The debate over modern football kits can sometimes feel a little bit shallow, given the expected life span of most is probably about nine months.
Most Premier League clubs release three new kits every summer, making the previous three quickly disposable and forgotten.
Chelsea have regularly begun to release their new home strip in May before the current season ends, meaning the current addition has even less time to make an impression.
This is Nike’s fifth year producing the Blues kits and it is fair to say opinions on their output have been varied.
From the pretty safe first home addition in 2017, to the more daring splash of red and white across the royal blue a year later, Nike have struggled to leave a lasting impact like Adidas did with several classic shirts in the previous decade.
Our Fan Brand Chelsea writers Daniel Childs and Jai Mcintosh give their thoughts on the three offerings this year for the current European Champions and see how they stack up.
What a disaster!
Supporters have tried all summer to make this look better by putting icon Didier Drogba in it and even he cannot improve its confused design. Romelu Lukaku smiling holding it up, sorry Rom – thanks for returning but still one of the worst in recent history.
It feels like there was a heated dispute in some swanky Nike HQ office about the direction the designers wanted to take this year’s home shirt in. It was a closely run referendum between the zigzags and the chequered racing flag.
What this compromise leaves us with is neither memorable, classic or a shirt worthy for the Champions League winners. The flashes of yellow are probably the nicest part of the shirt. It harks back to the shirts of the late 60’s, early 70’S when yellow was a more regular feature on the home shirt.
Overall though it’s upsetting the shirt we will see the most feels like such a miscalculation.
It would have been safe to assume that Nike would produce a collection of new kits good enough to match the level of performance Chelsea have been operating at since the turn of the year, alas, that has not happened.
Chelsea’s 2021/22 home kit is, without doubt, the worst Chelsea kit this century. The conflicting patterns and confusing array of shapes look more like a formula three flag than a football kit. Even the Champions League winners badge, two stars, and sustainable materials do little to acquiesce to the stylistic issues of such a poor kit.
Considering the wealth of emotion prompted by the FA Cup 50th Anniversary shirt, it seems as though Nike have missed the mark a long way with the current home kit. One would assume that, at the Nike headquarters, they played spin the bottle, and whoever was the unfortunate loser received the worst kit of the season. The loser this time was Chelsea.
And relax a bit.
If it were not for the return of the fans I would want Chelsea playing away every single week. Chelsea in yellow runs along the lines of a Xavi-Iniesta combination, it just works.
Despite the somewhat jarring horizontal lines that clash with names and numbers on the back, anything would have been a direct upgrade on the home kit. Equally, a slightly deeper yellow may have been slightly more pleasant on the eyes, however, with Nike kits, it is more of just appreciating when you don’t have a poor kit.
There is a flavour of The Thick of It about Chelsea’s kits. It seems as though the design process was as disjointed as the Tucker-esque policy reforms. Despite the relative success of the away kit, collectively this season’s kits are underwhelming.
This feels like a bit of a welcome palette cleanser by Nike who have produced some nice away shirts for Chelsea since taking over.
Yellow is usually a winner for Chelsea fans. Look back to 2008/09, 2014/15 and 2018/19 which all were home runs. The slim black lines just give the shirt a feel of originality, whilst not completely botching the template of a strong design.
I know quite a few supporters who are opting for this shirt over the home one, which is a wise choice. The black shorts are a nice touch with yellow socks. To be honest, the promotional photo of Ben Chilwell smiling in this won me over from the start.
The third entry aims to outdo the home shirt for sparking outrage in football purists
I wonder if I should have a hyper-crimsoned face in reaction to this pretty starling design. All my traditional senses are tingling, but the general reaction is a firm shrug of the shoulders. Given what Nike produced for the home shirt – the most important of the three – I cannot really be too surprised that this lacks much response.
The third kit looks more like a Call of Duty gun skin than a football kit.
The garish wotsit orange sits on top of an overcomplicated textured shirt that will surely get the occasional cup game run out. That being said, the shorts and socks are somewhat tasteful, that is about as far as it goes.
For fear of sounding antiquated, there is a clear attempt to take the style of football kits in a new direction. There will always be a mixed reaction whenever a new way of thinking is presented in a tangible form.
Nonetheless, I cannot help but fall on the side that simplicity is key. Chelsea were fortunate enough to go through the cycle of delicious Adidas kits in the opening fifteen years of this century, and the change to Nike has failed to bear the fruit expected.
The grey shirt already has a memorable moment in Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty heroics in the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal.
The ringed collar at the top takes me back to the mins 2000s which is a plus.
Nothing too outrageous and looks good on both Edouard Mendy and Arrizabalaga. Bit like the yellow away kit, good design that I have few complaints about and will enjoy seeing over the season.
Chelsea’s goalkeeper kit is arguably the nicest kit of the 2021/22 kit selection.
However, the split-screen effect follows the motif of disturbing the balance of what would otherwise have been an aesthetic win. Especially in comparison with the various sartorial mishaps that the outfield players have to wear.
Despite looking like a B&Q colour chart, the goalkeeper kit is not bad. Not good enough to make you forget about the Super League, but it is not a complete shambles like the kindergarten home shirt.
It would therefore be fair to say that Nike have delivered an underwhelming range of kits this year and, in a COVID-hit society, the prices for these kits are the greatest shame. Few would deny that the kits are made to a reasonable standard of quality yet the essence of what a kit can be is, on the whole, lost with Chelsea this season.
Let’s hope next season fortune favours the boys in blue.
What do you think about Chelsea’s 21/22 kits? Follow our new Chelsea Fan Brand Writers Daniel Childs and Jai Mcintosh on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London