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Top 8 Shirts released so far this summer - Cambridge on top

It was a tough job, but amongst a quality field I've selected my favourite 8 shirts released so far this summer.

Top 8 Shirts released so far this summer - Cambridge on top

Kit release season is well underway, and things are going even better than expected.

With a number of major releases still to come, we’ve already been treated to a wide range of stunning shirts from across the world. Every brand has been getting in on the act, and even at this early stage 2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for kit design.

I was originally planning to wait until we’d seen the majority of kit releases before producing a Top 8 list, but given the quality of what we’ve seen over the past few months I couldn’t resist some early rankings.

To keep things concise I’ve only included new club shirts, but of course there have been a number of beautiful women's international shirts including several at the World Cup.

Have a read and see if your favourite made the list.

1. Cambridge United Away Shirt

cambridge united shirt
Image from hummel.

hummel are coming alive in 2019, and amongst the designs from their impressive portfolio my favourite is the new Cambridge United away shirt.

The kit channels United’s ‘93 away shirt, but this is far more than just a simple remake of an old kit. In combination with the busy and beautiful pattern, elements like the sponsor and club crest find their place too thanks to some great colour choices. And back to the pattern itself, we have an intriguing design which looks like an artistic experiment involving paint and litmus tests. I mean that in the most positive sense, and there are few recent kits which have managed to successfully capture what made the 90s so special as well as this.

2. AIK Away Shirt

aik shirt
Image from ProDirect.

AIK have carved out a space in the football shirt world over the past few years, producing a series of beautiful kits including their now iconic ‘blackout’ designs. These all-black shirts are not the only arrows in their quiver however, as their new away shirt stands tall amongst anything I’ve seen this year.

The typically clean white base in complemented with a wonderful tri-coloured central stripe, and the black/yellow looks stunning alongside the memorable AIK crest. This is Nike at their best and we are all the beneficiaries.

3. PSV Away Shirt

psv shirt
Image from Umbro.

The first of 4 Umbro shirts on this list, PSV come away in bronze position, though in truth you could put any of the Umbro shirts in this position or even higher.

What I love most about the PSV shirt is that the wavy checkerboard pattern is both aesthetically pleasing and relevant to the club. Look across PSV kits of the past and you’ll see checkerboards (as seen in the flag of the Dutch province North Brabant) popping up, and this new take is a new take on the look. Good sleeves go a long way for me, and the colour scheme of black and orange is an underutilised combo in football.

4. V-Varen Nagasaki Peace Shirt

v-varen nagasaki shirt
Image from hummel.

A few seasons ago hummel began one of the most beautiful football shirt initiatives, producing yearly kits for the Japanese team V-Varen Nagasaki to commemorate the Nagasaki atomic bomb. These ‘Peace Jerseys’ have consistently been a design masterpiece, and the latest edition is no different.

There’s something remarkably playful about the design, almost like a child has taken a blue pencil to the shirt, and whilst the busyness of the look will put off a number of people it’s right up my street.

5. West Ham Away Shirt

Image from West Ham.

This is one of the most talked about shirts this summer, and West Ham and Umbro deserve all the praise they are getting. Like Cambridge we have a shirt inspired by the past, but again this is far from just a token nod to a retro design.

You could argue that outside of the delightful collar and cuffs this is not far off a plain white shirt, but I would argue that Umbro have shown the world that the best designs are often some of the simplest. In an era where many brands are seemingly overthinking things and trying to be clever with unusual templates and dodgy necklines, Umbro have swam against the tide to great effect.

6. Derby County Home Shirt

Image from Umbro.

We talked about great sleeve design with the PSV shirt, and Derby are pulling the same trick this year with their new home kit. And my goodness what a kit. This reminds me a lot of Juve’s brilliant zebra-esque third shirt from a couple of seasons back, and the strict usage of just black and white is pleasing on the eye.

I had my doubts that Umbro could reach the heights of 2018/19, but if anything they’ve not only matched it but gone one better.

7. Hull City Home Shirt

hull city shirt
Image from Umbro.

Hull’s early 90s tiger striped kit is one of the most iconic designs ever, and it seems strange that the club haven’t tried to replicate the magic in the two decades since then. It was worth the wait though, as Umbro (who else?) have done a masterful job evoking the kit which will no doubt delight a new generation of Hull fans, and kit fans in general.

I would’ve loved to have seen more stripes across the whole of the shirt, but that is a small criticism considering how effective the look of the kit is as a whole. It’s cruel to see a shirt this good in 7th place, but it says more about the quality of the shirts this year as opposed to the quality of the Hull shirt in particular.

8. Fortuna Düsseldorf Third Shirt

fortuna dusseldorf shirt
Image from uhlsport.

The new Fortuna Düsseldorf third shirt is a lot of fun, with a wave of red and white across the shirt creating a striking shirt. But the fun doesn’t stop there, the Fortuna crest is also glow in the dark, which is a great touch and something which I can’t recall seeing on a shirt before.

Even without the gimmick though, this is lovely work from uhlsport. If the brand can produce more designs with as much flair as this, they’ll be one of the fastest rising names to look out for in future seasons.

There were several shirts who could’ve justifiably found themselves somewhere on these rankings, and it’s exciting to think that we still have plenty to chew on with months of shirt releases to come.

If your favourite didn’t make the list complain to me on Twitter. And if you’re after a bargain shirt deal, check out my Discount Kits Tracker which features cheap shirts under £10, £20 and £30 and is updated weekly.

Phil Delves

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