15 worst football kits of 2020/21 - Hall of Shame
WARNING: sick buckets are strongly advised. We’re naming and shaming the worst kits of the season, and things are gonna get a little rough.
The world needs bad football shirts, just so we can appreciate all the good ones.
Since brands are becoming braver and bolder with their designs, it’s only natural that sometimes they’ll get things very wrong indeed. While we’ll always applaud an attempt to freshen things up, such experimentation can quickly lead to incredibly ugly (or downright hilarious) results.
This season has arguably been the most experimental yet, with new twists applied to some of the most iconic designs from all over the world. Some have turned into masterpieces which constantly keep my bank account on its toes, while others are such spectacular fails they deserve their very own YouTube compilation. There’s a very fine line between the two.
Although nothing’s really as bad as a “boring” design, we’re counting down all the worst football kits of 2020/21, from the bizarre to the vomit-inducing. Once you’ve got a sturdy sick bucket on standby, it’s time to take a deep breath and jump into the scariest of horror shows: the FOOTY.COM Hall of Shame.
READ | Our ranking of every single Premier League shirt for 2020/21.
15. Juventus - 2020/21 Third
Let’s start as we mean to go on, with something very brave and, unfortunately, very ugly. After experimenting with yellow, blue, pink, and pretty much every other colour under the sun, Juventus are expanding their palette once again with a combo which usually works really well. They definitely get an A+ for mixing things up again.
When used alongside such an exuberant pattern, however, these new shades of orange and black are almost enough to make the eyes bleed. You’ve got to give adidas credit for really rolling the dice here, but this essentially looks like one of those gimmicky kits you get on Ultimate Team, and it’s almost a mercy the pattern doesn’t continue onto the back. Yuck.
14. Tottenham Hotspur - 2020/21 Home
There’s just too much going on here. Spurs home kits are often accused of being a bit “bland” and “vanilla”, but now they’ve moved too far down the spectrum and sit comfortably in the “ugly” zone instead. It all falls apart somewhere between the clunky shoulder pattern and the all-over graphic, but there’s so much wrong with it I can’t pinpoint exactly where.
Maybe their new Amazon documentary will hold the answers, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
13. Harrogate Town - 2020/21 Home
Poor Harrogate Town. There’s not really a lot you can do when your sponsor involves a huge red box, but their previous kits incorporated it so much better than this. Aside from looking like players are wearing a pair of braces, the stripes are even obscured by the enormous Strata logo, seriously triggering some my OCD and ultimately making my right eye twitch a bit.
A perfectly fine football shirt completely ruined by the sponsor. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. Sigh.
12. Crystal Palace - 2020/21 Home
Oh, dear. Crystal Palace have always been blessed with one of those colour palettes which are pretty hard to get wrong, but there’s just no saving them from that hideous template. The broken stripes, the shoulder panels, the ugly (yet slightly improved) sponsor logo - this is a Puma disaster which is also way too blue for a Palace shirt. It’s a no from me.
11. Partick Thistle - 2020/21 Home
If you’re ever hosting a football-themed Halloween party, then Partick Thistle’s new home kit is undoubtedly the perfect costume. Sadly, nobody’s weird enough to throw such an event (believe me, I’ve looked), so that means this is just a rubbish football shirt which looks like it’s inexplicably dripping with blood.
To make matters worse, the stripes seem as though they’ve just been broken up to better display the sponsor, creating presumably the strangest ever advert for an employment law firm. Thanks to all the “blood”, this monstrosity has become a prime example of what a football shirt horror show looks like. I can still hear the screams.
10. Crewe Alexandra - 2020/21 Away
Some kits are so bad that they’re actually kinda good, but this isn’t one of those. The use of gold and black worked really well for Crewe last season, and it’s actually quite rare to see this colour palette go so terribly wrong. From the chunky white shoulders to the bizarre “oil spill” graphic, this new design from Football Thailand is a complete mess.
It’s the introduction of so much white which has really ruined things here, since it just feels completely unnecessary and there’s way too much happening. Even the fact it kinda resembles a pint couldn’t sway me on this one.
READ | Our rundown of the best Non-League kits of the season.
9. Borussia Dortmund - 2020/21 Home
You only need to look at Dortmund’s kit history to see how many beautiful shirts they’ve had over the years. The striking black and yellow is recognised all over the world, but now these iconic colours are hampered by a pattern which doesn’t quite land - even if the idea might be in the right place.
The striking lightning bolts definitely made us all sit up and take notice, and maybe things would be different if they continued onto the sleeves and back. As it is, we’re left staring at a shirt which sadly looks a little cheap, along with a truckload of Electabuzz memes and fading dreams of what might have been.
