THIS WEEKS INSTAGRAM BEST 11

Another Friday has rolled around way too quickly, especially when you’ve had the type of hectic week we’ve had. While continuing our efforts on the site, we’ve also had to move offices, conduct lord knows how many back-to-back projects, and find ways to grow our team, all the while keeping an ear on the ground for what’s been happening within soccer culture. So before we can hang our boots in exchange for ones better suited for the Coachella desert, we’re still grinding away at the new (and far from finished) office to bring you our Best 11 Instagram posts of the week, curated as always by our very on Andrew Medina.

To highlight a few, we’ve got COPA Football’s homage jersey to one of the greatest grunge bands ever: Pearl Jam; LAFC’s limited edition recycled Jersey, a Parley x adidas x MLS effort for Earth Day, Bleacher Report’s Bayern vs. Real Madrid and Liverpool vs. Roma Dragonball Z-inspired animation, Zlatan and Shaq (of course), and Alexander Wang’s third season drop with adidas Originals to name a few. Have a look below to see our full Best 11.

Team Markkers FC @jasonmarkk for The Association.

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Took the new @detroitcityfootballclub kits for a test drive

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Bayern vs. Real Madrid Liverpool vs. Roma 11 more sleeps.

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XL vs XXXL @shaq

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New Alexander Wang x adidas Originals. Thoughts? 📷: @bryanluna.co #HSKicks

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In the run up to the World Cup, we are designing prints representing our favourite new national team kits. Our latest print available to buy is the Nigeria Super Eagles kit pattern. . . 'The footwear giant set out to channel the Naija, or “New Nigeria” identity exuded by the youthful, contemporary team, which is mostly comprised of players under 25 years old. Nike accomplishes this through chevron and floral prints in tonal greens. The Nigeria Football Federation gets a lime green/white chevron Fast Fit Vapor Knit home uniform and traditional dark green ensemble for away. The key feature of the performance wear is heat transfer technology 64% lighter than other top-performing gear, making it Nike’s most breathable. . Source: @hypebeast . . . #fifa #worldcup #Nigeria #NigeriaSuperEagles #nike #kitdesign #kit #jerseydesign  #abstract #abstractart #abstractillustration #print #football #footballkit #footballart #footy #futbol #futbal#calcio #footballart . @ng_supereagles @fifaworldcup @nikefootball

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Replay. From a different angle.

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Friday mood 😜

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A 2ND CHANCE AT LOVE WITH UMBRO’S PROJECTS COLLECTION

Umbro has been in the game a very long time. While its heyday is something I never experienced to the fullest, life luckily presents me now with what seems almost a second chance at a lost love. The new Umbro Projects collection is just exactly that as the brand brings back some of the iconic styles which will forever maintain it as an enduring presence in the soccer lifestyle world.

For this collection, Umbro has turned nowhere else but to its archives from the ’90s. Unlike most brands who would take inspiration from their design archive and just seek to reinterpret this style, Umbro has instead opted for a more faithful reproduction of design styles that are as fashionable today as when they were first introduced. Their most recognizable piece has to be their soccer shirts and crew neck tees which bring back those bold prints that made the ’90s such an unforgettable period for soccer fans everywhere. The print is unique, to say the least. From afar, it gives off the illusion of some abstract design, though on closer inspection one realizes it is simply a very creative twist on more Umbro branding.

Though the bold prints and graphics get all the attention as they should, it is the enlarged branding that transports me back in time the quickest. This collection has plenty of enlarged branding interspersed between its tees, polos, hoodies, and jackets. Each time I look at the prominent double diamond on all these items, I can’t help but remember my love for all the training gear from this era which would utilize this enlarged branding oftentimes on both the front and back of training sweatshirts, jackets, and pennies. This style is particularly special to me as growing up it was the time I spent in training where I felt more in tune with the game. I did not just want to train like my favorite players but also look like they did, as it was in simply looking like them that the experience felt that much more real to me.

These small things that I take away from this collection are what makes it so exceptional. It is a part of me and no doubt also a part of you that now crosses over from these memories onto the field to the impressions you hope to make on the streets. The entire offering should look right at home with a natural street aesthetic mixed in with a little prep style.

All pieces are for the most part statement pieces meant to be worn on their own. Think of it as an opportunity to put new soccer enthusiasts on some real game with the best part being that you don’t even have to say anything. The new Umbro Projects collection is available now at umbro.co.uk.

  Via Umbro.

