One of the Greatest Kit Templates Ever?

Posted by John Devlin

Football kit templates are much maligned – unfairly in my view – as a lazy way to supply teams with kits. Whether the side is sponsored by a major brand or merely using a teamwear outfit, templates have always been around and they’re here to stay, especially with the average lifespan for a kit being a single season making totally unique designs for every club almost impossible

Its important though that, especially when it comes to teamwear, that the template designs keep moving forward. Nothing infuriates me more than a side adopting a design thats 2 or 3 seasons old purely for the sake of changing the strip.

The best templates allow for little tweaks here and there to make the designs a little more unique. It might be including non-contrasting collar and cuffs or simply revising slightly another design element.

After a mediocre 10-11 season kit-wise 11-12 is shaping up to be a cracker and some great templates are leading the way.

I realise this may be a controversial choice, but for me the latest Puma template as employed by their lower league sides is one of the greatest kit templates ever. Gushing words perhaps? After all it has attracted criticism by being worn by virtually every lower league and Scottish club on Puma’s roster. But its just a great design – simple, classic, flexible and, most importantly, it allows a combination or 2 or 3 colours to be incorporated into a kit without impinging on the overall integrity of the clubs identity by inserting unnecessary large panels of colour willy nilly. Puma’s branding is strong, without being overpowering and it could be said that it provides an almost anonymous design that is both practical and effective and provides a solid foundation for the club’s brand/tradition and primary sponsor logo to stand out.

With hints of the 70s and 80s all squeezed together its a functional kit template that just screams football.

Shirt variations include V-neck or collar, dual colour or single colour shoulder trim which can be applied on both sides or asymmetrically – it even can handle contrasting sleeves, hoops, stripes or in Motherwell’s case a chest panel without breaking swear. There’s even the odd shadow badge design in there too!

There are two types of shorts (although some Scottish clubs have opted for plain pairs) and two designs of socks, one with a single band and one with two.

There are a few anomalies, for example Crawley Town have decided to pair the shirt with last season’s Puma shorts and there some very slight variations on the template (such as Cardiff’s questionable third kit and the ‘training kit’ style third kits worn by Stevenage and Crawley that feature broaded trim down each sleeve) but on the whole the design options are consistent throughout the range.

puma

I’ve illustrated what I hope is the entire English and Scottish renditions of this great template (let me know if I’ve missed any!). It may take a while to load, click on the image to view at a larger size.
Top row, l-r, Burnley home, Burnley away, Cardiff home, Cardiff away, Colchester away, Partick Thistle away
Second row, l-r: Leyton Orient home, Leyton Orient away, Reading home, Reading away, Stevenage home, Dunfermline away
Third row, l-r: Preston home, Preston away, Rotherham home, Rotherham away, Hibernian away, Hibernian third
Fourth row, l-r: Crawley home, Crawley away, Sheffield Wednesday home, Sheffield Wednesday away, Dundee home, Dundee away
Fifth row, l-r: Stirling Albion home, Motherwell home, Motherwell away, Raith Rovers home, Raith Rovers away, Morecambe home
Sixth row, l-r: Greenock Morton home, Greenock Morton away


27 Responses to “One of the Greatest Kit Templates Ever?”

  1. Andy Burton Says:

    I whole-heartedly agree John!

  2. Waywardeffort Says:

    A really interesting post and it has got me thinking about what makes a really good kit template. I agree this Puma template is very nice and just to mention it is also being used b Cliftonville FC in the Irish League, with their away kit looking smart

    http://www.theredsshop.net/product/fe9d20e8-af5a-436c-9464-db9e38c15415.aspx

  3. Denis Hurley Says:

    Agree to an extent John. It’s a very nice template and certainly not one that’s overpowering, and the option for three colours is welcome.

    In contrast, the Nike templates rarely offer more than two colours and usually you can’t choose what colours are paired with what – the game between Southend and Oxford last night was a great example of why templates can be bad – not alone were the designs over a year old but both sides traditionally have had royal blue and feature navy now

  4. Denis Hurley Says:

    Oh and off-topic but hadn’t come across waywardeffort before, love the site! Liverpool were lying when they said the shirt for 92-93 would be unchanged except for the sponsor and crest though – the adidas logo was in a different spot too!

  5. Tim Says:

    I’ve heard nothing but negativity about these Puma kits and I generally hate Puma designs. I do love these however (although I wish they all had the stripes on both shoulders rather than some of them having just one set of stripes).

  6. David Burt Says:

    The Partick Thistle home strip is the same template just with pinstripes and no shoulder trim. It’s worn with last seasons red shorts and sometimes plain red socks when a clash occurs.

    http://www.ptfc.co.uk/media/photo_galleries/match_galleries/2011-2012/1307_motherwell/image_002

  7. vancanham Says:

    I agree completely. The Burnley and Dundee home strips look especially smart.

  8. Andrew Rockall Says:

    My favourites from these are Burnley H & A and Preston H. Reading & Morton’s kit works really well despite the hoops only being on the front of the shirt.

    I am not a fan of Sheff. Wed’s away kit, did you see it when they played Blackburn at Ewood in the League Cup? Awful!

  9. Anthony Says:

    Puma have really raised their game recently. I came to the exact same conclusions you have here in my round up of their shirts.

    Out of all the manufacturers it’s this Puma template that allows them to treat teams with the respect their fans deserve, even when there is no budget. Something that Adidas can’t even do for three of their Premier League teams.

    They are also the only designers who seem to be able stripes of any fashion properly. I hadn’t seen the Seffield Wednesday shirt and that handles vertical every bit as well as the hoops of Reading. I really like the way they can still incorporate the piping/stripes on the shoulders into those designs.

