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The best (and worst) football shirts to wear this summer

Blame it on Blokecore, blame it on Jack Grealish’s calves: football shirts are everywhere right now. Here’s your guide to bagging the best on the market.

The FIFA World Cup is in winter, and we’re just as miffed as you are. But don’t let that stop you from digging out that crumpled England shirt from the back of your wardrobe just in time for the summer. Everyone’s wearing them, from the fields of Glastonbury to the Stella-sipping devotees of one of the latest cores” of TikTok, blokecore, and documented by Instagram account, Festival Football Shirts.

But how can you look more Phil Foden and less Phil Mitchell? Calling all club kids, sweet, tender hooligans, fans and barely fans: this is the definitive guide to choosing a football shirt for the summer. We’ve even chucked in a few guest selections from the seasoned pros of the kit collecting world. Get innn.

  • GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE   GO VINTAGE  

Football shirts are like fine wines. Yes, there are modern classics (we’re looking at you, Nigeria 2018), but you can’t go wrong with a good vintage.

I’d recommend shirts from the Italian sides,” Carl Faulkner of @festivalfootballshirts told us. In the 90s, lots of Serie B clubs were sponsored by Lotto, Diadora and Kappa. People love the nostalgia of those brands.”

How many decent shirts are ruined by some clever dick in the marketing department striking a deal with Paddy Power? Luckily, FIFA has banned visible sponsors on international shirts – so, if you’re the good leftist you say you are, fly the flag for country over club. Hibernophiles, keep it tight with the 1986 Republic of Ireland home shirt. Or, for a touch of continental class, go and bag yourself the Italy 1982 match shirt.

It’s also worth remembering that not all brands are decadent and evil. For pure novelty value, try cutting about the campsite like a walking billboard for Nintendo (AFC Fiorentina Away 1998), Jägermeister (Eintracht Braunschweig 1973), or Spider-Man 2 (Atlético de Madrid Home 2004).

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  • TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS   TURN HEADS  

Looking to turn heads? The 2021 Venezia FC away shirt has become a cult favourite amongst the fashion crowd. But not everyone’s a fan. Overrated,” says Harry Sims of online shop Hartex. It looks like a Coldplay album cover.” You can’t win em all.

They say that the walk from the festival entrance to security is the longest walk in footba– uh – I mean, festivals. So you somehow made it past the sniffer dog, but your baggie exploded in your sock? Dry your eyes, mate. Next time you’re looking to score, look no further than the totally far out 1989 Brighton & Hove Albion FC Away shirt.

But headbangers, beware. Legend has it, if you stare into the red, wavy chequerboard pattern for too long, a bloke named Barry Lloyd appears in a hallucination and relegates you to the third division. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  • GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD   GO LOUD  

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Fancy standing out in the crowd? Keep your eye on Hull City FC’s 1992 home shirt, caught somewhere between Joe Exotic in the North East of England. Sure, The Tigers finished 20th in the third tier that season, but they looked bloody good doing it. For more so bad, it’s good” rarities, try and get your hands on Shrewsbury Town’s 1992 Home shirt – affectionately known amongst fans and connoisseurs as the Scrambled Egg”. No points for guessing why.

The shirt is so shit that years later, ex-Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst issued it as a punishment to the worst trainer every week,” David Jones of @cultkits told us. Now, you’ll be hard pushed to find it for less than £300.”

But perhaps you prefer to keep it simple on and off the pitch. Don’t panic, just look to the 1984 England Home shirt – it’s cleaner than Declan Rice’s fade. Criminally underrated.

  • GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT   GO LIGHT  

Keep in mind: today’s shirts are made from breathable lightweight polyesters, but their 70s and 80s counterparts are thicker than Andrea Pirlo’s beard. If the weather’s looking good, you could take a punt on Cameroon’s 2002 Sleeveless home shirt (and slather on the deodorant).

So you’ve dropped a week’s wages on a Dukla Prague shirt from 1964? You beauty. Try pairing your new piece with the Gucci x Adidas Horsebit loafers or a Louis Vuitton headband. Or, if you’re not earning that Premier League money yet, why not turn those unwanted England shirts collecting dust in your old man’s attic into a bucket hat or bum bag?

Some player you are, you’ve made it this far. But forget what we think: Express yourself! Create the space! You know you can win! Don’t give up the chase! You know the rest…

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