We’re all aware of France’s blues, England’s whites and the Brazilian yellow and green—the perennial fixtures and bestsellers among soccer fans across the world.
These nations are the institutions of international competition, and as such, their colors tend to stay the same. They have a reputation to uphold, after all, and cannot just go remixing their kits at will.
With that said, today we’re taking a look at some of the dark-horse kits that will be on display at the 2014 World Cup—new jerseys and boots that are being underrated by the majority of the sporting media.
Let’s start with some underrated jerseys:
First up, we have Bosnia-Herzegovina’s new—and I mean brand new—blue and whites.
The Balkan nation waited until 13 days prior to the World Cup to unveil their new kits due to contractual issues. According to Liam Prenderville of The Mirror, Safet Susic and his team waited for their new sponsorship with Adidas to begin on June 1 to display their latest iteration of the blue strips—an understated and clean look by Adidas’ generally wild standards.
Next up is Spain, whose home and away kits have been ranked the 31st worst out of the 32 teams in the tournament by ESPN FC.
I find that a bit harsh, considering the most outrageous facet of Spain’s Adidas kits is a bit of neon highlighter on the aways. Sure, it’s not a traditional Spanish kit, but it’s multifunctional. Xavi and David Silva can keep their gear on and destroy you in laser tag with these unis.
Last we have Cameroon, whose kit designers at PUMA forgot how to give a damn.
Do not sleep on the Cameroonian hustle (Sidebar: If Cameroon’s players don’t get paid their due share, I will be picketing outside FIFA International in a full lion headdress).
On to the cleats!
At first glance, Nike’s Mercurial Superfly looks like a horrid, My Little Pony pool shoe.
I didn’t dig the Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby look, but there’s something about the boot that’s growing on me. Perhaps I just like the idea of a shoe with a sock-like stabilizer already built into the ankle—perfect for on the field or Cristiano Ronaldo's race car bed.
Next, we have PUMA’s evoPOWER “Tricks” cleat—a polarizing pink and blue combination that is dividing soccer fans around the world with its asymmetric styling.
Yup, the left shoe is blue and the right is pink—a look Mario Balotelli, among other players, will wear proudly in Rio de Janeiro.
And that is that, sports fans. Let me know if I missed any good candidates and check back for updates. The World Cup begins Thursday, June 12, and we’ll surely see some new styles roll out in the meantime.
Until then, I’ll be ordering a Cameroon jersey and shaking a rainstick in anticipation.
On the Twitters.