UNBOXING: MERCURIAL SUPERFLY 360 X KIM JONES

Here to kick off our official inaugural KTTP Unboxing video series we have the highly coveted, much talked about Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones. While we’ve dabbled in the Unboxing concept in the past, this episode marks our first full effort at highlighting all the details, notes, anecdotes and then some of the new soccer-related footwear releases that we feel deserve the limelight. To help talk us through the boots is our co-hosts Denise Jones, co-founder + EIC and all-around boss at sports hosting (who also apparently has some serious sauce!), and our very own soccer expert Andrew Medina, a face, and voice you’ll recognize throughout our platform (check him out on our KTTP Radio show if you haven’t already, and then be sure to subscribe!).

Throughout the Unboxing, Denise and Drew go in on the all-over Cheetah pattern, a design decision inspired by both Kim Jones’ own upbringing in Africa, as well as the speedy nature of the animal that went hand-in-hand with the performance of the boot themselves. The two then break down the construction, wearability, subtleties, accents and the finer details, as well as highlighting their own opinions and thoughts on Nike’s storytelling ability and about the highly limited Kim Jones Mercurials in particular. Hit play in the video above to watch Denise and Drew go at it on the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones.

FLOWERS & FOOTBALL – A MATCH MADE IN ARTISTIC HEAVEN

To commemorate adidas Football’s release of the international away kits in March, Kicks to the Pitch mixed foreign with familiar.

As the Los Angeles flower market is a staple to locals, fashionable kits are a statement in soccer. To honor the tradition of each, the jerseys were paired with flowers to highlight the unique colors and designs featured from each country. Arguably the best designs in the entire drop are featured below, including Argentina, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Spain. The colors are vibrant and bold, fresh and unexpected from adidas, with eye-catching designs that complement the traditional three stripes from the brand. The subtle details and patterns on each jersey blossomed into something beautiful with each as unique and tasteful as the last. The integrity of the kits remains the same – the country’s crest on one side and adidas’ distinguished logo on the other. The jerseys will make their appearance at the World Cup this year, which kicks off June 14th in Russia.

Check out the photos by Emily Acosta below:

OFF-WHITE MERCURIAL IN HAND: HAS OUR OPINION CHANGED?

Following our post on the announcement of the much talked about Virgil Abloh/Off-White rendition of Nike’s Mercurial Vapor 360, we managed to get our hands on a pair to truly see what all the fuss is about. Prior to that, we were basing our judgment on the quotes Nike News offered us from Abloh himself on the design and intention behind the boot, online reviews and comments, and our own opinions that took into account Abloh’s recent efforts towards the soccer realm – a conversation we went to lengths on in our KTTP Radio show.

Admittedly, from what I read about the Off-White Mercurials and the reasons behind Abloh’s designs, I wasn’t that impressed. It felt like the creative director/DJ was trying too hard to make himself and his soccer-related endeavors seem authentic when in reality, he only really played soccer during high school. That’s like saying I took a Judo class once in school and therefore I’m now a bona fide Judo fighter… While my sentiments on that remain, I will also admit that with the Mercurials in hand, I was surprised to find the attention to detail and the quality of the production was way better than what I had expected. That being said, was that in part due to Virgil Abloh’s input, or Nike’s continued effort at putting our quality products? Until we figure that out, check out our photo shoot of the shoes throughout for a closer look at the details.

MIDFLD’S NEW MEANING FOR THE COLOR PURPLE

Can you walk by the color purple and not notice it? I dare you to try especially when you have Midfld’s latest “Dal Viola” collection right in front of your own eyes.

No matter how hard I might try, the collection is one I cannot help but be drawn to. Though its soccer inspiration is what initially intrigued me, I find myself now more enamored with this offering because of the impression that it has left on me that’s totally unrelated to soccer.

The collection reminds me to appreciate the beauty in everything. For Midfld founder Daniel D’Angelo, it is from the color purple, which is what “Dal Viola” means, that he too was able to appreciate all the beauty around him. The color, however, has taken on a richer meaning as it signifies all the great Fiorentina teams he grew up watching. He refers to the great Fiorentina players such as Socrates, Batistuta, Rui Costa, and above all Roberto Baggio, as players who left a lasting impact on him both for the fashionable jerseys they wore as well as the creativity, skill, and genius they showcased. This overall style is what Midfld’s latest collection replicates.

The collection puts a twist on a classic Fiorentina logo and includes the team’s signature color in all except one of its garments. It is spearheaded by a unique tribute to Rui Costa in the form of a vintage style jersey that utilizes shadow numbering as well as Gothic print on the back to honor the player’s Portuguese heritage. As the title of the collection suggests though, purple merely serves as a portal as Midfld brings with it a slew of other vibrant colors with their own meaning.

The color selection for this particular collection has both a stylistic and thematic purpose. While staying true to the design heritage of the club by incorporating all the colors that they use, such as purple, white, red, and gold, Midfld also stays true to its own aesthetic by maintaining that casual look with more of an athletic sportswear vibe this time around.

