Arsenal's 20 Coolest Kits

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIOctober 14, 2013

Arsenal's 20 Coolest Kits

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Arsenal are absolutely steeped in tradition.

    A club as successful as the Gunners is bound to have many interesting, diverse and deep-seated traditions.

    The most visible, and arguably the coolest, is the kit that which the players don every week. Here are 20 that epitomize the coolness of Arsenal's kit.

20: 1997-98 Away

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    credit: jdfootballshirts.blogspot.com
    credit: jdfootballshirts.blogspot.com

    It's so ugly it's good-looking!

    Nothing epitomizes the putrid era of '90s fashion like this boxy number with a giant blue stripe across the chest. I wouldn't wear it in public, but hey, it's retro!

19: 2010-11 Home

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The beauty of this design is in its simplicity and traditional grounding. Too often, we see designers have their way with an already perfect setup, but the red shirt with white sleeves is just what it should look like.

    As soon as you lay your eyes on this strip, there's no doubting which team it belongs to, which is exactly what one wants in a kit.

18: 1993-94 Away

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    Via ebay.com
    Via ebay.com

    This is just as '90s as No. 20, but kit is considerably more attractive.

    As many Arsenal away jerseys are, this one is primarily yellow. But the three diagonal stripes that slash down the chest (this was an Adidas kit, remember) give it a sleek, athletic look. It's more than one would expect from the mid-'90s.

17: 1886 Home

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    I have to give props to the original and the one that got it all started 127 years ago south of the Thames.

    This was the year that Karl Benz unveiled the first car, and the year that Arsenal was founded.

    With a look that could accurately be described as "retro," Dial Square, as the club was known back then, sported this redcurrant look with white knickers, which was spawned by a set of kits loaned from Nottingham Forest.

    A classy kit for an eminently classy time.

16: 1988-89 Home

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    Here, Adidas put their spin on the classic Arsenal home stripe.

    The design of the shirt itself is quite nice, although it is cut in a way that befits the time when it was worn. Yet what really makes this kit is the outstanding crest on the left breast: subtle, yet fitting.

15: 1933-35 Home

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    Here we see Arsenal transitioning to the look that defines them to this day.

    The blue socks seem foreign to contemporary fans, but the red shirt with white sleeves and white shorts has been a mainstay ever since. Legend has it that Herbert Chapman chose the color scheme himself.

14: 1998-99 Home

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    Credit: goonersphere.com
    Credit: goonersphere.com

    An extremely classy and classic kit.

    The collar adds a bit of panache, and there was no meddling with the classic white sleeves. The touch of white on the abdomen is a nice touch, and the man wearing it makes it look even better.

13: 2003-04 Away

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    This year's away kit seems to be based on the one worn during Arsenal's "Invincible" season of 2003-04.

    It follows the basic template for an attractive, classic Gunners away jersey: yellow on top, blue on the bottom and a spiffy collar to tie it all together. Eye-pleasing all around.

12: 2011-12 Home

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Some may criticize the altered crest, which was specifically designed to honor Arsenal's 125-year anniversary, but the relatively minimalistic-yet-effective design scores points in my book.

    The classic red and white sleeves are there, yet instead of adding anything major to the sleeve, Nike simply put a little strip of red down the middle, which I thought was a nice touch.

    I loved it when I saw it two years ago, and I wish I could see Arsenal wear it once again. Perhaps for their 150th anniversary.

11: 2002-04 Home

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    This is another great example of the clean contrast between the red abdomen and the white sleeves and shorts which have come to define Arsenal kits throughout the years.

    Of course, this stripe evokes great memories of the Invincibles in 2003 and 2004, and it's hard not to be intimidated when Thierry Henry is flying at you with this slick uniform on.

10: 1991-93 Away

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Come on, admit it: You'd like to to see Arsenal's current team play in this kit for one game.

    Your eyes might be sore after that game and you would be begging for the kit to be put back in its darkened case in the Arsenal museum again, but this is definitely one of the most distinctive football kits ever produced.

