To celebrate the start of new football seasons all around the world, and fans being constantly ripped off with the cost and frequency of these new kits, we’ve put together a list of fifteen classic football kit manufacturers.
These are in no particular order, so keep your shirt on!
Where else to start but the iconic English brand, formed in 1924 by the Humphreys Brothers (Um-Bro). Their kit debut was the 1934 FA Cup final, with both Man City and Pompey wearing Umbro.
At the 1966 World Cup, 15 of the 16 teams wore Umbro. Whilst at the Mexico 70 World Cup the great Brazil side would wear Umbro. However, they did also bring along some kits made by Brazilian supplier Athleta and the shirts looked very similar apart from some differences in the shirt numbers. As players often refreshed their shirts at half-time due to the heat, both suppliers can lay claim that one of the most iconic team's in the history of the game wore their shirts.
Another fine English brand, Admiral were replica kit pioneers in the 1970s, first of all with Leeds Utd in 1973 and then their iconic tramline design for Coventry City, Wales, Belgium etc.
Admiral did well abroad too, creating many of the NASL kits.
The French brand was at its height in the late 1970s and early 80s, synonymous with one of the great teams and shirts of the era - Saint-Étienne’s Manufrance and SuperTele kits.
Le Coq Sportif also supplied World Cup winners Italy in 1982 and then again four years later with Argentina at Mexico'86.
If there’s one brand to associate with Italian football in the 1980s it’s Ennerre, and their iconic nr logo. Created by ex-player Nicola Raccuglia (see what he did there?), they dominated the domestic Italian market before disappearing in the 2000s.
Ennerre shirts were worn by Serie A icons galore - Baresi, Maradona, Falcao, Careca, Baggio etc.
German sporting super-brand created by Adi Dassler.
Their three stripes and Trefoil are responsible for some of the coolest football shirts and shorts ever, from simple masterpieces such as Holland's 1974 World Cup kit or that glorious sash of Peru in 1978, to design classics such as the iconic shirts of Holland 1988 and West Germany in 1990.
Another vintage English brand, they apparently produced kits for Nottingham Forest way back in 1884!
In the 1930s Bukta were supplying most of the English First Division kits and in the 1970s even Ajax were wearing Bukta kits for their European Cup triumphs.
After years creating casual-wear for the Catalan beaches, local company Meyba hit the big time in 1982, supplying Barcelona for 10 years and kitting out iconic players like Schuster, Quini, Bakero, Guardiola, Koeman, Laudrup and Stoichkov.
The Danish company struck gold in the mid 80s as their fantastic half-pinstripe kits adorned the equally fantastic Danish Dynamite team which became many fans' 2nd team.
Hummel also became well known in England around the same time with their kit designs for Spurs, and continued to get traction across Europe, even decking out Real Madrid for nine years.
The iconic Hummel logo is actually a stylized bee, as Hummel is the German word for bumble bee.
Topper is an Argentine/Brazilian brand which was huge in South America in the 1980s, providing kits for many of the top teams and making sponsorship deals with the likes of Sócrates. But it’s the Brazilian Seleção for which Topper are best known, especially the España '82 vintage.
Having found success in the 1970s with casual-wear and outerwear on the streets and ski slopes of Italy, the Robe di Kappa brand then turned to athletics and football.
They hit kit design gold in the early 1980s with Juventus and their huge v-neck/collared shirts style, complete with Ariston sponsorship.
Brazilian brand Penalty were formed in 1970 and soon became a leading supplier of footballs and kits in the huge domestic Brazilian market.
Penalty were responsible for some fantastic kits in the 1980s and 90s, for example São Paulo, Fluminense and Gremio - all with huge sponsor logos like TAM and Coca Cola which somehow seemed to complement the shirts and designs rather than detract from them.
Formed in France in 1892 by Patrick Benetau.
Before moving into football kits they were famous for their two-striped boots, worn by the likes of Michel Platini and Kevin Keegan.
Serie A winners Roma wore Patrick in 1983, along with teams aplenty across Europe in the early 1980s.
Before Adidas started manufacturing the shirts of “Die Mannschaft” there was Erima, who made them from 1965-80. Adidas actually bought their German rivals in 1976 but the Erima name lived on and they made some brilliant kits in the late 1970s.
The 1. FC Köln kit of 1979-81, with its huge club badge and Pioneer sponsorship, was particularly good, as was the collared Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt shirts from 1978 - both absolute gems.
Italian company Lotto exploded onto the scene in the early 1990s with some really bold designs (too bold with that Fiorentina design!).
And any football kit manufacturer who creates those Croatia shirts of 1996/98, or the Milan 'Motta' shirt of 1993, deserves a mention.
A second sporting super-brand was formed when Rudi Dassler split with his brother Adi, Rudi originally named his company "Ruda" before changing to Puma. A wise decision! Puma's football kits are often overlooked, yet they made some crackers in the 1970s/80s - Gladbach’s 1980 Datsun kit, Austria ‘82, and Beerschot’s iconic purple “buchmann specs” shirt were all absolute belters!
The mid 1990s saw some really good kits created for the likes of Parma, Porto and Sheffield Wednesday. This seemed to kick Puma on again, and they’ve now become a main player in the football kit industry once more.