I try to be as neutral as I can when I write about shirts, but in the case of hummel I really struggle.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fondness for the Danish brand. Their footprint on the shirt world has been an aesthetically pleasing one on a consistent basis, and in recent years we’ve seen an increasing number of teams across world football with the famous bee logo on their shirts, not to mention Everton in the Premier League now.
If I was to take a step back though and try to assess hummel’s efforts in 2020 as objectively as possible, how are they faring?
As we did with New Balance last week, I’ll be offering up my favourite kits of 2020, and my least favourite kits, alongside a summary of my thoughts.
Best 2020 hummel kits
Bristol City goalkeeper kit 2020
hummel are arguably the best manufacturer when it comes to retro-tinged shirts. They demonstrated it to perfection with Coventry’s kits last season, and they’re back at it again in 2020.
I wasn’t planning to include goalkeeper kits in this series of brand overviews, but I will happily make an exception for Bristol City’s goalkeeper kit.
The design is unashamedly inspired by arguably the most iconic goalkeeper shirt of all time; Denmark’s 1992 keeper kit of Peter Schmeichel fame. This new shirt is more than just a straight copy though. All black sleeves give hummel’s signature chevrons a chance to make an appearance, whilst there is also a wonderful bespoke detail specific to Bristol City.
A series of maritime flags can be found on the inside neck of the shirts, spelling out ‘Bristol City Football Club’ in the maritime flag alphabet.
The return of an all-time classic and additional bespoke details? Yes please.
Forward Madison third kit 2020
May seems very like an absolute age ago, but if you can cast your mind back that far you may remember a certain kit emerging from Madison, Wisconsin.
Forward Madison, a team with a growing reputation in the kit space, unveiled a remarkable new third shirt which instantly garnered attention from the wider community. The pink and blue design was created as the result of some hydro dipping, a technique which combines paint and water to glorious effect.
hummel’s US arm has embraced the vibrant soccer community in the country over recent years, and they serve as an example for other major manufacturers.
Southend United away kit 2020
Hot on the heels of Bristol City in the retro design arena are Southend United.
Either of Southend’s new home or away kits could be in this selection, but I’ll lean towards the light blue away. The design, comprised of a series of diamonds each with their own gradient, has been expertly lifted from a Southed shirt from the 90s, and I love the aesthetic (even if it is relatively redundant as another blue shirt to the home).
It’s one thing to create a shirt based on an old design, but few manage to breathe new life into a retro look like hummel do.
Worst 2020 hummel kits
Yeovil Town home kit 2020
This is a rare L from hummel.
Anniversary kits often follow a formula; old school crest, classic colourway (especially if it’s different to what a team has now), relatively clean design with some nicely designed patches or design features. It’s nice to mix things up once in a while, but not like this.
The pattern on this Yeovil kit is hard to stomach. The phrase ‘Achieve by Unity’ covers the shirt in two directions, but it’s a distracting design which would look much better as a subliminal pattern in a much better font size.
Other elements of the shirt are relatively straight forward, but I just can’t buy into the pattern. No hard feelings hummel.
Fleetwood Town home kit 2020
Gradients are tricky to pull off in any shirt design, and in the case of Fleetwood’s 2020 home kit the gradient does more harm than good in my opinion.
Though completely out of hummel’s control, the line based pattern ‘underneath’ the red of the chest reminds me in a bad way of the pattern of adidas’ Condivo 18 template, which was used on seemingly hundreds of teams a couple of years ago.
I’ll also pass on this particular neckline design, at least when the middle panel contrasts clearly like in this kit (as opposed to a one colour approach as seen with Everton’s new home shirt).
Oldham home kit 2020
Now there are a lot of good things about the Oldham home kit, not least the superb anniversary crest, but the orange faux placket looks sorely out of place here. Admittedly it’s very much a thing of personal taste, but I’d much rather see that additional colour used somewhere else like the cuffs, or to frame another area of the shirt.
Once again though, it says a lot when a kit this reasonable is in a list of the worst 3 designs from a brand.
There is so much to like from hummel this year. The vast majority of their kits feature bespoke details, and their approach to retro-inspired designs is absolutely textbook. It’s one thing to simply nod to an old pattern or famous shirt, but it’s another thing to breath new life into a design with some tasteful tweaks and strong additional details.
Nobody’s perfect, and there are a few kits I’d like to quickly forget, but considering the sizeable portfolio the brand now has I’m impressed with their performance across the board.
With Everton flying the flag now at the top of the game, these are exciting times for the humble bee.
Catch up with the first part of our brand overview series, where we look at the good, the bad and the ugly of New Balance in 2020.
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