[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Bulletin column and may pop up here on the blog occasionally). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]
Good Friday morning, Uni Watch nation. I hope you’ve all had a good week!
With the Premier League (the top level of the English football league system) kicking off today, it’s time to take a look at the kits for the 20 teams who will be playing in the league this season. As most readers know, I’m not a soccer guy (I love the World Cup and major tourneys like the Euro, but I just haven’t gotten into any leagues — MLS or International — yet). But I know a good number of readers are footy fans, and today I’m joined by Michael Simpson, who’s going to bring you the rundown of the PL kits for 2022-23. There’s a LOT to get to, so I’ll turn it over to Michael now:
by Michael Simpson
The start of the English Premier League is upon us, and Uni Watch has your complete guide to the best (and worst) dressed teams in 2022-23.
Home: For as long as I’ve been a soccer fan, Arsenal’s home kit has been red with white sleeves. It’s an iconic look, and I hope the concept never changes. Points for the collar returning in 2022-23, but the lightning bolts on the collar look a bit hokey.
Away: The all-black away kit is solid. Points for the graphic detail, replacing the crest with the cannon silhouette, and the gold font color. I’d do away with the shoulder stripes, though.
Third: The third kit is the best of all. Huge points for the subtle ermines throughout the powder pink pattern. Points for the v-neck design and color choices – navy collar trimmed in teal.
Home: Like Arsenal, Villa continues to sport the two-tone solid shirt/solid sleeves concept at home. My problem here is the colors. Yes – I know these are Villa’s colors – and that teams wear their main colors at home. I just think the design with these colors is odd. Points for the V-neck design. Lose the weird dots under the armpits.
Away: This away kit is a bit better than Villa’s home kit, but it’s still basic at best. Points for the V-neck, the maroon as an accent to the powder blue looks sharp. Points for the shoulder trim. Points for the two-tone crest instead of full color.
Third: Villa’s black and yellow gold kit might be their best, but we’ll likely see it only a handful of times. I don’t get the fascination with armpit dots, but I do like the yellow stripe running beneath them. Great detail in the torso and sleeves of the shirt. Points for the V-neck, points for the trim on the collar and cuffs.
Home: Bournemouth’s home kit might be their best, but that’s not saying much. I usually like a combination of black and red, but these jerseys even got that wrong. Is the shirt red? Is it black? Are there three stripes or two? The design is just too busy.
Away: Oh boy. These are atrocious. They are so. very. bad. This looks like a shirt my 6-year-old daughter would wear to the beach in what must be a nod to how the city is situated on the country’s southern coast. But still, it’s so, so bad. Two shades of purple, pink and teal…palm trees? To cap it off, the jersey sports a barely distinguishable two-tone crest in white and…you guessed it –- purple!
Third: These aren’t atrocious, but that’s about the best thing I can say about them. I mean, it’s hard to go completely wrong with one solid color.
Home: The red and white stripes remind me of Chivas de Guadalajara. The reason for this is either because Chivas is a more relevant club or because I’m writing this while watching the 2022 Leagues Cup. Admittedly, I’m unsure which club was first to wear the design. Worst part of this kit is the sponsorship branding. Trimming the font in white looks real bad, and the star logo disappearing into the white stripes almost looks like a mistake.
Away: Nothing special about the design and colors. Same as their home kits, the away kit looks good, not great. Huge points for the texture throughout the torso. Points for simplicity of the crest.
Third: Brentford reportedly have third kits, but this reporter is unable to find a credible source or clear picture, so I’ll reserve judgment for now.
Home: The jerseys themselves are solid. My biggest critique would be the yellow center pinstripe, though I don’t know that would make them much better. Points for the cuffs trimmed in gold to match the collar, but what does it for me is that these will be worn with solid white shorts. It’s a sharp look and a solid kit.
Away: Another really solid (in quality, not color) kit. Points for good use of the gradient across the torso. Sponsorship font looks clean and simple. Would consider changing the shorts from orange to black.
Third: Good choice for an alternate color. Continuous graphics throughout shoulders sleeves is a unique look, and this design is good. Brighton’s third kit as the same strengths as its away kit.
Home: Chelsea have some of the worst home kits in the world, and their home jersey might be the worst of all. They aren’t aided by the fact that every player wears an awkward ‘3’ on the front due to their main kit sponsor. The only piece of flare is the collar, and it just looks out of place.
Away: The away kit is better, though that’s not a high bar to leap. The hoops contain a pinstripe matching the trim of the cuffs. The teal and white graphic design looks much better here than on the collar of the home jersey.
