Third kits are a curious thing.
Designed to help avoid the rare but frustrating instance when both home and away kits of a visiting side clash, they’ve now grown into yet another marketing arm for clubs and often a home for kit-makers to really flex their creative muscle and take some risks.
With the majority of Premier League clubs having released their third kits for the 2019/20 season, we decided to have a look through them and pick out the three best and three worst. Disagree with any of our picks? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!
Third Best: Arsenal
Arsenal are absolutely smashing it this season in terms of kits. Their home is flawless, the away is weaponised nostalgia rivalled only by the climax of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and now we have this delicious third kit. The blue is rich and draws you in, allowing the yellow to really pop. The fit is nice, the collar is good – basically this is just a glorious third shirt.
Third Worst: Norwich
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Norwich third kit but it is almost unspeakably bland. Grey should never be an option for football kits. England fluked it once in 1996 but that was a miracle and cannot be replicated. Also the collar here ends up making the kit just look like a really expensive polo shirt with DAFABET written on the front of it. And what the hell is that arm patch?!
Second Best: Chelsea
Chelsea may well be in for a rough old time on the pitch this season but they’ll damn sure look good in the process as long as they’re wearing their third kit. Clearly this is aimed as more of a “lifestyle” kit as black goes with everything and the collar is absolutely bonkers but somehow works because honestly orange on black just looks cool. The white trim and letter is simple enough and pops nicely against the subtle pattern on the shirt and the retro Nike logo adds a final touch of class. America will eat this up.
Second Worst: Bournemouth
This is an interesting attempt to do something bright and eye-catching but in the end it looks like a cheap knockoff you’d buy in a market stall somewhere. It doesn’t help Bournemouth that their sponsor’s logo is hideous, but they’ve also gone for a volt colour but with the saturation turned down so it just looks like the inside of a lime after you’ve left it on the kitchen counter for a day or two.
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The Best: Spurs
Spurs’ motto is “to dare is to do” and for once Nike have followed that motto instead of going for some copy-paste palette-swap nonsense. Nike’s vibrant cyan kit just explodes all over your eyeballs with a pattern that you can almost ignore but adds so much when you actually look at it up close. The retro Nike logo is for all the nostalgia heads, the collar looks good done up or unbuttoned and as always Spurs’ AIA sponsors have a logo that blends into the trim of the kit in a delightful navy blue. This is a masterpiece.
The Worst: Manchester City
Remember when Barcelona were the best side in the world and Nike decided that people were going to buy their kits no matter what they looked like, so made them dress up like a reversed Tequila Sunrise? Well now Manchester City are the best side in the world, Puma are obviously going for a similar flex. But whereas Barcelona’s 12/13 away kit was a close miss thwacking off the stanchion, City’s 18/19 third kit is blazed all the way out of the stadium with so much air it’s got Michael Jordan feeling tremendously insecure.
What in the hell were Puma smoking here? City look like a bad mocktail. The kit starts off in some jaundiced yellow then fades into a tasteful pink before abruptly ending at the shorts, and for the socks we’re back to jaundice. The pink is a nice colour and they’ve put it on by far the most boring part of any kit. If you put the pink at the top and then had it fade into a yellowish colour (certainly not the abomination they chose) and then have that run the rest of the length of the kit then fair enough. But this? This is an atrocity and Puma’s designers should be sent to The Hague and put on trial.