    There is a *lot* of thought in these shirts. Producing a template that flexible, that still manages to produce great shirts, is infinitely more challenging than producing expensive, one off designs for the big boys.

  10. Mark Jessop Says:

    I agree that this is an excellent template. Easilly recognisable as Puma yet versatile enough to be made into instantly recognisable, largely traditional kits.

    I’ve never really liked Puma as a brand but they really seem to be getting their act together as evidenced by the golf gear they are producing for the American golfer Ricky Fowler.

  11. Martyn Ping Says:

    It’s OK, but I think another German company, adidas, has the best current templates. As an FC Bayern fan, the new strips for this season, although related, use completely different collar and trim designs, and it’s the same throughout their roster- I’m thinking about Chelsea’s ‘net’ away and retro third, and Liverpool’s (controversial) third with the cool trim.

    I think that adidas have led the way for a few years now, probably since around 2006 with the organic curves they used on a lot of kits. Puma seemed to be on the right track with the ‘arm stripe’ asymetric kits of the same period, but have gone a bit ‘pedestrian’, and Nike haven’t produced a decent kit since about 2005…I also think Umbro’s design direction for the last few years has been bordering on the dull, which is a huge change from the days that they used to produce at least one classic design a season.

    One thing in closing, John, have you thought of focusing on overseas kits? there are some gorgeous kits out this season in Germany, and I particularly like the current Milan shirt in Italy (adidas again!). Other than that, keep up the good work!

  12. Tim Says:

    Martyn, your thoughts on football kits are almost the exact opposite of my own!

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment that I can’t stand it when they mess about with stripes and hoops the way they have with the Readng shirt. Hoops and stripes on the back and arms as well please!

  13. Willie Says:

    This is a very flexible template that for me harks back to the way Admiral approached their ground breaking 1970s kits. It can be easily adapted to suit most teams ‘signature’ shirt designs without affecting the overall look. Motherwell’s traditional claret band/hoop fits perfectly onto Puma’s simple uncluttered shirt template. As a Motherwell fan, it is very important to me that our tradition is not compromised by the latest design template.

  14. Denis Hurley Says:

    Of course, by using stripes (albeit two rather than three), are Puma implicitly acknowledging that their great rivals adidas got it right first time back in the 70s?

  15. Willie Says:

    As Del La Soul said in their 1990 single, three is indeed the magic number Denis. On this design I think three may have been too much, but when it comes to stripes on sleeves there can be only one magic number. On this current Puma template they are obviously harking back to the controversial Cryuff two stripes shirt worn during the 1974 World Cup. Time will tell whether this was a smart marketing move by Puma.

  16. Andrew Rockall Says:

    Re 11. Tim, I understand your frustration regarding the backs of shirts but it’s not the manufacturers fault it is FIFA and their crazy edicts.
    Look how many international teams are now choosing to wear all one colour rather than following tradition e.g. Czech Republic.

  17. Denis Hurley Says:

    Spotted that with the Czechs Andrew, it’s a real shame that they’ve come to that conclusion, I was always a fan of the red-white-blue

  18. Athanasios Papathanasiou Says:

    I was never a PUMA fan and I really think this is a below average kit template.

  19. Charles Says:

    I have to agree about the template, it works well and nice to see the two stripes incorporated in a prominent place on the shirt.

    With my team (Lincoln) now in the BSP and now wearing Nike after being with Umbro I wish we could have Puma. Our home and third shirt are the awful Barca template.
    Six teams in the BSP have Nike as a supplier and to be honest all look rather like pub teams.

    The best kits in the league I have seen so far are the Luton home shirt by Carbrini and the Wrexham green Puma away shirt.

  20. Denis Hurley Says:

    I don’t know what Nike do with their teamwear, but it just looks so cheap. Estonia against Ireland on Friday had a teamwear template and it looked very bad

  21. Denis Hurley Says:

    Also – anyone else think that the Partick away would be perfect as a Melchester Rovers away?!

  22. Rich Johnson Says:

    I absolutely love this Puma template. Despite templates being much maligned, they were used all over the place in the 80s and no-one really complained and this one is just so versatile as to have created all the above without, in my opinion, any of them looking unoriginal.

  23. Denis Hurley Says:

    Totally agree Rich, it’s not like templates are anything new, the people who give out about them seem to think that every team can be given a bespoke outfit!

    To John – should Stevenage’s third also be included? http://www.stevenagefc.com/page/LatestNewsDetail/0,,10839~2452159,00.html

  24. ciaran Says:

    You have put forward a decent argument in fairness John but I was not a fan of pumas designs before and im sticking to that

    .the style is simple and understated, with a nod to the days of the footbal kit “imperial phase” of the late 70s early 80s but it is a style that I have become accustomed

    the logo and name combined on kits such as derby and wolves in the 1990s was much better than this.same with nike.great kits for the likes of psg and arsenal in the mid 90s but then ditched the nike name from the front which looked way better.lack of the puma name on their kits does not do them any favours imo.

    although I must admit the reading and dundee home shirts look good.

    as regards greatest template admiral, umbro or adidas would be a better bet surely john.

  25. ciaran Says:

    #20/21

    No offence to Estonia but given that they must be the smallest team that Nike supply kits to (population wise) they were never going to be a high priority on the list of nike teams.Happy enough with the umbro arrangement we have myself.

    Youll get all the perks of the job in poland and ukraine next summer no doubt.

    as regards roy race and co, well the patrick away would be a great modern style for melchester definitely.actually thought when you said patrick you were referring to the forgotten french sports brand at first.

    I have my gola melchester rovers t-shirt and i have to say it would be hard for any other brand to do the job gola did on them a few years ago.

  26. tony spike Says:

    you forgot brentford home i think

  27. Jake Rodgers Says:

    Beautiful!

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