Third: Chelsea’s third kit is decent in color and design. Two stripes on the cuffs make it pop, and the orange, specifically, is a nice touch.
Home: Palace might have the best uniforms in the premier league this season. The home kit looks like what Bournemouth was trying to do, but couldn’t. The busy graphics are toned down by solid, bright white branding. Huge points for the trimming on the collar and cuffs – it’s all in the details!
Away: Again, great design and color scheme. The away kit is the perfect mix of simple and flashy.
Third: Palace’s third kit takes the some of the best features of the home kit and does its own thing. Contrasting collar and cuffs look great against the solid dark shirt. I don’t think it’s my favorite of the group, but these all are so good it’s hard to choose.
Home: The best part about Everton’s home uniform is it’s crest and the way it contrasts with the solid white shorts. There’s nice detail in the torso, but that’s about it. The white armpit is an odd design choice.
Away: Everton’s away kit caught me off guard at first glance, but it is actually decent. The graphics are good but clash with the font/sponsorship color and the crest itself. It’s good, not great.
Third: Rumored, but no confirmed third kit.
Home: There’s some good detail in Fulham’s home jersey. I like the red coloring on the collar, and the contrast provided by the three shoulder stripes. It’s basic, but it works.
Away: Fulham went with a busier design for the away jersey, and it works too. Solid sleeves with decent graphic design through the torso. No color clashing with the font/sponsor design. Crest blends nicely but can still be seen.
Home: Leeds will look sharp in their home opener wearing these white shirts with navy and subtle yellow accents. They aren’t over the top, but they pop.
Away: I love the design on Leeds’s away kit. Anytime you can pull off mis-matching colors on the shoulder, it’s big points for me. These kits do that. I’m a little lost on the font coloring – they went with a clashing yellow trim on top of…yellow?
Home: Nothing special about this home kit. I like collars, but this one is awkwardly wide and reminiscent of a style long passed. There’s a charming simplicity to it but nothing special about it.
Away: There seems to be some confusion related to which kits Leicester will wear as their away kit, so I will reserve judgment here.
Third: Leicester’s third kit is one of the best in the premier league. Huge points for the texture and detail woven throughout the torso, which includes hits of gold. The maroon trim on the solid gold sleeves is a classy touch.
Home: The iconic, solid red home kit is plain and basic at first glance – until you see the texture and detail woven throughout. It’s the epitome of simplicity and class. Huge points for the extra detail on the cuffs. This will be the most underrated kit in the premier league this year.
Away: Fun design that’s busy but not overpowering. Points for the stylish uneven trimming on the cuffs. Biggest concern is how it might look on TV.
Third: Liverpool do not have a confirmed third kit this year, but most people believe it will be a version solid yellow. I will reserve judgment here.
Home: The defending champs will sport light blue at home, of course. It’s a solid color scheme, but the centered crest and Puma logo look awkward in the 2022-23 version of this kit. The trimming on the collar and cuffs matches in color but not ratio. The white stripe on the cuff is much thicker than the white pinstripe on the collar, and that’s awkward.
Away: A red and black color scheme miles ahead of Bournemouth’s. Good colors, boring design, though.
Third: No confirmed third kit, but they’ll likely have one.
Home: In one word: weird. Of course, it’s going to be red, but the three black shoulder stripes clash hard with a white collar that has…triangles?
Away: Clean look made dirty with the gaudy black shield around the team crest. Points for the V-neck design. Huge points for the diamonds found on the collar and cuffs.
Third: No confirmed third kit, but they’ll likely have one.
Home: Newcastle continues to sport their iconic black and white stripes at home, and the 2022-23 version is contrasted with baby blue font coloring/branding. It doesn’t quite match the blue at the bottom of the team’s crest, but it’s close.
Away: The light navy away kit paired with gold is sharp. Huge points for the gold sleeve graphics.
Third: White contrasted by a bit of green is a great color scheme, and this design is solid. Points for the V-neck and for the trimming on the collar and cuffs. The crest is toned down and classy.
Home: Another version of solid red but with character. Like Liverpool, this jersey has some toned-down texture and design woven into the solid red color scheme. It’s a clean, clean look.
Away: These are some of my favorite away kits in the Premier League this season. Huge points for the green and yellow sleeve design on an otherwise solid yellow shirt. The blue shorts being trimmed with the same pattern as the jersey’s sleeves give the kit a nice symmetry. As a friend of mine said, these could perhaps be one of the best kits in the league if they didn’t belong to Nottingham Forest.
Third: No confirmed third kit.
