- Thanks to Matthieu Delahais for his assistance
Since taking over from adidas, Nike have varied the shades of blue on France home strips to a large degree.
Given that the 2018 kit was primarily navy, we’d have expected a return to a more royal hue, but the fact that the country won the World Cup in darker blue has no doubt increased its level of acceptance.
Cleverly, Nike have been able to include two historical references – the large red stripe calling to mind so many adidas strips, including the successes of 1984, 1998 and 2000, while the royal-blue marinière stripes echo Nike’s own early work with the FFF.
It’s the shirt that Arsenal’s 2012-13 could have been and the absolute worst iteration of that kit was when the red alternative home socks were worn at Old Trafford, so it’s hardly surprising that we feel France’s red socks jar, too. Navy or even royal blue would have worked better in this instance – it’s not 2016 anymore.
The all-white change kit is an instant classic, to our minds, with the stripes down the sides of the shirts and shorts representing the tricolore flag and also kind of harking back to the way the adidas stripes used to appear.
One difference, however, is that, on the adidas kits, the ‘flag’ always pointed backwards – a similar principle to USA military uniforms – here it faces forward on the right of the kit and backwards on the left. Such an approach means the viewer sees both blue and red no matter which angle they are looking at it from.
All-white is of course classy, but, if the home kit had been given navy socks, it would have allowed the opportunity to resurrect a classic look for the away.
It might be a surprise to learn that the last time France wore a kit of white shirts, blue socks and red socks was in 1983, away to Denmark, who wore white socks. Since then, opportunities to create the look via a mashup have been rare (though it could have been done against the Republic of Ireland in 2005, especially as Uefa often frown upon blue v green).
Given how often new kits nowadays have to be seen to be drawing inspiration from the past, a tribute would be very well-received.