The selection, in the end, is compelling, but again Midfld is more than just about outward appearances. One of the brand’s posts on its Instagram page captures the true core values behind this collection through a quote from Roberto Baggio which reads, “you have to believe in yourself. You don’t believe that something external guides your life – basically, it’s you. You understand your defects. You learn to be happy.” In line again with its mantra, Midfld reminds us to find our space through the players which found their own.

It is when thinking about this message that it becomes easier to choose my favorite piece from this entire collection. I arrive specifically at Midfld’s tribute to Socrates in the form of a gold t-shirt with the number 8 on the left chest and the words “find the space” in Portuguese. As a player who not only dazzled me on the field, Socrates might be better remembered for his involvement in pushing for democracy in his native Brazil. His exploits thus expand the meaning of what Midfld has come to mean. It is not simply about finding your own space, but rather also realizing how your space can become a space for others as well.

Midfld’s “Dal Viola” collection makes it difficult to overlook the beauty of this thought. I hope you too can notice the beauty the brand has put before us through the color purple and pick up your favorite pieces from its online shop.

Images via Midfld.

ANIMAL PRINT STEPS OUT OF THE JUNGLE AND ON TO THE PITCH

For anyone that calls themselves a sneakerhead… in fact, most that are even remotely into sneaker culture will have seen at the very least one footwear iteration that boasts Nike‘s synonymous animal-inspired patterns & prints, be it from an Animal Pack or a Safari drop. The soccer realm, however, has finally received its long awaited follow up, Mercurial CR7 Safari being the first, into the animal kingdom – despite the amount of flash out on the market – thanks to renown fashion designer and director Kim Jones‘ efforts with Nike’s Mercurial Superfly 360. Cast in a blazing “Total Orange,” the boots’ upper brought on an all-over display of Cheetah-print, which in our opinion puts this design miles ahead of the game.

Now, you may be wondering why the ex-men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton and the now current artistic director at Dior Homme is adopting the pattern of a cheetah onto not just a shoe, but a soccer boot at that. The reason behind the design is refreshingly straightforward. “I grew up in Africa and have always admired the strength of animals. The cheetah is the fastest land animal, so it makes complete sense as an inspiration for me,” the designer tells Nike News. Jones is not the only one who within the past month has decided to put their creative touch on a soccer boot.

We of course have Virgil Abloh – who coincidentally took over Jones’ role at LV if for some strange reason you haven’t heard that news already – and his Off-White take on yet another Nike Mercurial: the Vapor 360s. However, his design has the people divided, with one side approving of the Off-White stamp, and the other questioning the authenticity of his involvement in the game. In Kim Jones’ case, there’s no statement given by the man that makes it sound like he’s a soccer head, but rather a nonchalant (and perhaps more believable) mention that he likes the sport. The focus of his shoe then lies on the purpose of the design and its aforementioned link back to Jones’ upbringing in Kenya and Botswana.

For us at Kicks to the Pitch, the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones boot falls exactly into our niche category of lifestyle and soccer, given the brand heritage of animal print, and how the Mercurials also followed the release of Nike’s Air Max 1 collaboration with Japanese sneaker and streetwear imprint Atmos. While animals patterns have been a recurring theme for not just Nike, but within the sneaker realm as a whole – think Vans, Supreme, Stussy, adidas, Jordan Brand, Reebok… the list goes on – Nike is without a doubt the head of the pack when it comes to tapping into the animal kingdom’s artwork. In fact, Nike and Atmos together have played a big role in imbuing the sneaker landscape with unmatched efforts in animal print; a case in point being the 2007 Atmos x Nike Air Max 1, Dunk & Court Force “Beast Pack.”

The recent release of the Atmos x Nike “Animal Pack,” however, which features the fur from the Leopard, Tiger, Zebra, Giraffe, and Horse, takes the whole animal print game to the next level. The combination of all five animals comes from the mind of Atmos’ creative director Hirofumi Kojima, and represents yet another example of when Nike trusts an outside creative to run with their wild ideas. Another example of that being Nike’s “What the” Dunks, and more recently the “What The” Mercurials. With the animal print – and the “What The” design for that matter – having expanded outside of lifestyle and into soccer territory, who knows what else we may be seeing in the near future, especially since the sport of soccer is really starting to make its way into more facets of both the mainstream and niche creative industries. Let’s just hope we get to see more authenticity within what’s to come as opposed to bandwagon jumping.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones images by Richard Gordon

KTTP RADIO EP. 52 WITH TENS CLUB FOUNDER LUCAS SHANKS

This week Drew, Rich and Alex chatted with founder Lucas Shanks about the vision and inspiration behind his brand, TENS CLUB, born from the culture surrounding the No. 10 in football and in life.