    I have no idea what the designers of this kit were thinking when they cooked this thing up, but surely we can appreciate its utter zaniness 20 years later.

9: 2001-02 Away

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The photo you see here is of Arsenal clinching the 2001-02 Barclays Premier League title at Old Trafford in one of their best away kits of all time.

    Nike took a bold step with their gold and navy color scheme, and it absolutely worked. The shirt blends perfectly with the shorts, and the entire kit is distinctive without being too out there.

8: 2010-11 Away

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    This is easily one of my favorite away kits of all time, and I was proud to have one of these babies sitting in my closet during the season when it was used.

    The design would scream class, but it's much too refined for that. Instead, it whispers its elegance into your ear with a sweet yellow base and subtle pinstripes that are not too flashy yet are still noticeable.

    With the V-neck collar and burgundy accents, this is really a wonderful jersey through and through. No wonder Arsenal attempted to use it as much as possible the next season, rather than their hideous blue-and-turquoise mess.

7: 1978-81 Away

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    This classic design formed the prototype for Arsenal's 2003-04 away kit and their current one.

    The V-neck paired with the collar oozes class and a sort of retro elegance. The crest is distinctive yet subtle. There are just the right amount of blue accents, and the cut is flattering.

    No wonder Nike brought it back.

6: 2008-10 Home

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    The candy cane design doesn't get the love it should.

    It's a unique variation of Arsenal's classic home design. Rather than allowing the entire sleeve to be white, a single stripe travels from the neck to the wrist, and down the side of the abdomen.

    Love this design or hate it, it's distinctive and graphically interesting.

5: 2005-06 Home

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    What an incredibly slick jersey this was, and many wish that the club would bring it back in some form today to take advantage of its truly unique look.

    The redcurrant shirt is timeless and simply wonderful, but the gold lettering is what really takes this one over the top for me.

    It's too bad that Arsenal only got to wear this kit for their last season at Highbury, because this is a look that few would grow weary of.

4: 1969-77 Away

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    This is the classic Arsenal away kit—the one that all should be modeled after.

    Everything about this shirt oozes class and prestige. The yellow is attractive and commanding, while the blue accents are wonderful touches that blend perfectly with the main color.

    Moreover, the crest is just as small and perfectly designed as it should be, without any garish frills or nonsense.

    This kit was immortalized by Arsenal's famous 1971 FA Cup victory, but would have live long in the memory regardless.

3: 2013-14 Away

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    If this is Nike's last season as Arsenal's kit manufacturer, they are going out on an incredibly high note.

    This year's away kit adds some brightness and flair to the classic designs of years gone by. The collar adds class, and the colors are more more vibrant than in many past variations of this design.

    The one key difference, however, are the socks. Arsenal's players certainly can't miss their teammates when they're wearing these aggressively striped pieces of cloth around their calves. It all combines to produce a wonderfully retro look with modern styling.

2: 2011-12 Goalkeeper Home

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    For once, a goalkeeper's kit will receive a mention in a "best kit" list.

    It's totally merited here. Many 'keepers' kits are amazingly garish and unnecessarily unattractive. Yet this one achieves the two objectives of being distinct from the kits worn by all the other players and having just the right amount of flair.

    Poor Wojciech Szczesny has been forced to wear this pink monstrosity for far too many games. I'm sure he wishes he could revert to this uniquely styled number from the 2011-12 season.

1: 1969-77 Home

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    I wish I could have been alive during the 1970s, for it really was the golden age of Arsenal kits. It's not terribly difficult to see why the club didn't change the design for a full eight years; they knew it was already perfect.

    An underappreciated aspect of this design is that it mirrors the away jersey of the same period, swapping yellow for red and blue for white. This has everything that one would want in an Arsenal kit, and yet, it does not insist upon itself in achieving its goals.

    The crest is beautifully small, the red the perfect shade, the sleeves white with no interference from other designs, and above all, the shirt is free from sponsorship. The best Arsenal kit ever makes one long for the days of Pat Rice and Liam Brady.