Earlier in the week, Arsenal finally officially announced that they are partnering with Adidas following the completion of the current campaign. The five-year deal with the German sportswear manufacturer is reportedly worth £300 million ($391 million), which would be the third largest annual kit contract in world football (only behind Barcelona and Manchester United).
The Gunners previously partnered with Adidas from 1986 to 1994. During this stretch, Arsenal had some of their most iconic kits. Most notably were the away uniforms from when the Gunners won the league at Anfield in 1989 and the ever-popular ‘bruised banana’ kits from 1991-1993. Many, if not most Arsenal fans, are already calling for Adidas to recreate this yellow/black away kit for the next season.
With the five-year Puma deal coming to a close, let’s look back at some of the best and worst kits that they produced for the north London club.
Top 3 Best
3 – 2016/17 Away Kit
Perhaps not loved by all, the yellow and grey away kit from the 2016/17 season was an interesting choice. According to the designer, Puma attempted to take inspirations from the club’s history in Woolwich. “One of the things that kind of popped up was concrete,” claimed Carl Tuffley. “So we went with gray rather than blue, which has been synonymous with the Arsenal away kit. We wanted to keep it embedded within the richness of the Arsenal history by keeping the yellow shade, so we really kind of looked at fusing the histories together.”
2 – 2014/15 Home Kit
This was Puma’s first home kit design for the club, and their best red/white choice during their five-year run with the Gunners. Red tops with white sleeves are a must for Arsenal home kits, and Puma nailed this one (along with the hoop socks). The brand claimed that these jerseys “stayed true to the traditional Arsenal colors that first appeared in 1933.” These home kits also represented ‘forever’ as part of Puma’s ‘Future, Forever, Victorious’ advertising campaign. The ‘forever’ kit was meant to symbolize “the importance of community and belonging to both the club and its fans.”
1 – 2017/18 Third Kit
Undoubtedly the best kit design by Puma for the club was the 2017/18 third kit. The all black fabric with pink lettering was meant to “reflect the dark London nights” and also represent a more street aesthetic from Puma. Though completely different from other classic Arsenal kits from the past, this particular design exemplified how brands can successfully embrace both street culture and modernity.
Top 3 Worst
3 – 2015/16 Away Kit
The gold and navy shirt with diamond shaped details wasn’t exactly pleasing on the eyes. Though Arsenal’s golden away kits from the 2001/02 season were solid, these jerseys were mostly a miss due to the details. Along with the strange diamond detailing, the back of the shirt essentially features a navy tail that extends past the line of the front of the shirt.
2 – 2018/19 Away Kit
A blue away kit for the Gunners is nothing new. However, the current away uniform consisting of mostly navy blue with red splattered in is one of the most perplexing decisions by Puma during their time with Arsenal. To be fair, the idea behind the shirts is interesting. On paper, the mixed fabrics and a heartbeat design across the chest sounds decent, but the worst part of this kit is certainly the static blue/red shorts.
1 – 2015/16 Third Kit
Oddly enough, this kit features three stripes down the front of the shirt as if it were made by Adidas. The anthracite base color is perfectly fine, quite nice actually, but these three gold, light blue, and white stripes just make this an awful shirt. The designers claimed that these diagonal stripes were a “modern interpretation of a classic football sash.”