Home: Good color scheme but do away with the black vertical stripes. Points for the subtle graphic design found in the white space.
Away: Yikes. I feel like I’m looking at a collection of hands reaching up from the earth to grab an innocent passerby. That’s obviously not what the Southampton design team was going for, but man, this is just too busy. The only part of this jersey I can look at for more than two seconds is the sponsor’s logo –- maybe that’s a feature, not a bug.
Third: No confirmed third kit.
Home: Tottenham’s home kits are always clean. Navy on white is a good look, and this year features a hint of yellow on the collar and cuffs. Huge points on the texture found both on the jersey and shorts.
Away: I audibly groaned –- in a room by myself -– the first time I saw these jerseys. What’s going on here? It looks like they took the ref’s kit and photoshopped a solid blue patch onto the torso.
Third: No confirmed third kit.
Home: The similar color schemes make it natural to compare West Ham’s home kits to Aston Villa’s, and West Ham clearly wins that matchup. Points for the shoulder design.
Away: Solid black with subtle texture in the main torso. The cuff design seems random, but fun.
Third: No confirmed third kit
Home: Wolverhampton is far from the most popular – or skilled – team in the Premier League, but their mustard yellow kits are iconic. This year’s design is decent but not special.
Away: Wolverhampton’s away kit is a really good uniform. Points for minimalistic graphics on the torso and subtle mustard yellow to contrast the teal.
Third: There are rumors but no confirmation of a third kit.
Two notes. Wolves fans call the color Old Gold on their kits and the second is the Newcastle third shirt is supposed to resemble the Saudi Arabia soccer teams colors.
You may need to check out the “reason” behind the Newcastle Third kit and you may change your ratings.
Wolves colour is Old Gold – not mustard yellow.
They call it Amber themselves, to be exact.
As a Wolves fan, I can confirm our colours are old gold and black.
Point well taken, I read the amber description many years ago when a retro replica shirt was described by the TOFFS company.
Admittedly, I’m unsure which club was first to wear the design.
Google and the great Historical Football Kits websites are your friends. They’d be able to tell you everything you could possibly want to know about any English club’s kits. And the latter does so with flair.
I wish leagues with this kind of look could just stop kidding themselves. When Tadej Pogačar is seen riding a bicycle in something like that Arsenal kit, any viewer can rightly note that he’s on Team Emirates. The only team pictured here which really deserves for outsiders to call it by name, though, is Nottingham Forest.
This makes no sense. Forest’s badge doesn’t even say Nottingham on it, and how would a spectator be able to read it anyway?
Tottenham’s away kits are contenders for worst of all time. Their third kit, if the leaks are accurate, is definitely a step up.
Spurs’ away kit looks like a tribute to Dory from Finding Nemo. That said, they have worn the look in a few friendlies and I think they look okay in action. Definitely not the worst thing they’ve worn. The hideous green graphic kit from 2018-19 is WAAAY uglier, but somehow a lot prettier for being involved in huge Champions League moments at City and Ajax. Maybe the Dory kit will find that same love.
I like the home kit, though the ringer collar is solid “volt” yellow on the nape. Stop trying to make “volt” happen, Nike!
Agreed on all counts! I like this years home shirt—I prefer some navy/yellow accents on the white (but not too many, like the 20/21 shirt).
I’m having a hard time getting on board with the away kit, even on the pitch, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Just a question, why is Chelsea’s simple royal blue home shirt so bad while Everton and Leicester’s are somehow better with a very similar design? Not a Chelsea fan at all, in fact quite the opposite, just wondering where your line is here.
Am I the only one who thinks the Bournemouth primary shirts are a little unintentionally swastika-ish?
Ditto what was already said about the Newcastle 3rd shirts.
I saw swastikas too…
I think Nottingham’s sleeves are actually just yellow and blue. Looking at their website gives you a better close-up of the design and the color combo just gives an illusion of green.
Side note: I’ve always wondered why Nottingham Forest wears red instead of green…
From Historical Football Kits:
Their first game was played against Notts County (formed three years earlier) in March 1866. In those very early days, teams did not play in kits as we understand it: players would turn out in whatever they had to hand and teams would be distinguished by wearing distinctive scarves and/or caps. Forest ordered a dozen red caps “with tassels.” The committee resolved that the clubs official colours would be “Garibaldi Red” after the Italian patriot whose party was known as the “Redshirts.”
Forest have worn red ever since.
United will have a neon green third kit, so clearly the worst of the bunch.
I actually quite like their home kit, it’s a little bit reminiscent of their 90s kits.
