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Top 8 Best of the rest Football Kits of 2019 - Swimming with dolphins

Because I hate to leave anyone out, I'm pulling together shirts from some brands you may not have heard of.

Top 8 ‘Best of the rest’ Football Kits of 2019 - Swimming with dolphins

Football shirts are the great leveller.

From a financial or brand awareness perspective the kit industry is, like many others, top heavy. Nike and adidas find themselves at the summit, engaged in a duel which shows no signs of letting up, whilst a bunch of other not-quite-as-large brands like Puma and Umbro nip at their giants heel, occasionally striking a blow or two. And further below these legendary names are a host of more humble companies.

Many of these contenders have enjoyed their moment in the sun, and in fact they could justifiably argue they deserve to be in at least the second category. New Balance after all can claim to have sponsored a Champions League-winning side. Kelme once worked with the mighty Real Madrid, incidentally creating some of my favourite Los Blancos looks.

It is amongst these brands where you often find the more daring, flamboyant creations in the football shirt world. This is where you’ll find kits that have let their hair down a bit, and designs which put many much richer companies to shame.

So in that sense, football shirts level the playing field. Beautiful kits aren’t exclusively made by the biggest brands. They can be found in every crack of the industry pyramid.

Here are 8 hidden gems worth discovering.

NOTE: This blog will be updated with any new hummel kits that come out following the initial publication date

8. Parma 2019/20 Third Kit - Erreà

Image from Erreà.

Last season Parma were arguably the team when it came to kits. It’s impossible to overstate how strong a collection they had, with all 3 kits ranking inside our own Top 100 list for the year (with the away and third inside the Top 10).

The 2019 set perhaps doesn’t reach those lofty heights, but the new third kit does its best to make some waves. A bold phoenix graphic takes centre, and though it’s not the most refined pattern you’ll see this season, it’s certainly one of the more memorable ones.

7. Fortuna Düsseldorf 2019/20 Third Kit - Uhlsport

Image from Uhlsport.

Fortuna Düsseldorf’s third kit has been on my radar for a while (sneaking into my Top 8 shirts of the summer list back in June), and it’s not lost any of its charm despite the deluge of recent releases.

The red and white wave across the front is a fun look, whilst a glow in the dark crest adds a further, intriguing twist. We’ll probably only see it a handful of times this year, but for my money this is one of the best kits in the Bundesliga.

6. SD Huesca 2019/20 Third Kit - Kelme

huesca third kit
Image from Kelme.

Remember that incredible China shirt which sadly never saw the light of day?

Kelme have created their own tribute for Spanish club Huesca, and the results are magnificent. Thrown into the mix is St George himself, and his battle with a dragon makes for a stunning backdrop on the shirt. If I was picky, I’d say the pattern wasn’t quite as intricate or beautiful at the China shirt. That’s a small criticism though, as this remains one of the best designs of the year.

5. Dundee United 2019/20 Home Kit - Macron

dundee united home kit
Image from Macron.

Macron are a truly global brand, sponsoring teams and countries across the full spectrum of world football, but their best work this year can be found relatively close to home in Scotland.

The beneficiaries are Dundee United, and their new home kit ticks all the boxes with a raft of tasteful retro details that strikes the perfect balance in terms of old and new ideas. The collar and cuff trim is a highlight, and the subtle diagonal shadow stripes take things to another level.

4. Newport County 2019/20 Away Kit - FBT

newport county away kit
Image from FBT.

Neal Heard is practically football shirt royalty, having authored one of the seminal works on the subject in 2017’s The Football Shirts Book. After designing Newport’s 2018/19 kits, Neal (a fan of the club) has retained the gig this season.

The end results are superb. Both the home and away boast unique designs represent the very best of the ‘creative nostalgia’ trend we’re seeing in 2019. The away shades it for me, with an all-over pattern that is more than a little bit hummel, in a very good way.

3. Costa Rica 2019/20 Gold Cup Kit - New Balance

Image from New Balance.

I’ve been a bit down on New Balance this year as a whole, but I have to eat my words seeing this design. Costa Rica have been gifted a black and gold look which I’ve been dying to put into a Top 8 list for some time now.

The line-based graphic that weaves its way across the chest is one of my favourite patterns this year across, and I can only hope that we see more looks like this from New Balance in 2020.

2. Mali 2019/20 Away Kit - Airness

mali away kit
Image from Airness.

Eagles are on a roll in the football shirt world. 2018 belonged in many ways to Nigeria’s Super Eagles. 2019 picked up where the previous year left off, with Tunisia’s stunning eagle-themed third kit (my favourite Kappa kit of this year).

But perhaps the boldest of all the eagles resides in Mali. Lesser-known French brand Airness have not only placed an intimidating looking bird in the centre of the chest (with its wings extending across the full width of the kit), they’ve covered the base of the shirt with a dotted, camo textural extravaganza. There’s a lot going on, which is just how I like my kits.

1. Pescara 2019/20 Away Kit - Erreà

pescara away kit
Image from Erreà.

We started this list with an Erreà shirt, and we’ll finish with one too. Pescara are a team who stood toe-to-toe with all other sides in terms of shirts in the early 90s, and in recent years they’ve somewhat revived their heritage.

Their 2019 away kit is a stunner in many ways. It starts with the colourway, with a multi-tone blue section blending into a vibrant yellow base. That pattern that’s formed as a result of the merge is beautiful, with the top of the yellow portion vaguely resembling wheat heads. One of the best crests in football doesn’t hurt either.

Honourable mentions

Standard Liege Third

Newport County Home

Porto Third

Northwich Home

Ecuador Home

Sampdoria Home

Bristol Rovers Home

Thank you for reading! If you’re ever looking to find some cheap football kits to top up your collection, we compare prices across hundreds of retailers to bring your bargains every stage of the season.

Phil Delves

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