Third kits for the new season have been dropping en masse this week as clubs across Europe complete their matchday wardrobes for the 2021-22 season.
Rather than release its latest jerseys one club at a time, Puma instead opted for a 10-pronged launch on Wednesday which saw new third alternate shirts introduced for the likes of Manchester City, AC Milan, Valencia, Borussia Monchengladbach and Marseille. That approach was logical, as Puma released an entire collection of kits based on the exact same template.
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The manufacturer said it sought to deconstruct the conventions of football shirt design by removing the club crests from the traditional position on the chest and repositioning them on the back, tucked just below the collar. The various crests are also present in the graphic used on each shirt, embedded within the fabric in the form of an all-over “wallpaper” print.
Furthermore, we see the standard crests and logos replaced by a large band bearing the club name stretched across the chest, with all respective sponsors tacked underneath — because this bold re-envisioning of all that a football shirt can be obviously doesn’t extend to fiddling with commercial revenue.
While intended to challenge norms and present kit design through a brave new lens, the resulting designs are actually rather jarring — especially for the traditionalists among us — and generally serve to give them all an air of basic training wear.
If we were being polite, we’d say that the general reaction to Puma’s new template has been mixed.
When you have all summer to design 6 kits and you leave it all to the hour before the deadline. https://t.co/4YiYQvOTKv
— Paul Watson (@paul_c_watson) August 18, 2021
Puma have to be stopped pic.twitter.com/AHXMkakFd4
— No Score Draws (Sian & Alex) (@CheapPanini) August 18, 2021
The new Man City third kit has landed. pic.twitter.com/obVHz3NRX9
— These Football Times (@thesefootytimes) August 18, 2021
Very funny Man City, very funny. Now show us the real third shirt, please.
— Ryan Bailey (@RyanJayBailey) August 18, 2021
Puma kits be like pic.twitter.com/GI17dddvcb
— Football Ramble (@FootballRamble) August 18, 2021
Here’s a closer look at the 10 Puma jerseys and how they stack up.
Claudio Villa/AC Milan via Getty Images
The best of a fairly meagre bunch, Milan have enough style inherent in their iconic crest and Rossoneri club colours to just about pull off their new third kit.
A passable effort, but we can’t imagine City’s new third strip is going to be a big seller in the club megastore to help recoup the £100 million transfer fee they just paid out for Jack Grealish, never mind the nine-figure sum they are still hoping to invest in Harry Kane.
Valencia suffer horribly due to having no shirt sponsor to speak of, giving their plain and gaudy prime colours a distinct “off-brand” vibe.
There’s a little more to be said for Gladbach’s variation on the theme, with the angular club crest and vivid, eye-catching trim at least serving to create a design that borders on being visually interesting.
You know something must be fundamentally wrong with your kit when you’re making flair player Dimitri Payet and his fabulous man-bun look dreary and drab.
An oversized sponsor logo stands Rennes’ shirt out from the crowd, but it’s another item of French clothing that is anything but chic.
Shakhtar will be playing in a gorgeous fiery orange shirt at home this season and a classy black pinstriped kit on the road. Here’s hoping the Ukrainian team’s garish third doesn’t get so much as a look-in.
A prematch warm-up kit by any other name, you’d expect to see Mesut Ozil wearing this while casually juggling the ball under the floodlights before a Europa League game.
Krasnodar have been jilted with the most humdrum design of them all. It’s perilously close to being a plan white t-shirt, though the name of the club being written in Cyrillic script is a nice touch.
Mint green and black, PSV’s shirt is hampered by wordy sponsor logos on the front and stretched out across the back. It’s as if the kit was designed solely using Microsoft Word.