Football clubs and their kits share a unique bond passed through the ages. They represent fans’ attachment with the teams, history-making moments on the pitch and is a celebration of visual artistry steeped in heritage. Well, it used to be like two days ago. PUMA has launched a new range of third kit for some major European clubs.
PUMA, one of the most recognised shirt makers in the game, dropped off their third kit designs for 10 clubs, including Manchester City, AC Milan, Valencia- and suffice to say… It’s unique.
Rewrite the rules. Introducing the 3rd kits of the FAM’ (Yes, the badges are there. All over the kits actually ⬇️) pic.twitter.com/Ot1d3b5CJ2
— PUMA Football (@pumafootball) August 18, 2021
The design is one of its kind and there are a lot of details that take some time to digest. Given how the crests of the teams are embossed on the jersey all across the front, the manner in which it shifts away from conventional designs is stark.
INNOVATION TOO FAR?
Manchester City were one of the first to unveil their third kit and the response was overwhelmingly negative. The team name in the middle with the PUMA logo on top and main shirt sponsor name below will find few takers. Since then, with the official launch of the rest of the ten jerseys, it became clear that they had done the same with every other team.
This can’t be Man City’s genuine third kit? More like BoohooMAN City. pic.twitter.com/xvhy2EiuT9
— Jaack (@Jaack) August 19, 2021
“The third kit is the shirt where we really want to go out there and show what we can do, show something different that has not been seen yet,” Puma designer Ulrich Planer stated and one has to wonder whether this was needed at all.
Borussia Mönchengladbach's new Puma third kit has angered some fans on social media 😬
The jersey doesn't feature a traditional crest, but loads of tiny ones woven into the fabric. Fans also feel it is too similar to several other clubs' third kits and lacks individuality 😕 pic.twitter.com/ZepxWBEnkc
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) August 19, 2021
PUMA’s major rivals- Adidas and Nike have all been trying to make radical never-before-seen jerseys each year which might have forced the brand to go this way. However, it is clear that so much shift from years of one more-or-less consistent style has taken fans by wonder.
I normally like Puma kits but these this third kit range lol pic.twitter.com/CLfOpsYg63
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) August 18, 2021
Many have likened the kit to “training” kits or jerseys that one may find in cheap knockoff stores which are copies of the original. Football kits are supposed to be for everyone involved with the club and not just the players or sponsors themselves. The fact that PUMA brought out the same design for 10 separate teams across Europe is staggering.
After some tasteful home and away kits by the same maker, fans have made their feelings clear on this new concept. Social media has been abuzz with how poor the shirts look and why nobody is in a rush to buy it anytime soon.
However, one club was conspicuously absent from the third kit barrage. Borussia Dortmund’s supposed design was leaked early this year which had triggered protests by supporters. The ultras even unfurled banners stating how the logo and crest is not something to play with. Fearing backlash if it was to be made official, it now seems clear that the club will be going a different way in conception of their third kit.
According to the Daily Mail, Dortmund rejected their edition of Puma's controversial badge-less third kits after fans voiced their discontent following a leaked image of the kit 😳 pic.twitter.com/hL1tTDbPxC
— International Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup) August 19, 2021
This begs the question- could the other clubs have done the same? Supporters will be less than happy with this kind of oversight in these matters. Furthermore, this kind of new concepts will take getting used to for the players themselves as witnessed during Fenerbahce’s match last night.
“It is easy to play safe, but we want to change perceptions of a conventional football jersey,” said Carl Tuffley, senior head of design manager at Puma Teamsport. If by playing safe, they meant that the normal designs would return, then a lot of fans would like PUMA to take this awful concept back and never bring it out again.
Ajax rolling out Bob Marley third kits could be the universe's attempt at healing itself after the Puma debacle. https://t.co/VORYPyHgwy
— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) August 20, 2021
Especially since Ajax and Adidas dropped off a gorgeous ‘Bob Marley theme’ inspired third kit. The 10 clubs are stuck with this at least for this season and the impending feedback will surely put off any more crazy thoughts the executives might have in the future.