bent down to take a sip of water, the water receded. If he reached up to grab a fruit from the tree, the wind blew the branches just out of his reach.

It is from the name Tantalus that we get the word tantalising. And China’s away shirt, which blew just out of our reach as we were about to grab it, is exactly that. The fact we never got to enjoy this on the pitch only adds to its legend.
- Phil

A lot has been written about this shirt so I will keep it simple.Two words:


- Alec

The Top 100 shirts of 2018

Rank Shirt  
1 China Away Read more
2 Nigeria Home Read more
3 Germany Away Read more
4 Japan Home Read more
5 Corinthians Third Read more
6 Mexico Away Read more
7 Parma Third Read more
8 Leeds Away Read more
9 Boca Juniors Away Read more
10 Parma Away Read more
11 Newcastle Away Read more
12 New Zealand Away Read more
13 Inter Third Read more
14 Croatia Away Read more
15 Real Betis Third Read more
16 Parma Home Read more
17 V-Varen Nagasaki Away Read more
18 Brondby Away Read more
19 Clapton CFC Away Read more
20 Marseille Away Read more
21 Argentina Away Read more
22 Colombia Home Read more
23 Galatasaray Third Read more
24 Jamaica Away Read more
25 Gremio Home Read more
26 Real Betis Away Read more
27 Tottenham Third Read more
28 Germany Home Read more
29 Lazio Home Read more
30 Everton Third Read more
31 Tigres Home Read more
32 Houston Dynamo Away Read more
33 Portland Timbers Home Read more
34 Shimizu S-Pulse Home Read more
35 Bayern Munich Home Read more
36 AIK Special Read more
37 Aston Villa Home Read more
38 Chapecoense Home Read more
39 Al-Ahli Third Read more
40 UNAM Pumas Home Read more
41 Chelsea Home Read more
42 Peru Home Read more
43 Chapecoense Away Read more
44 Cameroon Home Read more
45 RB Leipzig Third Read more
46 Barcelona Third Read more
47 Man City Away Read more
48 Jubilo Iwata Home Read more
49 Porto Third Read more
50 Atletico Madrid Third Read more
51 Rangers Away Read more
52 PSG Third Read more
53 Torino Third Read more
54 LAFC Home Read more
55 Hellas Verona Third Read more
56 Tibet Home Read more
57 Iceland Away Read more
58 Belarus Home Read more
59 FC Copenhagen Read more
60 Fiorentina Home Read more
61 Napoli Away Read more
62 Vitesse Away Read more
63 Cruzeiro Home Read more
64 UNAM Pumas Away Read more
65 CD Leganes Third Read more
66 Hertha Berlin Away Read more
67 Sampdoria Home Read more
68 Orlando Pirates Home Read more
69 Senegal Away Read more
70 France Away Read more
71 Torino Home Read more
72 Bayern Munich Away Read more
73 South Korea Read more
74 Canada Home Read more
75 Netherlands Away Read more
76 CD Leganes Away Read more
77 Stuttgart Third Read more
78 Juventus Away Read more
79 Werder Bremen Home Read more
80 Nice Home Read more
81 Colombia Away Read more
82 Kaizer Chiefs Home Read more
83 Napoli Third Read more
84 West Ham Away Read more
85 Fulham Home Read more
86 Juventus Third Read more
87 USA Away Read more
88 Dinamo Bucharest Home Read more
89 Corinthians Away Read more
90 Atlanta United Away Read more
91 USA Home Read more
92 Saint-Étienne Home Read more
93 Spain Away Read more
94 Iceland Home Read more
95 Ajax Away Read more
96 Real Betis Home Read more
97 PSG Away Read more
98 Cape Town City FC Home Read more
99 Red Star Belgrade Home Read more
100 Portugal Away Read more

Once again a huge thank you to all who have read these blogs.

Stay tuned to FOOTY.COM for lots more shirt related content. In the coming days I’ll be pulling out some of the interesting stats and things we can learn from 2018 and we move into 2019.

What will the year hold for football shirts? Which brands are sitting on top of the pile, and who’s looking up at them?

Let’s talk about it.

Phil Delves

Grab a brew, and let's talk about subliminal geometric patterns.