The Copa America 2016 is upon us, only a year after the last one to celebrate the centenary since the first. It’s a special occasion, and so it is more important than ever to judge how each team will be dressing. Disclaimer, football shirts can be dramatically affected by the combination with the entire kit, or front-of-the-shirt shirt numbers, but we go on what we have.
16 – USA
Guys. This is like turning up to your own party in [insert fashion faux pas here]. Nike’s 2016 template is terrible, and the US have been one of the unluckiest recipients of it. That badge, in truth, has a lot of classic potential. Those sleeves, yeesh.
15 – Argentina
A big gun falls early, and this might be controversial. Adidas have been going with classic looks for their latest kits, but this is just a bit too plain, the black collar just draws attention to how otherwise blank and shapeless it is.
14 – Uruguay
This shirt isn’t helped by how skintight it is, so tight that you can see the invisible wearer’s ribs. However, it’s the light blue highlights and Puma logo cut-outs on the black shoulder stripes that really let it down. Like Argentina, disappointing.
13 – Bolivia
There’s nothing much wrong with Bolivia’s shirt, and I feel a bit harsh it being 13th. The shirt sleeves and collar remind me too much of Nike’s terrible template though, and the rest of the ensemble doesn’t make up for it enough to put that magnificent badge higher up the list.
12 – Panama
There’s something about the off-centre stripes that just doesn’t ring right, along with the same-as-main-shirt-colour collar. It’s nearly there, but not quite.
11 – Costa Rica
This is one of those that, on one look, looks terrible, but on the next looks like a future classic. 11th just because there are some great shirts coming up.
10 – Brazil
Brazil’s colours and legacy seem to lend themselves to good kits, but this isn’t a classic and is therefore disappointing. Also, Nike. I strongly dislike your 2016 template. You deserve all the punishment you get for it.
9 – Haiti
I think it’s partly the fact that the neck and sleeve holes look so small which does this shirt down. The central badge and manufacturer is nice, as is the collar (design, not size), but the transition from chest to sleeves and torso doesn’t quite work.
8 – Chile
Probably the best of Nike’s current crop. Sleeves are basically the same colour as the rest of the shirt, which gets over the main problem in the template, and the blue highlights combined with the badge and Nike swoosh come together nicely.
7 – Ecuador
I’m assuming the real life kit doesn’t glow. Ecuador’s colours are wonderful, the badge is great, the collar is properly defined rather than some half-hearted mush and the old-fashioned subtle stripes work well with the niche/small manufacturer of Marathon to create a kit that looks a modern version of some imagined nostalgic classic.
6 – Venezuela
A hint of the glory of the Adidas kits that are to come. The burgundy makes it a bit less suitable for everyone, and the undershirt look is a bit odd, but those Adidas stripes…… Lovely.
5 – Mexico
Takes what the Venezuela shirt does and takes it up a level. Mexico shirts seem to have a certain mystique anyway, and this looks like it’s already a shirt someone at five-a-side bought off a classic kits site and is wearing proudly.
4 – Paraguay
More simple beauty, this time with a hint of elaborate design flair. On further reflection it looks a little disconcertingly like a Stoke kit, so I’m now re-thinking it being this high.
I’m going to pause now. Coming up are the top 3, the podium, and they are a trio that deserve being separated from the rest for their sheer magnificence.
3 – Colombia
Looks a bit like some classic Germany shirt of years gone by. The collar is nice, the red trim on the sleeves perfectly judged, and I really quite like their badge. Plain and simple, but wonderfully so.
2 – Jamaica
Gah, I love this shirt. The patterned edges are wonderful, the V in the neck saves the body of the shirt looking plain, the badge is nice, and the manufacturer gives it that extra little something. You’ll buy it and know that no-one else will have a Romai football shirt.
1 – Peru
Simply wonderful (watermark aside, but I got the pictures for the kits off their site anyway so I don’t mind). It is just so elegant, even the badge. Maybe too beautiful to actually wear yourself, but oh boy is it beautiful.
Now, my knowledge of football fashion is not the most extensive, nor my writing on the most elegant, but I just hope you’ve enjoyed these shirts as much as I have.