The 20 Coolest Away Kits in World Football
One of the lighter subjects in world football is the study and analysis of kits and their aesthetic appeal.
Some have grudgingly accepted the fact that club kits are changed on an annual basis, but, while it might put a dent in the pockets of kit enthusiasts, it gives us analysts more to discuss.
One of the main arenas in which debate takes place is that of the away kit: where designers get to mangle tradition, and the most change occurs year-to-year.
Some are classically elegant, and some are just cool in a new-age sort of way.
With that in mind, let us evaluate the best away and alternate kits of the present and recent past—all across world football.
2010-11 Lyon Alternate
This is one of my favorite kits in football history, period.
Eclectic and decidedly unique, Lyon loved this kit so much that they used it more often than their regular away shirt last season, and rightly so.
It looks like this jersey should be viewed with 3D glasses for the best effect.
2010-11 Arsenal Away/2011-12 Alternate
I am proud to say I own one of these beauties.
Why the Gunners ditched it for this year's atrocity befuddles me.
2011-12 Borussia Dortmund
This kit radiates power and class.
The graduated black-to-yellow design is quite head-turning, and adds to the intimidation factor of the defending Bundesliga champions.
Why starlet Mario Gotze would want to get out of this beauty is beyond me.
Manchester United Away Kit 2009-10/2010-11 Alternate
Even with Rio Ferdinand sporting this kit, it is still as classy as they come.
Delightfully understated with only a single blue strip on the shirt and each leg of the shorts breaking up the all-black design, it manages to look good without incorporating any of United's traditional home colors.
This one, on the other hand, does not.
2011-12 Real Madrid
Real Madrid do not have a ton of freedom with the design of their kits, due mostly to tradition.
Yet, the striking all-black design of this season's kit is very elegant and fierce at the same time.
The gold trim and numbers mesh well with the main color of the shirt, and give Madrid their edgy, cool look, whether they are playing at the Santiago Bernabeu or elsewhere.
2011-12 Werder Bremen
Per Mertesacker is surely green with envy when he sees his former teammates playing in this green and orange kit.
The alternating color scheme of Werder Bremen's current away kit is quite unlike any other in world football, and blends into their green shorts very well.
U.S. Men's National Team
This is one of my favorite kits in football at the moment, especially as a Yank.
The red, white and blue design of the men's national team jersey is beautiful, and the contrast between the deep, navy blue and the single diagonal white stripe is pure class.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side tends to wear this kit more than their official home colors, and understandably so.
It's a shame that it will soon be replaced by this, if rumors are to be believed.
2010-11 Inter Milan
This kit is very clean and understated, with the all-white design a refreshing departure from Inter's usual black and blue striped design.
But, wait, is that a dragon on the side of the kit breathing blue fire? Yes, indeed it is. And that unmistakably unique feature is why this shirt earns a spot on our list.
Croata Men's National Team
Croatia has a history of interesting kits, often featuring this classic checkered pattern.
As such, the men's national team has garnered a certain degree of repute among kit fanatics for its eclectic patterns, and the current away kit is no exception.
The differing shades of blue and red go very well with each other here, giving Croatia's finest an unmistakable look.
2011-12 Manchester City
Manchester City's current away kit is bold, classic and quite stylish in my view.
The red and black stripes immediately catch the eye, and it is impossible to miss the Citizens on the pitch in this getup.
I'm surprised Carlos Tevez wouldn't want to warm up in order to put on this beauty of an away kit.
This admittedly odd Juventus kit, which is currently being used by the Old Lady, deserves a place on this list, if only for the audacity that Nike displayed in designing an all-pink kit with a giant black star on it.
Sure, I would never be caught in public wearing one of these shirts, but, while everyone is laughing at Juve when they play away from home, they can chortle at almost every other Serie A side during their title bout with AC Milan.
2011-12 Santos FC
It's difficult to mess up such a classic and famous design as that which Pele made famous in the 1960s while playing for the great Brazilian club, Santos.
While a little of the class of this kit is robbed due to the amount of advertising that is plastered on nearly every open space of the shirt, the black and white striped design is about as cool as it gets.
I don't know why the club doesn't make this their home jersey, but the fact that Santos reserves this beauty for away matches easily lands it a place on this list.
2011-12 Brighton and Hove Albion
Something about the bright lime green and black combination that Brighton and Hove decided to use on their away kit this season struck me.
Even though the Seagulls' colors are blue and white, they decided to go with this eye-catching color combination, which I sincerely hope they keep for seasons to come.
Frankly, I have no idea what the design on the chest of Marseille's current away kit is supposed to be, but I give it credit for being utterly unique.
The gold-on-blue look is also quite nice, giving this look a distinct touch of class.
2011-12 Notts County
Made for Notts County's 150th anniversary, FILA really did well with this design.
I must admit that I am a bit of a sucker for vertical stripes, and the differing shades of blue compliment each other quite nicely on this kit.
2011-12 Zenit St. Petersburg
Zenit's current kit is unlike any other currently being worn.
The odd three-dimensional pyramidal designs cover the entire jersey, and look quite neat in sky blue, even though they may not be for everyone.
A very similar pattern adorns the club's home kit, but it looks much better in this soft blue.
I mentioned before that I am a sucker for stripes, so I could not help but be attracted to Hearts' current away kit.
Different shades of blue blend fairly well with the club's crest, and the subtle strips of pink that flank each thick stripe add a nice touch of color to an otherwise dark kit, while matching the color of the sponsor's logo.
While Hearts may not be able to win the Scottish Premier League due to the continued dominance of Rangers and Celtic, they certainly have the best away kit.
France Men's National Team
This kit is a real "love it or hate it" type of thing. Some don't like the horizontal stripes or retro look, but I love it.
The jersey evokes images of rural French farmers tending to their grape vines and cultivating their beautiful gardens in the summer sunshine...
Wait, what were we talking about?
Oh, right. The current French away shirt is better than the home one, in my opinion, which is high praise indeed. Hopefully, the FFF will not change this design for a few World Cup cycles.
2011-12 Hercules CF
For a team in the Spanish Second Division, Hercules has a pretty flamboyant away kit.
Similar to Werder Bremen's aforementioned away design, and Barcelona's home jersey, the Hercules kit has stripes that graduate in thickness as one's eyes move down the shirt and which form a "V" shape.
By simply looking at the club's crest, one would not be able to fathom how this kit was conceived and produced, but somehow it was, and is extremely cool.
2011-12 FC Barcelona
Few away kits look better than Barcelona's current all-black design.
When the reigning La Liga champions are clothed in black and get their tiki-taka rhythm going at full intensity, few sights are more fearsome in all of football.
Take one look at Carles Puyol and try to tell me that he doesn't scare the daylights out of you in this black ensemble. Now try to muster the courage to get past him on the pitch.
Perhaps the only slight that one could make against this jersey is that it no longer gives gratuitous promotion to UNICEF on the front.
The Catalans are attempting to pay off some of their debt by selling prime advertising space to the Qatar Foundation, which apparently cannot design a logo better than someone with the most basic knowledge of Microsoft Word.
Nevertheless, Barcelona and Nike did very well with this year's intimidating, fearsome away kit.
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