Lucas has opened the organic doors of design, drawing concepts from players who wore the number and expanding beyond that to players Shanks liked, and those who went against the grain. Running with a list of topics and things they want to create, the brand releases one item on the tenth of every month, highlighting the overarching theme they felt passionate about.

Check out what Lucas had to say and the rest of the show below, including the LAFC vs. Galaxy recap and Champions League as it stands today. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Soundcloud so you don’t miss a beat.

SHUKYU MAG’S ISSUE 5 TALKS TECH WITHIN SOCCER CULTURE

SHUKYU magazine, for those who are unfamiliar, is a print effort out of Tokyo, Japan that introduces the realm of soccer through themes, topics, and categories that branch out into the creative sphere. While soccer – or football to the rest of the world – is without a doubt a leading sport the world over, there’s unfortunately only a handful of printed publications that do an amazing job at encapsulating the many facets of the sport’s culture. SHUKYU is one such example of doing it right, made obvious through its creative design, quality of writing, level of content and its overall aesthetic.

First debuted back in May of 2015, the magazine is now five issues strong, having just released its Issue 5 only a few days ago. Dubbed the “TECHNOLOGY ISSUE,” the book delves into the integration of technology within soccer culture, with themes revolving around how we view games in today’s world, how social media is changing the landscape, and even what the near and far future may look like, which could very well include robot players apparently. “We as football fans watch live matches on our smartphones, access daily information via social networking platforms, and are further approaching times in which we read articles that have been written by AI. Who knows that in 50 years or so robots will be playing at the World Cup, and events beyond our wildest imagination may be taking place,” states the mag’s Editor Takashi Ogami in the Editor’s Notes.

However worry not if you’re one of those “AI technology will be the end of humankind” types, as, despite its exploration into the positives and negatives of technology within soccer culture, the issue settles on the fact that “football is football so long as there are 22 players that run across the pitch aiming for the goal and pursuing the ball, and the enthusiasm and excitement of watching a match in the stadium is the same in any era.” With great articles coupled with stunning visuals under a very pleasing design, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up a copy of SHUKYU Magazine No.5 TECHNOLOGY ISSUE.

Head over to its online store here to order yourself a copy for ¥1,500 JPY (approximately $14 USD), as well as copies of their back issues, and although they’re written in Japanese, each copy comes with an English translation booklet. The store also features special collaborative merch that we can totally get behind, such as hilariously kitsch T-shirts, socks, and accessories, including the awesome “Yellow and Red Card” series with Hender Scheme. For now, check out a few examples of what you’ll find in issue 5 throughout.

NEW BALANCE RELEASES HOMAGE TO ICONIC “MADE 990”

New Balance‘s MADE 990 silhouette has remained a benchmark for quality, craftsmanship and performance for the sportswear company since its debut over three decades ago now. First introduced back in 1982, the runner disrupted the athletic footwear market with its $100 USD price tag that boasted unmatched innovation at its time, despite its understated look. While we know the ’80s to be a very vibrant era, NB instead opted for a nondescript grey for its pigskin leather and mesh upper. The shoe has since received several iterations in colorway and construction, however 36 years from its inception, NB harks back to its original form for its 2018 version.

In true homage form, the MADE 990, now dubbed the New Balance MADE 990v4 “1982” in its latest rendition, makes a come back in its original grey, with added navy accents to create what can now exclusively be called the “1982” colorway. To continue its tribute, the shoe’s upper cremains constructed in premium grey suede and mesh, and to top it off, they’ll retail for its original price tag of $100 USD. However times have of course changed, so without being stuck with two feet in the past, the runner comes with updated technical improvements and modernized details, namely the navy tongue logo, the classic “N” logo in a navy boarder, and the “EST. 1982” nod on the heel counter.

As mentioned, the new release comes in a very limited quantity of only 1,500 pairs, and will be sold at a curated selection of locations the world over – with the North America spots listed below. Have a look at the New Balance MADE 990v4 “1982” in all its OG glory with the images throughout, then be sure to stop by a location near you come April 14 to get yourself an inevitably legendary pair.

– New York City, NY – New Balance, 150 5th Ave
– Atlanta, GA – Foot Locker, Greenbriar Pkwy SW
– Palo Alto, CA – Shoe Palace, 451 University Ave
– Philadelphia, PA – Kicks USA, Roosevelt Mall, 2339 Cottman Ave
– ​San Francisco, CA – New Balance, 856 Market St
– Washington, D.C. – YCMC, 1060 Brentwood Rd NE
– Windsor Mill, MD – YCMC, Security Mall, 6901 Security Blvd