Man City released their third kit on Wednesday I believe. Sort of a neon green with a design nod to the worker bee theme. Not the hugest fan of the design but I appreciate the effort.
You’re right the Tottenham away kit is garbage.
Tough for me to read a review of the Newcastle kit without mentioning it’s a copy of the Saudi National flag/Jersey in literally the most obvious case of sports washing in the history of time. Think Greg Norman turning up at LIV dressed like a Sheik. 0 flames for the kit and 1 water balloon for the review.
It is a brave effort to review English football kits if you are an American with almost no knowledge of these teams and their traditions. I am not trying to be a snob (I am not even British myself) but reading about team history might be helpful in judging kits of teams that are well over 100 years old in most cases. Ofcourse Arsenal has white sleeves (since the 1920s), ofcourse Villa is claret and blue (as much as the Yankees wear pinstripes), ofcourse Brentford reminds you of Chivas (historically it should be the other way around) and on and on. Chelsea is boring but at least they have been wearing solid royal blue shirts for well over 100 years so no need to change. American teams change team colors all the time when merch sales go down. It does not work in international club football that way. Tradition sells here.
“I’d do away with the shoulder stripes, though.” Literally adidas’s trademark…..
First team in and came immediately to the comments to see if anyone would say anything. How can u take the rest seriously if u don’t know those are Adidas stripes that are on every Adidas jersey?!
I mean, you can still not like them even if it’s the designers trademark.
But it reads like it was a choice just for that particular jersey, instead of every jersey Adidas does.
Do you really want Southampton to look just like Ajax? Please…one Ajax is already too much.
I don’t know anything about Premier League teams, and I don’t know if that that makes my critique more or less relevant. For a good number of teams I can’t really tell what their team colors are. I am assuming their main uniform jersey is their actual colors, but then I wonder why the clash/alternate uniform is often a completely different color(s). Doesn’t that take away the identity? I understand that unlike US sports there is no home / away with one team almost always in white. So teams may very often wear their primary uniform on the road. But when forced to wear their alternate, shouldn’t it be recognizable as that team? Aside from matching ads they often look like completely different teams.
In the days before merchandise sales drove fashion choices, teams had primary and clash kits. So, Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal in red, Leeds, Fulham and Spurs in white, Chelsea, Everton and Leicester in royal blue, and so on. The clash kit was meant to be worn only if the road team’s primary shirt looked too similar to the home team’s primary. So Arsenal wore red/white for every home game plus any road game where the host wasn’t also wearing red; for the other games, Arsenal wore something not red (let’s say yellow/athletic gold). If they were playing at Wolves and Norwich (athletic gold primaries), they’d wear red and all would be fine.
Now that it’s big bu$iness, teams have primary (still in the traditional “team colors”) a secondary (road games, never a “team color”) and a 3rd if the secondary shirt for road games clashes with the home team’s primary.
Just another reason sports uniforms and marketing are out of control, we now have to have a whole third uniform in case the one meant to avoid clashing with the other team now clashes with the other team.
And you are 100% correct, many times the sponsor logo is the most identifiable part of the uniform.
A clash lit is recognizable because of previews like this one, where you get to see who’s wearing what.
I would prefer that teams wore their primaries as much of the time as possible but I would also prefer that those kids stayed off my lawn.
Right, so aside from Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, it seems none of the other teams really carry over their aesthetic and colors from the primary to the clash uniform. Trying to compare it to US sports terms, if the NFL allowed color vs color matchups all the time, it would be like if the Packers wore their standard yellow/green/yellow as the primary, but in clash situations wore a mono black uniform with neon yellow trim. Would you even recognize them, does that even match with the teams standard look at all?
Presumably the clash uniform should be a pretty similar style as the standard, but rendered in either the secondary color or white, with the primary color as trim on the clash uniform.
I can fully understand Europe and Soccer having different uniform conventions than the US and our big four, but I tend to think when it comes to uniforms in general, specifically sports uniforms, a constant in the aesthetics should be use of the team colors at the very least, if not striping patterns etc.
You’re right, and a better idea would be a colored top and a white top, but the clash kit idea predates even black & white TV. I guess a shorthand way to look at it would be you know where your team was playing, and if their primary color matched the host, your team would be the one NOT in the primary color.
Not really. There’s a site that tracks kit usage, and the home kits were still worn 74% of the time last year (away was 16%, 3rd was 10%). Norwich and Wolverhampton (both yellow) both wore their home kit 32 times last year.
The site you’re thinking of, for anyone interested, is Football Kit Geek (link).
