When navigating the business end of winter, summer tends to feel like a mythical concept that never actually existed. As the cold and drizzle show no sign of abating, questions begin to mount in your head: Did I really sit outside drinking an Aperol Spritz in the same spot seven months ago? Has there ever been a time in my life where I have not worn 300 layers? Does the sun physically exist? To put those voices at rest, remember that it’s February 5, which means we’re exactly 169 days away from the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Think of it as a beacon of hope in the darkness; a flaming torch providing light at the end of the tunnel.
As Tokyo’s big day draws nearer, brands have begun to roll out the gear that will be worn by their athletes and federations at the tournament. We’ve already had a look at some of the latest sneakers and skatewear from Nike, and now we can take a look at what the brand has in store for its football teams (or at least the ones who will be there).
Both the U.S.A. men and women’s football teams are still in with a shout of qualifying for the Olympics, and the chance to play in this regal home kit will serve as an extra incentive for the players to book their place in Japan.
There’s not too much going on here, and that’s totally okay with us. In the same vein as a half volley rippling against the net or a perfectly-timed slide challenge, there are few things more visually pleasing in football than the sight of a no-nonsense, dinner plate white jersey. Just ask Real Madrid fans.
There are some lovely flourishes here — peep the trim sleeves and round collar — but it’s the use of the Futura logo on the left chest and socks that really elevates the look. Poor Mia Hamm must be wondering why the same crest wasn’t used in her heyday.
“Second album syndrome” is an enduring concept in pop mythology. When an artist creates something so cherished; so exalted; so desired it ends up resonating with an audience that it wasn’t even intended for, where do they go next? Designers at Nike would have experienced a similar conundrum when trying to follow up Nigeria’s blockbuster World Cup kit.
Is the latest effort equally as good? Perhaps not. Is it still a slapper? Undoubtedly yes. Fusing the traditional aesthetic of an agbada robe with modern football design, the kit’s pattern was hand-drawn. If we close our eyes, we can easily imagine big Joe Aribo wearing it, smashing home a neatly worked one-two before running over to a group of crazed Super Eagles fans in the stands. Given the Nigeria men and women’s sides failed to qualify for this year’s Olympics, such an image is unfortunately as close as we’ll get to seeing this baby at the tournament.
South Korea does many things better than other countries: good looking boy bands, hard-drinking, tasty side dishes, and cold weather fashion. They also, invariably, have cracking football kits that nail the sweet spot between elegant and eye-catching. Who can forget Ahn-Jung-hwan going nuts at the 2002 World Cup in this banger? (Sorry, Italy fans.)
Ahead of the Olympics, South Korea has given its traditional tiger emblem a futuristic, slightly more aggressive, update. We’re loving the wavy trigram patterns on the home kit, but the stripey away jersey is the real MVP here. Again hand-painted by Nike’s design team, the DIY vibe is offset with a luxurious gold Swoosh and badge. Roar!