Subside Sports Football Shirt Of The Year 2021 - In association with Spark Design Academy

Subside Sports Football Shirt Of The Year 2021 - In association with Spark Design Academy
Subside Sports Football Shirt of the Year 2021 in association with Spark Design Academy



1) Adidas Ajax 3rd 2021-2022

You must have spent the summer living under a rock to have missed this release. Possibly the most sought after shirt of the year the design spoke out to a wider audience beyond fans of the Amsterdam club. Shirt collectors and music fans around the world clamoured for this release from day one, meaning it sold out nearly instantly for nearly six months before Adidas could manufacture more. Taking inspiration from Bob Marley’s song Three Little Bird’s which was played to entertain the travelling support in 2008 at an away friendly at Cardiff City. The club has since adopted the song as a pre-match anthem. Marley himself was a huge football fan and would often request to train with or play against pro-teams in the cities he was touring, famously stating "If you want to get to know me, you will have to play football against me and the Wailers."

2) Adidas FC Bayern Munich 3rd 2021-2022

Inspired by the Wetterstein mountains and the Alps that surround the city of Munich in the colours of the Bavarian Staatsflagge the design was an instant hit with Bayern fans when it debuted in the DFB-SuperCup against Dortmund. Another of Adidas’ 2021 releases that looks just as good worn casually as it does on the pitch. The shirt looks more like something designed by a snowboarding brand and echoes Alpine sweaters with the hot-red details only accenting the Gemütlichkeit “feels.” The shirt is manufactured using Adidas’ Primegreen material that uses 0% “virgin” polyester, part of the German brand’s commitment to use no virgin polyester in any of its products by the end of 2024.

3) Adidas Boca Juniors Home Shirt 2021-2022

Diego Maradona’s untimely and tragic death towards the end of 2020 brought a wave of shirts inspired by his glorious career. So it was no surprise then when Adidas unveiled this entry as Boca’s new home shirt in August. The fact that it debuted 6 games into the season may suggest it was hastily redesigned following the Argentinian legend’s passing. If this was the case it didn’t hinder the execution as the sleek reinterpretation of the shirt Maradona wore whilst inspiring Boca to the Metropolitano title 40 years prior, is as close to retro perfection as anyone can get. The design reintroduced the club’s royal blue and gold scheme with the 80s four-star “CABJ” acronym crest. The only minor criticism collectors may have had was the usage of Adidas’ modern Performance logo rather than the classic Trefoil as used on the 1981 original. A few lucky collectors have been able to get their hands on the Heat Dry (pro-version) of the kit featuring Adidas’ latest technical innovations but due to the weak Argentinian Peso the version was never produced for retail.

4) Adidas Germany Away 2021-2022

Ok, this may on the surface at least, be a very “basic” pick. Face value, yes - it’s yet another blackout shirt. Yawn, right? However after the catastrophe of their World Cup defence in 2018 and their “patchy” form going into Euro 2020 (including a 6-0 demolition by Spain and THAT historic 2-1 defeat at home to North Macedonia) this shirt nearly restored Germany’s pride and expectation in Die Mannschaft…until it was worn in the home draw to Hungary and the Last 16 loss to England. Whereas now it will be forever remembered as being worn by Thomas Müller slumped on his knees with his head in his hands on the Wembley turf.

5) Nike Club America 3rd 2020-2021

Released way back in January 2021 this shirt was always an early contender for Shirt Of The Year. An extrapolation of the club’ 2008 Goalkeeper shirt based on Aztec Eagle Warriors the design uses a monochromatic pattern sublimated onto a plain white background. Thankfully, as pointed out by Rob Warner of Spark Design Academy the sponsors each “took one for the team” in allowing their logos to be blended in with the design. Several collectors reported issues with wonky crests in the centre of the shirt giving it a “googly eye” appearance, but even after that it is still a pretty universally loved shirt.

6) Nike Inter Milan Home 2021-2022

Another obvious contender for Shirt Of The Year, the Inter Home jersey was the most radical redesign in the club’s history and is a monument to the club’s laughing in the face of the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After winning the club’s first Scudetto in 11 years, out went their inspirational manager, top scorer and star wingback and they arguably built a better team. Similarly with the home shirt out went the club’s crest of 14 years, their iconic Pirelli sponsor of 26 years and most shockingly their legendary nerazzurri stripes; replaced by a graduated snakeskin pattern paying homage to the Biscione grass snake that is the historic symbol for the Duchy of Milan. The finished design is an all time classic that will be remembered for decades to come.


7) Puma Borussia Dortmund 3rd 2021-2022 (representing the whole template)

Love it or hate it there is no debate the Puma Third Shirt template is the most discussed, tweeted, memed, blogged, filmed, $#!+ posted and (thanks to Chat Shirt) burned shirt of 2021. If the winner was selected as the Time Magazine Person of the Year is, "for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year" there is absolutely no doubt THIS IS THE SHIRT OF THE YEAR. We chose Dortmund to represent the whole template for the battle the club’s supporters had to get the crest reinstated on the shirt. Puma CEO Björn Gulden later issued an apology stating “We really took the feedback to heart and will take it into account for future jerseys.” Suggesting it will have influence over Puma’s design strategy for the foreseeable future.


8) Kappa Venezia Home 2021-2022

When Kappa were announced as Venezia’s new kit supplier only 2 months before the start of their first Serie A season in 19 years, and that there would be 4 kits, all designed by third party design agency Fly Nowhere. Fans and collectors may have been concerned that the Arancioneroverdi's run of iconic kits would be over with the departure of Nike. Released a mere 3 weeks before the start of the season, the shirt quickly became one of the most desirable shirts in the world. Elevating the tired Black & Gold cliche with unique details; like the texture inspired by the cracked walls of the city and the golden stars from the Basilica di San Marco. Another shirt where demand outstripped supply it sold out pretty much instantly before Kappa could restock the club shop but have not been able to fulfil retail demand.


9) Adidas Japan Home Centenary 2021 - Chat Shirt Nominee

“There are box sets & then there are box sets. The Adidas JFA 100 year anniversary shirt was designed as a tribute to celebrate the centenary of the Japanese football federation. It honours the team Japan sent to the 1936 Olympics, their first international tournament - resplendent in sky blue, not the familiar “samurai blue”. But this shirt is about the detailing - the fine gold 1921-2021 graphic in the neck, the manufacturer logos in a discreet tonal shade - & the fine stitching on the Hinomaru badge is. Adding into this, the paulownia box, with many collectable cards & booklet outlining the history of the Japanese international team makes this a worthy standout in 2021” - Chris Matic, @ChatShirt


10) Nike Inter Milan 3rd 2021-2022 - Spark Design Academy Nominee

In the words of Spark Design Academy’s Craig Buglass “Technology costs money!” and Nike’s revised Dri-Fit technology is dripping with the latest tech. From the Adv Dri-Fit material made with 75% recycled fibres that maximises moisture-wicking and breath-ability, heat bonded seams, low profile rubberised buttons and the heat pressed logos to minimise abrasions, this jersey showcases all of the latest innovations in modern sportswear. This combined with a modern reinterpretation of the club’s classic 1989 away design in neon hyper-colour reminiscent of the future scenes from Back to the Future II, that represents the club’s founding principles of inclusivity of people from across the globe make for a modern day classic.

5 January 2022
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13 January 2022