Best Retro Football Kits

Image of a white England kit featuring blue and red shoulder stripes across the top.
Credit: Pro:Direct Sports

Image of a white England kit featuring blue and red shoulder stripes across the top.
Credit: Pro:Direct Sports

Finding the best retro football kits can be a little tricky at times given there have been so many amazing shirts released over the years. Top clubs from around the world have all had their fair share, so figuring out which have been the best isn't straightforward.

Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you as we've put together a list of our top picks, spanning all eras of football to help you complete your kit collection.

We've taken historical significance into account, like we did with our list of the best football kits, rather than solely basing this list on looks, which can be a little subjective at times. As a result, these shirts have seen some immense success over the years, with World Cup and Champions League titles to name just a few of the accolades.

So, if you're looking for one of the best club kits of all time in this 1995/96 Newcastle strip, or for 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

  1. England Home 1982
  2. Newcastle Away 1995-96
  3. Brazil Home 1970
  4. AC Milan Home 1988-90
  5. Netherlands Home 1988
England Home Kit 1982 image of a white kit with red and blue details worn by a player.
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Credit: These Football Times

1. England Home Kit 1982

Best England retro football kit

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 have endured and continue to be remade even today.

In terms of history, England had faced disappointment, failing to qualify for the previous two World Cups. It wasn't until 1982, with a team led by stars like Kevin Keegan, Ray Wilkins, and Peter Shilton, that they finally managed to battle their way back into the tournament after an 8-year absence.

Despite their best efforts, the team's journey ended at the group stage, unable to progress further. Nevertheless, the impact of the 1982 shirt on football history is undeniable, solidifying its position as one of the most beloved retro kits of all time.

Read More: Best Premier League football kits

Newcastle Away Kit 1995-96 image of a red and blue striped shirt worn by two celebrating players.
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Credit: Vital Football

2. Newcastle Away Kit 1995-96

Best Premier League retro football kit

The Newcastle United kits from 1995 to 1997 hold a special place in English football history, but among them, the 1995-96 away strip stands out as the most iconic.

During that season, the team, led by stars like Les Ferdinand and David Ginola, engaged in an intense battle with Manchester United for the league title, creating one of the most memorable title races in Premier League history, even though they ultimately didn't win the championship.

The design of the 1995-96 away kit is simple yet captivating, featuring dark red and blue stripes complemented by a white buttoned collar. The vintage Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor adds a nostalgic touch, making it a truly iconic Newcastle kit and possibly the finest retro kit among English clubs.

Read More: Best EFL football kits

Brazil Home Kit 1970 image of a yellow kit with green details worn by the team.
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Credit: Clothes Make The Man

3. Brazil Home Kit 1970

Best international retro football kit

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.

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.

Read More: Best Real Madrid kits

AC Milan Home Kit 1988-90 image of a red and black vertical striped kit worn by three players.
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Credit: The Guardian

4. AC Milan Home Kit 1988-90

Best European retro football kit

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.

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.

Read More: Best Liverpool kits

Netherlands Home Kit 1988 image of an orange kit with geometrical patterns worn by two players.
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Credit: Oracle Time

5. Netherlands Home Kit 1988

Best looking retro football kit

Have an opinion on this article? We'd love to hear it!

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. 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 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.

Read More: Best Manchester United kits

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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.

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. Check out our list of the best places to buy football kits for more information.

What makes a football kit retro?

There's no definitive answer to this question as what is and isn't retro is quite subjective. That said, most people would probably consider a kit to be retro if it has a design that was popular in the past or if it features the colours or branding associated with a team's history.

Retro football kits often reference a specific era or moment in a team's history and can be characterised by features such as bold patterns, distinctive color schemes, and unique logos or sponsorships.

Retro football kits may also be influenced by changes in the materials and manufacturing techniques used to create football apparel. For example, a retro kit may feature classic wool or cotton fabrics, or use traditional embroidery or patchwork techniques rather than modern printing methods.

Overall, a retro football kit is one that evokes a sense of nostalgia for fans and collectors and celebrates the history and heritage of a team or football culture.

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.

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