Five brands have represented the Italian national team for their kits at the Euros in recent decades. Incontestably, the German sportswear company Puma takes the lead, having sponsored Italy from 2004 to 2020. Nevertheless, each kit the Italians have worn since Euro 1996 is worth examining. Significantly, the design and tailoring of each jersey have undoubtedly impacted the national team.

Italy kits at the Euros starting with Euro 1996 – Nike

In 1996, Nike created Italy’s jersey with a form-fitting design. The shirt featured a golden collar and sleeve stripes to represent various sponsorships. Despite the new look, Italy finished third in their group and did not advance to the knockout stage. However, there were still notable achievements on the field; Pierluigi Casiraghi and Enrico Chiesa scored goals for the Azzurri. Today, Chiesa’s son Federico is a rising star on the national team. 

Unfortunately, Arrigo Sacchi’s Italy failed to impress overall. Moreover, Gianfranco Zola fell short again. While playing for Italy, he failed to perform well at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 1996. Looking back, it is clear that Sacchi’s team strongly preferred AC Milan players. Sacchi consistently favored the ‘I Rossoneri’ as a coach and was often criticized for selecting its players. 

Euro 2000 – Kappa

Italy’s top jersey tailors to perfection for the exceptionally fit player. This form-fitting design leaves no room to hide any lack of fitness. The material used in the design is a blend of polyamide meryl and elastane, allowing for stretchiness in all directions while also providing breathability and retaining its shape.

In 2000, Italy’s star-studded team showcased their impeccable style on and off the field. They made it to the finals, only to be defeated by France in overtime due to the problematic golden goal rule.

Despite the heartache, two players named Francesco stood out: Totti, with his epic ‘panenka’ against the Netherlands in the semi-finals, and Toldo, a remarkable backup goalkeeper for an injured Gianluigi Buffon. These standout performances propelled Italy to new heights. It was reminiscent of their 1994 World Cup run.

Although they fell short in the end, Italy displayed their determination. The rest of the soccer world took notice that the Azzurri were on a mission to win a major tournament. A feat they had yet to accomplish since Paolo Rossi and Dino Zoff led them to victory in 1982. The latter served as head coach at Euro 2000. Though his stint as the boss only lasted two years, Zoff left an indelible mark on the Italian team. 

Euro 2004 – Puma

Puma wisely avoided Kappa’s tightly fitted uniforms. Instead, the German sportswear brand opted for comfortable, relaxed-fit polyester jerseys with a noticeable sheen. In contrast to Kappa’s matte blue, Puma’s glossy royal blue elevated Italy to a regal level. However, the breathable fit only worked in their favor.

Despite players like Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, and Christian Vieri, the team needed help to advance from their group. Even though star player Francesco Totti sported a ponytail reminiscent of Roberto Baggio, he was far from divine on the field. He even received a three-game ban for spitting at a Danish opponent during a match. UEFA deemed that behavior as “gross misconduct.”

Humorously, Italy could blame its lackluster performance on its Puma-designed kit. The rough texture and heat-trapping material caused discomfort and frustration among the players, and one would expect them never to trust Puma again after such a debacle. 

However, two years later, when Italy sought redemption and won the World Cup, Puma again gave them the perfect breathable fit. This time, it was under the leadership of Marcello Lippi instead of Giovanni Trappatoni.

Euro 2008 – Puma

Puma’s design for the Italian players was bold and provocative. They flaunted sheer, short-sleeved V-neck jerseys that revealed a significant amount of skin.

The Italians ditched their war-ready apparel from two years prior for something more intimate. Although stylish, the Euro 2008 kit felt more like loungewear than a traditional jersey.

Despite their seductive look, Italy only advanced to second place in their group after being defeated by the Netherlands 3-0. Goals from Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, and Christian Panucci could not save them from another shootout defeat in the quarterfinals against Spain. Strangely, even though he deserves the utmost respect, head coach Roberto Donadoni was overshadowed by the greatness of Marcello Lippi.