8. Inter Milan - 2020/21 Away
I really want to like this. Inter Milan have had some absolutely beautiful kits over the past few years (nay, decades), but this adventurous away shirt sadly sails way wide of the mark. Drawing inspiration from the Memphis design movement is all very well and good, but not when you end up with a football shirt, tea towel and picnic blanket all rolled into one.
It’s another prime example of a brand feeling brave enough to try something like this, but then ultimately not quite hitting the nail on the head. A few tweaks here and there, and maybe this would be considered some kind of modern masterpiece. Like I said, the lines between the “best” and “worst” shirts are very fine indeed.
7. KRC Genk - 2020/21 Third
Get your sunglasses at the ready, guys. This is the turquoise and lime green combo absolutely nobody wanted, and your eyes might feel a little strained if you stare at it for too long. From the sleeves to the sponsor to the badges, this shirt throws up so many clashes I’m not even sure where to start, even the poor guy in the picture looks completely fed up.
Excuse me, I’m just going to lie down in a dark room for a little while.
6. RB Leipzig - 2020/21 Away
There are no sickly patterns or graphics to digest here, and this is just all about that horrendous colour combination. The mixture of blue, yellow and orange unfortunately looks really cheap, as if a child has coloured it in after running out of all their favourite crayons. When you notice the appalling collar, you’ll be left wondering how such a simple shirt has gone so horribly wrong.
Of course, if you’re also averse to an enormous Red Bull logo, then you would’ve been put right off this shirt anyway. Either way, it’s a shocker.
5. Swansea City - 2020/21 Away
This is where that sick bucket might come in handy. I’m not even sure what’s worse here, the pattern or the colour, and it definitely feels like a joint effort to make me bring my lunch back up. Well, the jokes on you, Swansea, because this atrocious jelly-looking design has now got me reaching for some pudding instead.
I think it’s fair to say these terrible colours have killed any potential this template might have had, but at least Joma got things right for their home kit. Phew.
READ | Our ranking of the best 2020/21 Championship home kits.
4. Dundee United - 2020/21 Away
Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Dundee United’s new away kit is so bad, I initially thought it must be some kind of Paddy Power marketing stunt. But, no, it turns out this is just an absolutely diabolical football shirt, with outrageous colours, around 1 million sponsor logos, and what appears to be a tangerine tie.
The only redeeming factor here is that it’s been designed in partnership with Alzheimer’s Scotland, so at least there’s some meaning behind the bizarre colour choices. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from squeezing my eyes shut and praying it will just go away forever. Is it still there?
3. Juventus - 2020/21 Home
Last season, adidas caused uproar by getting rid of Juve’s traditional stripes. This season, they’ve caused uproar again by completely messing them up. Solution: stop playing around with one of the most iconic designs in world football. Please.
Of course, there’s only so much you can really do with black and white stripes, so you’ve got to appreciate the apparent desire to freshen things up. Unfortunately, brushstroke patterns can often look a little naff, and here they look like dirty tire tracks running over a perfectly good white shirt.
I’ve no idea why the neckline doesn’t match the cuffs, or whether the gold detailing is designed to make Ronaldo feel like he’s back in Madrid. All I know is my eye is twitching again.
2. Manchester City - 2020/21 Third
In the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “garish” no longer has a written definition, and instead just features a picture of this utter abomination. The new Man City third kit is fantastically over-the-top, but the sickly colours and outrageous print make me feel a little queasy every time I look at this. Yeah, it’s pretty bad.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the idea here. The eye-popping Paisley pattern draws inspiration from Manchester’s fashion and music scenes, with very clear nods towards Pretty Green and Oasis (even if they won’t admit it). The issue here is the execution, and the simple fact it looks like something you’d wear when having a mid-life crisis.
Maybe in a few years it will be right up my street, then.
1. Wolves - 2020/21 Away
In many ways, this is really impressive. It’s so rare to see a football shirt get everything so spectacularly wrong, that all we can really do is sit back and applaud. The new Wolves away kit is an absolute disaster, and we’re naming it the worst shirt of the year by quite some distance. I feel like a joke trophy may even be in order.
You only need to look at it, really. Just take a moment to breathe it all in: the horrendous pattern, the sickly colour clashes, the terrible sponsor. It all combines to make the worst out of what is already a fairly ugly template, and essentially looks like two or three shirts have been mashed inexplicably into one.
It’s a recipe where adidas have thrown in a bunch of random ingredients, hoped for the best, and inevitably come up with something that doesn’t sit well in the stomach. Still, it’s fair to say nobody else will be wearing a shirt quite like this next season, and that’s a mercy we should feel eternally grateful for.
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