Looking at Brighton’s home and the first thing I saw was a giant H on the front. It’s probably going to be very noticeable during games.
Pretty brutal review overall. This should have been written by someone who actually has a clue about the Premier League, its teams, and soccer kit history in general.
I hate to agree because of the effort put in, but I didn’t enjoy the writing style or level of content knowledge.
I agree as well. Some of the opinions seem contradictory as well (e.g. Chelsea home).
The Premiere League is one of the worst-looking in the world. Seemingly no rhyme or reason behind awful choices like Tottenham’s away look, Chelsea’s piss-yellow third kids and all these busy patterns and betting ads? Woof.
I’d like to get rid of the sleeve stripes on Arsenal’s shirts too, but unfortunately that’s an Adidas trademark that’s on ALL their shirts. And BTW, the season starts today, Friday, with Arsenal away to Crystal Palace, before the rest of the league gets going tomorrow.
Without wanting to sound rude, this review was fairly poor – a typical “casual American” look at the Premier League without knowing the context and history behind many of the design choices.
For example, my team Manchester City – the primary kit is a tribute to the late Colin Bell, arguably City’s best ever player, and features the centred crest and burgandy accents that the great City teams of the 60s and 70s wore. The away kit features the iconic red & black stripes that we’ve worn several times, most notably during the cup-winning 1969 season and 2012, when we won our first Prem title. And the recently revealed 3rd kit features hoops inspired by the Manchester Bee (a symbol of the city and its inhabitants) and also bears a strong resemblence to the kit worn in the 1999 2nd Division Playoff final, one of the most important moments in the club’s history.
Can’t give Crystal Palace that high of a grade when their home kit is a re-tread of Hajduk Split’s away kit from last season. Same manufacturer (Macron) too. Just a lazy effort.
This is a such a strange Uni-Watch entry. Feels… thin.
Anyways, I do like how all the kit tops are presented side-by-side under neutral lighting.
It would be better to have this kind of pre-season review from a reviewer who is articulate, or at least has the vocabulary to describe what he/she likes or does not like. “Clean”, “points”, “solid”. All over-used words that don’t mean anything to the readers, and lead to bland conclusions such as “really good uniform.” Lee’s observation, that this article is “thin”, is exactly right.
This writing makes one appreciate writers like Phil and Paul. I’m glad UW gave him a shot, but there’s long way to go and I hope visitors to the site who were possibly new don’t think this is typical of the quality they’d get here.
I’ve always liked Aston Villa’s colors of their home jersey. It’s one of the reasons, as an American outsider, why I like Aston Villa. I know that sounds silly, but that’s why I like UniWatch.
I’m not sure if this post was submitted in advance, but Nottingham Forest revealed their third kit a couple of days ago. link
Late to this one as usual! I do feel a bit sorry for the author, but almost all of the comments reflect my own thoughts on reading the article. It’s a bit like someone not familiar with baseball history reviewing baseball uniforms and saying something like “What’s with the Yankees and those pinstripes? Are they late for their job at the bank?”. You can imagine the comments this would cause! This is not to say UK based reviews of soccer kits are much better TBH. They tend to either just repeat the club release “inspirational story” descriptions or use words like “clean”, “solid” the same as Michael did. It was explained rather well above by MJ and Greg above – soccer clubs have established club colours that are used for the home shirt. What is used for the away (clash) shirt is a free-for-all, but sometimes there are traditional away colours (like yellow/blue for Forest). In the early days when shirts were plain affairs, the design (or template) of the home and away shirts were the same. As stripes and other decorations came in, this persisted so that away and home had the same design template but different colours (again like Forest have this year). Then it became more common for the two shirts to have nothing in common at all apart from the club crest. It has gone so far now that people tend to complain if there is any similarity between the two – they tend to call it “lazy”. I sometimes feel now that the most important thing some fans look for is that the design of the shirt is totally unique. And that is more important than it being a good design. The moment there is anything that looks like another team’s shirt you hear screams of “copycat” or “looks like xxxx”.
Just to add, sometimes reviews by someone who doesn’t know the history of a sport and teams can be refreshing as they are in theory just judging the uniforms on their visual merits. But I think this article sort of falls in-between as Michael clearly knows a bit about the teams, but observed from a distance. As Alexander Pope said “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”!
No, it’s “A little learning”
Totally true, I agree with you on every argument in your reply.
vintage brand has some t-shirt ads on the site that i seriously doubt PL would approve of
It’s funny that UW always decries advertisers as part of sports uniforms and then with reviews such as this one give all the companies free advertising by showing and talking about them.