When Arsenal returned to adidas after a 25-year break in 2019, the move was generally welcomed.
Part of that was obviously nostalgia-based, but there was also a feeling that the previous five years with Puma had been something of a let-down. For two decades prior to that, Arsenal wore Nike kits and, while there were some shockers, by and large it was a fruitful partnership.
So it was that Rob Carey got in touch with us to wonder how the Gunners might have fared with the first generation of Nike Vapor kits in 2016. This style was controversial mainly because Nike outfitted almost all of their sides in the shirts and shorts of the same colour with contrasting socks – a previous FKF examined how countries might have looked in traditional formats.
There were some exceptions, though, like Barcelona and Brazil, and we feel that Arsenal would have resisted a move to make red shorts the primary set with their home kit – a compromise could have been navy socks to reference the club’s 1930s heyday. For games away to teams in blue socks, a red set would have been on hand.
We have stayed faithful to real-life colourways of the two change kits provided by Puma for 2016-17.
The away strip – worn at home to Basel in the Champions League – was yellow and grey and that would surely have succumbed to the Vapor model, albeit with contrasting sleeves.
Then, the third was navy with a luminous shade of yellow trim – Puma were clearly on a similar vibe to Nike as its default setting was navy socks and yellow socks. Nike’s third kits this season employed a gradient effect down the front and back, the colours flowing into the contrasting shorts, so we have applied that here. Arsenal wore the real third kit in all four shorts/socks combinations and so the navy versions are also shown.
The gradient effect probably makes it a bit too close to the away for comfort, but then bear in what Roma’s third was that season.
Feedback is always welcome – comment below or tweet @museumofjerseys.