Umbro kits – 2020 overview
Let me take you back to 2018. In the shirt world, Umbro were a bright shining light. The storied brand have always been a name to watch, but something about their approach that year struck a particularly good note.
One defining feature of Umbro’s 2018 catalogue was the double diamond cuff design which adorned many of the brand’s shirts. It was one of those features which looked beautiful in any colour combination, and even though the diamonds didn’t quite manage to make it round the full circumference of the sleeve (picky I know!), it was easily a highlight for me across all brands.
I’d go as far as to say it was one of the best example of retro-inspired shirt design we saw in 2018, in what was one of the most nostalgic years we’ve ever seen in kits with adidas in particular championing the approach with many of their World Cup kits.
So what about Umbro since then? Have they managed to retain their place near the top of the tree?
In truth, I don’t think Umbro matched the heights of 2018 in 2019 (last season), although that says more about how good they were in 2018. Heading into this year, I was hoping for a bit of a bounce back from one of my personal favourites in the shirt scene.
Let’s see if they’ve managed it or not.
Best 2020 Umbro kits
Fluminense third kit 2020
Umbro’s best work is found in Brazil.
I’ve said it time and time again over the past few years, and things are no different in 2020. As with previous seasons, third kits in particular have brought out the best of the brand, and this year’s slate of designs is a sight for sore eyes.
Cream of the very tasty crop is Fluminense’s green and gold third kit. I say green and gold, it’s more of a teal and orange, but whatever the technical names, it works. I absolutely love the crest variation, with just the letters as opposed to the usual shield, and the subliminal pattern is immense.
Shoutout too to the neckline insert, which is a pleasing wrapover design in an area of the shirt which is so often clunky on designs.
Club Deportivo Águila home kit 2020
Club Deportivo Águila are next up in a rather global trio of clubs. The Salvadoran side weren’t a club on my radar until this year, but Umbro’s trio of kits for the team this year are wonderful.
Many people lament multiple sponsors, but there’s something otherworldly and mystical about them in my eyes, in the best possible sense. The vibrant shade of orange that’s used throughout the home, away and third kits is special too, and on the home in particular we also have an aesthetically pleasing feather design which utilises a lovely grain texture and subtle gradients.
C.D. Águila are well and truly on my radar now.
Seongnam FC away kit 2020
Way back at the end of February, South Korean side Seongnam FC released an incredible pair of kits. I haven’t stopped thinking about them since.
The away shirt was especially notable for its iridescent strip of Umbro diamonds down the sides of the shirt. We see surprisingly few iridescent details in football kits, and it’s a crying shame. This shirt is so much more though. The base colours of white and pine green are refreshing, and a subliminal pattern (what else?) throughout the body of the shirt adds just the right amount of depth.
I could go on, but I’ll leave you with the passing detail of the beautiful crest. A solitary magpie, nothing more, nothing less.
Worst 2020 Umbro kits
Nürnberg home kit 2020
I’m not a fan of designs that feature one contrasting block of colour at the top that cuts off just below the crest. Think New Balance designs in 2019/20.
Nürnberg have an interesting take on the aesthetic, with two smaller blocks further down the kit, and whilst I appreciate the considerate framing of the sponsor, I still don’t like the overall look.
A tasty cuffs and collar combo might have saved this one, but as is I’m passing.
Hull City third kit 2020
See above, basically.
Hull City have a fantastic home kit this year (which narrowly missed out on my top 3), and indeed last year’s home kit caught the eye of many people for all the right reasons.
The 2020 third kit however is not my cup of tea. If Umbro moved that blue section further down and went with a central, thinner band of colour, we’d have the makings of a classic (with some good Umbro cuffs etc.). An even better look would be to go even thinner with the band and add other colours, à la Sampdoria.
Perhaps such a shameless adaptation of the classic Samp look would’ve been a bit on the nose, but I’m confident that kit would set the community alight.
Brentford away kit 2020
I’m getting some big training top vibes with the Brentford away shirt. It starts with the dark grey colour, which is something of a neutral and conservative choice that you often see on training wear no matter the colours of a team.
We saw a bit of a micro trend of marl shirts back in 2018, and I feel as underwhelmed now as I did back then with the look. Thankfully for Brentford fans, a very tasty third shirt has just been released at the time of writing, so there’s nothing to worry about as a whole.
Umbro rarely fluff their lines badly on a kit in my eyes, and all three of the ‘worst’ kits above are comfortably ahead of most of the other ‘worst’ kits from other brands I’ve looked at in my other season reviews.
At the same time, there’s something of a geographical divide across Umbro’s portfolio. Many of their designs in continents outside of Europe stand out for their creativity and risk taking, and whilst this is undoubtedly in part due to league and federation restrictions, it’s a shame to see some of the ‘bigger’ Umbro clubs outside of ‘kit of the year’ conversations.
I’m a big Umbro fan as a whole though, and knowing them they’ll be making serious waves in 2021.
Catch up with the rest of our season overview series, and see how your favourite brand are doing in 2020.