This past week gave us easily another candidate for kit of the year. Making the rounds through social media and receiving more than a welcomed reception, New Zealand’s new away kit is a simple thing of beauty that makes us forget this nation did not even qualify for the World Cup.
Before getting into the specifics of what makes this kit so exceptional, I must simply say that we should not be surprised that New Zealand has such a world class look. If anything, I have come to expect the best from New Zealand as its away jerseys of the past few years, including most notably its 2012 and 2016 away looks, prove that this nation should always be looked at as a top contender in a soccer-style sense.
New Zealand’s 2012 away kit featured above.
The interesting thing about this year’s look is that it recycles the same inspiration as all these past kits, yet still manages to offer something new. New Zealand’s most recognizable symbol, the fern, is again the main decorative detail though in this case it is reserved specifically to the sleeves of Nike’s new Vapor template. Rather than opting for an abstract or subtle print typically seen on many soccer kits, Nike highlights this fern inspiration to maximum effect by presenting a photo-realistic rendering that more effectively captures the mystique and power of this symbol.
More than just a great design, New Zealand’s away kit notably confirms that the criticism from many fans against Nike may be unwarranted now. While Nike’s Euro 2016 offering bolstered claims of Nike’s lazy design efforts, its 2018 kits show Nike can still flex some serious design talent when given the opportunity. I mention opportunity as I have noted that the most interesting or unique designs to come out of Nike come from its less high profile federations such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Australia, and obviously Nigeria. Meanwhile, the higher profile federations such as the Netherlands and France have been extremely conservative at least with their home looks. Though I understand the need to maintain a consistent and recognizable look, New Zealand’s away jersey proves that a bit of provoking design is necessary to make something unique and worth buying.
I simply wish Nike showed some more confidence in its work. A standout design such as New Zealand’s, therefore, deserves the authentic/match treatment rather than the mere replica offering that will be made available to fans. As a fan, I always want to have the real thing. Besides, I don’t think it would have been too much of an expense or risk for Nike to at least offer a limited batch of the authentic/match version of this kit. This is definitely something Nike might choose to explore through its Jersey Shop as I definitely feel that a demand for standout kits such as this, even at a slightly higher price point, more than exists.
For now, replica jerseys will suffice so make sure to hit up nike.com to get the New Zealand away jersey.
Images via Nike.