Euro 2012 – Puma

Puma transformed their 2008 sleepwear into a functional jersey with a V-neck that transitioned into a sleek, buttoned white collar. The Italian team wore this preppy design as armor on their journey to the final. Nevertheless, their kits resembled a rugby squad. 

The Ghanaian-Italian Mario Balotelli was the tournament’s star player. The number nine, born in Palermo, formed a strong camaraderie with Antonio Cassano. The Adana Demirspor striker scored three goals. Not to mention capitalizing in the quarterfinal shootout against England. However, the score disparity against Spain ultimately made the difference for Italy.

Italy battled to a thrilling draw of 0-0 with Spain in their first group match. However, ‘La Furia Roja’ dominated with a crushing score of 4-1 in the final rematch. It was Italy’s most devastating loss in a final since their defeat against Brazil in 1970.

For coach Cesare Prandelli, it was a mix of conquest and catastrophe, like Arrigo Sacchi in 1994. While Prandelli successfully proved his point with his protégé Balotelli, the former Atalanta player reached the height of his career as a head coach.

Euro 2016 – Puma

As Euro 2016 approached, Italy’s jersey design took a turn, becoming more reminiscent of a typical youth soccer league uniform. This shift was a stark contrast to the iconic Kappa shirt, a symbol of Italian pride, worn during Euro 2000. This was the shirt that head coach Antonio Conte sported when he scored a crucial goal against Turkey. Fast forward to Euro 2016, and Conte was now Italy’s head coach, leading a team that unfortunately went down as one of the worst in Italian history. 

Despite winning their group on goal difference, Italy faced a familiar adversary in the Republic of Ireland and suffered another 1-0 defeat. This loss echoed memories of the same defeat during World Cup 1994, a painful reminder of their past. Yet, the Italian team remained undeterred, their spirit unbroken. The ‘Boys in Green’ may have won the battle, but the Azzurri was ready to fight another day. 

Nevertheless, it was clear that Italy lacked strong strikers, with only half of its goals coming from defenders such as Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci—once known as the formidable twin towers of Italian defense.

Nevertheless, Italy managed to advance to the Quarterfinals before ultimately losing to Germany on penalty kicks. As a result, it became evident that a downfall was imminent. The Azzurri needed more star power. Instead, it relied on an influx of talented but inexperienced players looking to prove themselves.

Euro 2020 – Puma

The Euro 2020 jersey featured a black collar and striped sleeves in classic Italian blue. The black collar was almost like the players symbolized their sadness after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, the slim cut, narrower at the chest and waist jersey morphed into an Italian vendetta. The Azzurri did it in style, dominating every game. Ultimately, they won the tournament without dropping a match.

The path to Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph was a testament to their strategic planning and teamwork. In Italian championship victories, it was never the result of one player’s efforts alone that led them to success. Italy’s performance at Euro 2020 surpassed their 2006 World Cup victory. Back then, the USMNT managed to tie with Italy in the group stage. However, at Euro 2020, Spain and England came close to challenging the impeccable Italians. Ultimately, it was a display of Italy’s collective strength and determination that captivated the world.

Euro 2024 – Adidas

From Euro 2004 to Euro 2020, Rudolf Dassler’s Puma had the honor of designing all of Italy’s kits. However, Dassler’s brother’s company gives Italy a taste of its fashionable flair for the first time in Italian soccer history.

In 1924, Adolf “Adi” Dassler and his brother Rudolf co-founded a shoe company. Unfortunately, their relationship split in 1948, and the company was divided into two factions. Thus begins the German sportswear rivalry between Puma and Adidas.

It’s rare to see Italy wearing Adidas. The brand with three stripes does something no other brand has done before—it boldly incorporates the colors of the Italian flag. Green represents freedom, white symbolizes faith, and red stands for love.

Photos: Imago

Euro 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Euros!
Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
Euro 2024 Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Euro games live in 2024
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer