Normally football fans have all summer to revel in transfer rumors, international tournaments, and kit news. This year, however, Covid-19 has robbed fans of the customary off-season, as domestic leagues commence this weekend, barely three weeks after the Champions League final signaled the end of last season.

That means transfers are being wrapped up in record time and new kits were presented in quick succession — sometimes too quick for even the most dedicated footie fan to keep up with. The good news is that Highsnobiety’s in-house football experts are on hand to wade through the world of football jerseys and took it upon themselves to rate some of the best (and worst) jerseys of the upcoming season.

In doing so, what became clear is that PUMA’s offering of football jerseys definitely stands out against the rest. While brands such as New Balance, Nike, and adidas all have the odd heater on their hands, PUMA’s adventurous approach to kit design has resulted in banging jerseys across the board.

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The mark of a good jersey is one that looks good with the club’s sponsor and that can be worn casually, as well as on the pitch. What’s impressive is that nearly every single PUMA jersey fits that criteria (Dortmund’s home jersey is eye-catching, but falls short because the sponsor is hard to incorporate into the design).

PUMA’s roster of teams includes big-hitters such as AC Milan and Manchester City alongside relative unknowns on the international stage, such as Stade Rennais. Nevertheless, PUMA seems to give all of its clubs equal attention, shying away from template jerseys used by some of its competitors.

“Each of our clubs and countries has its own particularities that we celebrate through very unique inspiration taken from architecture, art, local music and fashion scene,” PUMA head of PLM team sport apparel, David Bremond tells Highsnobiety. “This allows us to create an emotional connection between fans and football jerseys. PUMA football kits are nowadays more than performance gear, they’ve also become a fashion piece.”

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Manchester City’s home kit features a mosaic design that is inspired by Mancunian street art, while its away jersey takes cues from the city’s architecture. Marseille’s away jersey is inspired by the quartiers (neighborhoods) in the city and adds an eye-catching element to an otherwise clean design.

With football kits becoming fashionable again — Balenciaga just unveiled yet another grossly overpriced luxury version — it makes sense that kits are designed, at least partially, to be worn off the pitch. Nike’s 2018 Nigeria home kit is the best example of lifestyle appeal catapulting a jersey to new heights, as the stylish shirt sold out several times over and even attracted non-football fans.

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PUMA is an underdog when compared with Nike and adidas, which could be why the German sportswear giant has taken a more adventurous approach. The brand has more to gain, and going all-out on its kit design has definitely worked out. Shop our favorite PUMA kits via the link below.

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