Football Features

The best and worst 2021/22 kits confirmed or ‘leaked’ so far

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 12:30, 18 May 2021

With 2020/21 entering its final weeks, that most revered time in football is upon us: it’s new kit season!

Everyone’s new threads for 2021/22 are either being released or leaked and we’re now getting a better picture of what our favourite footballers will be wearing next season as the game gladly welcomes fans back into stadiums.

But how good are these new kits? Or rather, how bad? Well, we’ve had a look at what has been released or leaked so far and come up with the five best and five worst kits so far (well, five-ish). Which kits are which? Read on and find out! Disagree with any of our picks? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

The Best

5. Atlético Madrid home & away

Atlético Madrid feel like champions-elect in La Liga, and if they do follow through and win the title they will be able to defend it in style next season with a home and away kit both equally worthy of praise.

The home number is a rough-and-ready take on their classic kit with the white stripes on the kit having a rough painted effect that matches Atletico’s intense but rugged approach. Meanwhile, the away kit is a classic Atletico navy blue with a touch of red brushed onto the bottom corner of the shirt. It’s a good look.

4. Inter Milan home

This is another Nike rework of a classic look as the traditional black and blue stripes of Inter are replaced by light blue on deep navy, but with the clean lines replaced by a more interesting, snakeskin design both in terms of large patterns and the tiny tiles that cover the entire kit. The only thing holding this kit back could be the new sponsor not having a logo as eternally beautiful as Pirelli.

3. Liverpool away

In football, the simple things are often the best. Liverpool’s new away kit is a beautifully subtle cream design which really makes the red logo pop off the shirt. It’s a callback to the cream away kit from the mid-’90s but the problem is the collar Nike have attached (compared to the rounded collar of the old kit) is a dated bit of design and brings the whole thing down several notches.

2. PSG home

Jordan Brand have released their first PSG home kit and while it can’t possibly live up to their legendary blackout kit from a few years ago, it is still a stunning shirt based around a simple monochrome navy kit with white lettering and a delightful circular collar that incorporates the red from the club crest and matches the trim on the sleeves. This is minimalist beauty.

1. Bayern Munich away

Yes, minimalism and clean lines are cool, but a well-applied bit of design can be so much cooler. Now, Bayern are brilliant but you’d never associate them with being cool. Their new away kit will go a long way to address that image, however. With its gold on black design, this shirt screams FC Hollywood and is sure to become a streetwear sensation in 2022. Bayern the new drip gods? Stranger things have happened.

The… what?

Real Madrid and Liverpool home

Great teams are partly great because their kits are iconic. You know who they are when you see them, even if the kit isn’t quite the sharpest. So dressing up great teams to look like not-so-great teams will never make sense. Thus we come to Real Madrid’s home kit dressing the 13-time Champions League winners up as the LA Galaxy and Liverpool’s new home kit seeing them cosplaying as Roma with Photoshop’s contrast turned up a bit. Just… why?

The Worst

5. Juventus first & third

Juventus’ third kit is a patchwork disaster with giant blocks of colour. It’s so ugly in an utterly bland and inoffensive way. This is horrendous. Also, Juventus’ home kit is a gorgeous take on their classic black and white stripes that is utterly ruined by a garish, bright blue “4XE” sticker slapped on the front. If the Old Lady aren’t in the Champions League next season then viewers will be glad to have them out of their sight.

4. Spurs third

This looks like a Photoshop filter threw up on a bunch of textile samples on the floor of a tailor in downtown Rawalpindi. Seriously, this might be the ugliest freaking shirt ever designed, and the only reason it’s not No.1 is that it’s so ugly it comes back around and is at least visually arresting and interesting. Not in a good way, of course, but it’s something, right?

3. Manchester United away

All of Manchester United’s shirts in 2021-22 are terrible, in part because new sponsor TeamViewer has a terrible logo. However, that logo is the least of their problems for this away kit which is a monstrous reincarnation of a visually interesting blue and white away shirt from the early ’90s. But while that shirt had an interesting geometric pattern on the front, this thing has a bunch of faded lines that look like someone left a smudge on the original pattern then blew it up and copied it across the whole shirt anyway. This is bland and ugly. Blugly.

2. Barcelona home

Having released an incredible trio of Barcelona kits in 2020-21, Nike were due to swing for the fences again in 2021-22 and they’ve done just that with a design that probably sounded cool on paper but in practice has not worked. Instead of the usual Blaugrana stripes, this has three different stripe patterns mirroring the different patterns in the Barcelona badge — but unlike the badge, they’re all the same two colours, so the shirt just looks like a ransom note a serial killer has clipped together from different magazines.

1. Chelsea home

Nike are at it again, only this time it’s worse somehow. Instead of the quite simple “blue shirt, blue shorts” combo for Chelsea, Nike have instead infused the new shirt with two clashing patterns. On the very left we have a chequered pattern between classic Chelsea blue and a darker blue, which stops around the badge and is replaced by a WinAMP visualization of indiscriminate and uneven pattern that radiates out from behind the sponsor’s logo.

That alone would be bad enough but Nike decided to add a yellow strip down the side of both shirts and shorts for reasons we’ve yet to ascertain despite tasking a team of data scientists to solve that exact mystery. We’ve seen this kit in action already in two cup finals and Chelsea lost them both, which admittedly wasn’t down to the shirts but it didn’t make the defeats any easier to take.