Best retro football kits: Top shirts of all time

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

Finding the best retro football kit can be a little tricky at times given the wide variety of great shirts released over the years.

Fortunately, we've compiled a list of our top picks spanning all eras of football to help kick off your search in the best way possible and complete your kit collection beyond some of the best kits seen in the Premier League this season.

Like our list of the best football kits this season, we've decided to take historical significance into account when selecting our top kits rather than solely basing this list on looks, which can be a little subjective at times.

Advertisement

As a result, these shirts have seen some immense success over the years in which they were active, with World Cup and Champions League titles to name just a few of the accolades.

So from one of the best club kits of all time in this 1995/96 Newcastle strip, to one of the best from the international stage in this Netherlands 1988 jersey, we've rounded up the very best right here.

We've also answered a few commonly asked questions like how to buy retro shirts to help you start and build out a collection. Before that though, let's get into our list...

Best Retro Football Kits

Advertisement

Best retro England football kit - England Home 1982

Best retro football kit England 1982 product image of a white kit with red and blue details.
click to enlarge
+ 5
Credit: These Football Times

While, arguably, the most historic England kit is the 1966 World Cup-winning shirt, this 1982 design from Admiral revolutionised football kits with its V-neck and stripes, which is why it is still being remade to this day.

Advertisement

In terms of history though, England hadn't qualified for the previous two World Cups, but a team consisting of Kevin Keegan, Ray Wilkins, and Peter Shilton helped England battle their way to the tournament for the first time in 8 years.

Unfortunately, the team itself never made it past the group stage, but the shirt left its mark on football history which is why, we think, it is up there as one of the best retro kits of all time.

Also, you're looking to pair this retro kit with some great footwear, check out our list of the best football boots available now.

Best retro Premier League football kit - Newcastle Away 1995-96

Best retro football kit Newcastle 1995-96 product image of a red and blue striped shirt.
click to enlarge
+ 5
Credit: Vital Football

The Newcastle kits between 1995-97 are some of the most iconic shirts in English football, but we think the 1995-96 away strip is the best of the bunch.

Advertisement

While the team consisting of Les Ferdinand and David Ginola didn't win the league, their battle with Manchester United for the title is widely considered one of the greater title races in Premier League history.

In terms of the design, it features simple yet effective dark red and blue stripes with a white buttoned collar, and a now incredibly retro-looking Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor to round off this iconic Newcastle kit we believe to be the best retro kit from an English club.

Best retro international football kit - Brazil Home 1970

Best retro football kit Brazil 1970 product image of a yellow kit with green details.
click to enlarge
+ 5
Credit: Clothes Make The Man

The Brazil team in the late 50s to early 70s is arguably one of the most dominant sides in all of sports history, picking up 3 out of 4 World Cup wins from a team that featured the likes of Pelé, Jairzinho, and Carlos Alberto.

Advertisement

The 1970 Home kit, in particular, is one of the most recognisable national team shirts of all time, which is why you'll struggle to find anywhere to purchase this kit today.

Despite being simply a yellow shirt with a green collar and sleeves to represent the Brazilian flag, the kit has to go down in history as one of the best national team strips ever.

Best retro European football kit - AC Milan Home 1988-90

Best retro football kit AC Milan 1988-89 product image of a red and black vertical striped kit.
click to enlarge
+ 5
Credit: The Guardian

Much like Brazil in 1970, the AC Milan team was on top of the world in the late 80s and early 90s having picked up two European titles in this time period.

Advertisement

The shirt they wore certainly matched their dominance on the field, incorporating the typical red and black vertical stripes with a Scudetto shield logo to celebrate the previous season's title success.

All in all, we feel this classic red and black kit is one of the best retro kits from one of the greatest European clubs to grace football.

Best looking retro football kit - Netherlands Home 1988

Best retro football kit Netherlands 1988 product image of an orange kit with geometrical patterns.
click to enlarge
+ 5
Credit: Oracle Time

Again, while this is subjective, the Netherlands 1988 kit is often regarded as one of the most unique and best-looking kits in football history thanks to its bright orange design combined with a geometrical pattern that makes it stand out from anything else at the time.

Advertisement

On top of that, it was worn by a legendary team consisting of Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco van Basten who went on to win the 1988 Euro's Final.

As a result, we feel the Netherlands 1988 home kit is one of the best-looking and most historic shirts in football which is why we've included it in our list.

Frequently Asked Questions About Retro Football Kits

With so many different kits out there, you may have a few questions about retro shirts. Don't worry though, we've answered some of the most common queries right here.

Where can you buy a retro football kit?

Trying to buy genuine replica retro football shirts can be a little tricky at times, especially if you're looking for anything older than 1990.

You'll of course have to search for something second-hand, however, there are a number of handy sites available now that make buying a retro football kit that bit easier.

Advertisement

Classic Football Shirts, for example, offer a range of retro kits including a few match-worn pieces to really take your collection to the next level.

Keep in mind though that there's no guarantee that what you're getting here is genuine, although Classic Football Shirts does provide a few handy pointers to help you validate your kit.

Sports Memorabilia is another good option to consider for retro shirts, particularly if you're after signed and framed kits to hang on your wall.

What makes a football kit retro?

There's no real answer to this as anything not still in use could be considered a retro shirt.

However, when you think of a retro shirt, you'll probably picture something simplistic and containing a sponsor of a company no longer in existence.

In a fashion sense, something can be considered retro when it is not in style, but we think a retro football shirt can simply be any kit no longer used.

Advertisement

How do you start a football kit collection?

This will come down to you and your preference.

You could start by purchasing the kits from your favourite football team each year, and eventually, you'll start to build a collection.

You could also pick up any kits you simply like the look of. This was the case for the Nigeria 2018 World Cup kit which sold out following 3 million pre-orders.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Once you start to buy a few, we're sure you're collection will continue to grow.

Read More: Best EFL Football Kits - Our Top Picks