Kappa kits – 2020 overview
Kappa kits are something of an unfair advantage.
Stick their eternal logo on the sleeves of any kits, and you already have the makings of a classic. It’s a brand identity most could only dream of, and in recent years the storied Italian name haven’t been resting on their laurels.
Moving into the 2020 season Kappa snapped up one of the biggest names in shirts, replacing Le Coq Sportif as the supplier for Fiorentina. They’re also now getting their fair share of coverage with Aston Villa in the Premier League, and last year we saw a reunion with Monaco.
With a reputation as one of the more creative brands out there also, there are all the ingridietns in place for a strong showing across the board.
Are we seeing a realisation of this potential, or do we need to see more in order to consider Kappa as one of the leading lights in kits? Let’s have a closer look.
Best 2020 Kappa kits
Monaco away kit 2020
When Monaco announced their reunion with Kappa just over a year ago, I was very excited. With one of the best pairings of the late 90s and early 00s back together, there was the possibility of some truly gorgeous designs.
Monaco are realising that potential in 2020.
The 2020 away shirt brings back one of the undisputed greats in terms of late 90s aesthetics, with a navy and gold diagonal design reminiscent of Monaco kits 20 years ago.
This is more than just a straight remake though. Like any good throwback, there are some subtle changes for the new version, including a reworked neckline and a more modern look with fewer silver lines framing the various ‘panels’ of the shirt.
I miss the excessive Kappa logos on the sleeves (which would’ve been tricky to pull off admittedly with current branding restrictions), but this is still one of my favourite releases across all brands this year.
Napoli home kit 2020
I’d become so used to the big red box of Napoli’s primary sponsor Lete that I grew to like it in a strange way. That being said, I can’t deny that the move to change the logo into a cleaner red wordmark is a positive step aesthetically.
Alongside this big change, this is a sneakily good kit from Kappa that plays to the brand’s strength. Multiple ‘Omini’ logos adorn the sleeves, which themselves have a pleasing pattern.
There’s also something of a Kappa Kombat feel to the kit. Those designs at the turn of the millennium, with their pioneering construction and focus on fabric technology, completely changed the game in so many ways, so whether intentional or not the subtle nods only help in my estimation.
Fiorentina third kit 2020
Of all the kit designs in the world, the cross is most certainly up there for me. You tend to see the look on anniversary kits, though famously Inter Milan rocked a cross design as an away shirt during the late 00s.
Fiorentina’s new third shirt is sort of a reverse of that Inter design, with a white cross on a red background, though in this example the cross is much chunkier with the addition of a bevel/3D effect.
As much as I enjoyed some of Fiorentina’s kits during the Le Coq Sportif era, they moved onto Kappa at the right time. This is just the start of some great things.
Worst 2020 Kappa kits
Charleroi home kit 2020
The worst shirts are often the ones which look like they’re caught between multiple designs, and Kappa and Charleroi have conspired to make a truly confused shirt here.
We have something of a reverse braces look (if you count the two white stripes as braces), alongside the black sections which feature a solid black line and thinner black lines emanating from the centre.
Though gold is usually a solid colour to mix in alongside black and white, the gold kappa logos on the side and the gold detailing on the neckline only add to the clutter in my eyes. Speaking of the neckline, I also don’t like this flappy style despite how much Kappa persist with using it.
Of course, I haven’t even got to the worst part of this design. The double Fujitsu logos, which sit above both the Kappa logo and Charleroi crest, are some of the ugliest sponsors you’ll see in 2020. It feels very J League for a number of reasons, but the angled placement couldn’t be more distracting.
Real Betis third kit 2020
Many people lambasted Betis’ new purple away shirt, but I actually think the third shirt is the worst of the bunch. In a similar vein to Macron’s design for Canadian club York 9, this Betis kit features what looks like a hastily drawn line moving across the chest. Thankfully in this case, the line isn’t accompanied by some ugly place names (as with York 9), but this still feels like an unfinished shirt.
The large cuffs also feel like a lazy addition that’s been left over from the away kit, and to add fuel to the fire we’ve got the same flappy neckline as with Charleroi before.
Despite all these personal preference niggles though, this shirt would be well clear of this list without that line.
Western Sydney Wanderers away kit 2020
Unlike many people, I’m a vocal advocate for shirt sponsors. Shirts like this for Western Sydney Wanderers question my life choices though.
A smart effort (save for a one button collar) is completely dominated by a huge JD sponsor. Despite being a simple black logo, and not being a gambling firm, this is a perfect example of a sponsor completely taking over. Even a close-up shot of the crest includes the ominous shadow of the JD circle.
This isn’t quite as bad as the Harrogate Town debacle, but it remains a cautionary tale nonetheless.
Kappa seem to be finding their groove for their major teams, which is always good to see. For a ‘second tier’ brand (i.e. anyone other than Nike, adidas and Puma) to stand out they need to excel with their big contracts, and Kappa are doing that with the likes of Monaco, Napoli and now Fiorentina.
Most of their ‘misses’ this year feel like isolated bad design choices rather than fundamental problems with their approach, and I’d be confident enough to say that Kappa are one of the leaders of the chasing pack taking all things into consideration.