What better time than now to dip the pen again for the Bookies Basement, it’s World Cup time! I could sit here and rattle on about which players are good and which national teams will disappoint their homelands (looking at you USA), but first we start with the important matters: the kits!
The World Cup has long been a home for the creative and provocative in soccer aesthetics. In the modern age, some World Cup kits become instant classics, and become almost a rare fashion item. It’s been over four years and I still can’t find a Nigeria 2018 away kit that isn’t bootleg.
Listing all 32 teams would be slightly monotonous reading, and writing if I’m being honest, so this will be a look at what I believe are the highlights and best-looking teams at the upcoming World Cup.
But first, let’s take a quick look at every kit thanks to this handy graphic I did not make:
A healthy range of variety here. Some teams went with bold designs, some teams went with instantly recognizable classics, and others have fallen victim to Puma’s disastrous templates. Let’s get to the standouts:
Inspired by the art of origami, Japan’s World Cup kits feature vivid patterns, particularly the home blue kit. A much bolder look than Japan’s 2018 home kit which was rather sleek, the home blue is instantly eye-catching. Add in the bright yellow numbers adorning the front and back and it’s a jersey that will live fondly in the memory for World Cups to come. The white/black away kit with fewer patterns is a cleaner look and might be the best away kit in Japan’s World Cup history.
Inspired by the first Germany World Cup shirt, the home kit is crisp and clean, especially with the golden badge emblazoned across the chest. To me, one of the best features of a World Cup kit is being identifiable to the country wearing it, and Germany passes in flying colors here. The away red/black kit with golden trim is a more dynamic offering, and according to Adidas, “The away jersey captures the spirit of the team, using the colors of the national flag and blurring the ‘D’ of ‘Deutschland’ to reflect the dynamic football played by the squad.”
I’ve left these rankings somewhat intentionally vague, not to pick one outright best or worst, but if there’s one single kit that I think is the best at the 2022 World Cup, it’s Mexico’s away kit paying homage to Mexico’s indigenous roots. The subtle change, a few shades darker than Mexico’s standard bright green and red offerings is easy on the eye, and the art throughout the away kit has immediately made it the most popular kit Adidas has released for this World Cup. Mexico’s home look is lovely as well, the geometric patterns noticeable up close, but a classic kit on your television screen. Good luck trying to find a not-bootleg version of the away kit.
France in the Nike era have looked their best when opting for a clean kit, and it doesn’t get much cleaner than the navy and gold home look. For the first time, the famous French kit will feature two stars above their famous emblem after winning 2018’s World Cup in Russia. The away kit features light floral patterns, and according to Nike, “iconic French and Les Bleus imagery like the Cockerel, Arc de Triomphe, and Clairefontaine”. Those details might not be entirely visible/distinguishable but offer a nice bit of contrast in the design that adds depth to the white away shirt.
Morocco is the lone Puma kit I include in my group of five here, primarily because they escaped the strange number box template seen on most Puma away kits during this World Cup. The home kit is a modernization of the 1998 World Cup kit, and the away shirt is a clean look with a grey stripe down the middle. The geometric pattern surrounding the number on the away kit is a great look, and the colors are clean. Morocco may not make much noise at the tournament, so watch these kits on the pitch while you can.