There's a lot of debate when it comes to deciding what the best football kits of all time are (and we mean a lot). Is a great football kit determined by the legendary status of the players who wore it? By the titles or trophies the team won while wearing it? Or simply by how iconic and memorable the design is?
Honestly, we'd be lying if we said we had any clue about the answer to that... But we do know an iconic football shirt when we see one.
We've compiled a list of some of our favourite football kits of all time that have become iconic in the football world for one reason or another, from both club and national teams. We're sure you'll agree there are some absolute belters in here.
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Best Football Shirts of All Time - Home Kits
These amazing football kits were all worn by teams on their home turf, and feature some pretty legendary designs:
Mexico 1998 World Cup
Image source: Soccer Nomad
This shirt was worn when Mexico competed in the 1998 World Cup and features an incredible Aztec design that well and truly makes it stand out as one of the best football shirts of all time.
Another unusual feature of this football shirt is that it bears the player number in the middle with the team name, which is not something you see in more modern designs. The shirt also features the ABA Sports logo to advertise their sponsorship of the Mexican team.
At this point in the club's history, cult hero Luis Hernandez was playing for the team and scored 35 goals in 85 matches for Mexico.
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Image source: Latinafy
The Fiorentina 1998/99 home shirt is our next pick for one of the best football shirts of all time, worn here by the immortal Gabriel Batistuta. This design is famous for featuring Fiorentina's unique purple colour, but is also recognisable thanks to the retro Fila sponsor and the massive Nintendo sponsorship logo right in the centre of the design.
This shirt is stylish and in your face - much like the player wearing it. A unique and iconic kit.
Borussia Dortmund 1996/97
Image source: Charity Stars
Borussia Dortmund's famous neon yellow and black design was a modern kit for its time. Its striped arms stand out in particular, as does the logo of the German club's main sponsor in the centre of the shirt.
Borussia Dortmund famously won the Champions League and the DFB super cup in this shirt in 96/97, helping to secure its status as one of the best football shirts of all time.
AC Milan 1993/94
Image source: X
The brilliance of the AC Milan 1993/94 shirt is determined by the sheer number of legendary players who wore it, including Paolo Maldini, Marcel Desailly, and Dejan Savićević. The retro design of this shirt represents the club's refusal to change its traditional design in a footballing world that was being dragged into the modern day, making it one of the most iconic and recognisable kits on this list of best football shirts.
The Lotto design, single star badge, and Motta logo are effortlessly sleek and cool, while the bright red colouring adds a modern twist. AC Milan went on to win the Champions League in this iconic shirt, absolutely decimating the favourite to win Barcelona 4-0.
West Germany 1990
Image source: Football Kit Geek
West Germany's 1990 kit is widely considered to be one of the most iconic designs in the game's history. The geometric pattern emblazoning the German flag is said to represent the club's timeline, from their 1974 World Cup win down to the low point four years later when they were dumped at the second group stage, back up to their last win as West Germany in 1990.
However, what really makes this one of the best football kits of all time is that the iconic geometric pattern doesn't have to mean anything. It's still one of the most recognisable geometric patterns in football history thanks to its eye-catching colours and shapes.
Newcastle United 1995-97
Image source: 90min
This retro Newcastle United home shirt was worn during the 1997-99 season and features a grandad neck collar as a tribute to the style worn by Hughie Gallagher when Newcastle last won the league in 1927.
The design is simple yet iconic, featuring narrow black and white stripes and a centralised Newcastle Brown Ale sponsorship logo. Newcastle United wore this kit during their fantastic run in the 1997-98 Champions League, which included beating Barcelona 3-2 with a hat-trick from Faustino Asprilla. The team also reached the FA Cup Final this year, but ended up losing 2-0 to Arsenal. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly one of the best football kits of all time thanks to its classic design.
Best Football Kits of All Time - Away
Let's not let the home kits take all the glory... These striking away kits have stuck with us for over three decades thanks to their iconic designs:
Image source: Arsenal
Worn here by Arsenal legend Ian Wright and his teammates, this incredible kit was donned by Arsenal in the first seasons of the Premier League, just before the arrival of Arsene Wenger who led the team to multiple trophy victories.
Nicknamed the bruised banana, it was seen as the definitive Premier League away shirt. It's a great kit because it also has the classic Adidas logo and highlights the famous JVC sponsorship.
This pick for one of the best football kits of all time is definitely a must-have for collectors, and is so iconic that it was reworked for the 2019/20 season.
Manchester United 1990-92
Image source: Goal
This iconic Adidas pattern was worn by the Manchester United team during the 1990-92 seasons, most memorably during their '92 Rumbelows Cup triumph over Nottingham Forest.
The 90-92 away shirt is one of Adidas' most enduring designs, combining the blue and white that had been seen on previous United away kits to create this striking pattern. The design element that truly makes this shirt one of the greats, though, is the stand-out red lining and eye-catching Sharp sponsorship logo.
This design was reworked for the Manchester United 2021/22 away shirt, solidifying its status as one of the best football shirts of all time.
Best Third Shirts of All Time
Despite being worn much less than their home and away counterparts, these third kits left a lasting impression on us:
Inter Milan 1997/98
Image source: Sport Bible
This iconic football kit was worn by some of the greats, including Diego Simeone, Alvaro Recoba, and the legendary Brazilian Ronaldo, who was signed that year for £29 million. Taking inflation into account, that would equate to an eye-watering £383 million today. The kit highlights the famous Pirelli sponsorship with Umbro, the creators of the kit, by placing their logo front and centre.
Inter Milan won the UEFA Cup that year and also came second in the Serie A League, missing out by five points to Juventus. One of the team's most famous results of this season was a 3-0 thrashing of their arch-rivals, AC Milan. They also went on an incredible 12-match unbeaten streak, all while managed by Luigi Simoni who received the Panchina d'Oro that year.
We think the history of this kit, as well as its iconic design, makes it one of the best football kits of all time.
Manchester City 2010/11
Image source: Getty Images
Manchester City's third kit from the 2010/11 season is one that might slip under the radar, but we love it. The design of this football shirt is simple and elegant, quite like the players signed to the team that year.
In a season which ultimately defined the next decade of English football, the Manchester City team wore a simple shirt with a minimalist design that looked rather slick on the likes of Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure, and David Silva.
We consider this one of the best football shirts of all time because it represents an exciting point in the team's history. City had been recently taken over and wanted to challenge the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal who had been at the top of the Premier League. The team would go on to qualify for the Champions League after finishing third in the Premier League, alongside winning the FA Cup where they famously beat their arch-rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals.
They wore this sleek third kit with its red and black stripe away at Chelsea on the way to qualifying for the Champions League, beating the Premier League holders 4-2 on their own patch.
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