The 2006 Italy home shirt which took inspiration from Superman

FSC Approved – 2006 Italy home shirt

In many ways, Italy’s home shirt from 2006 needs no introduction.

World Cup-winning shirts, no matter their design, live long in the memory. As the captain of a victorious nation lifts the famous trophy, the images of the team and their kits etch themselves into football shirt folklore.

Italy’s triumph in 2006 was memorable for many reasons, and there’s a fantastic story behind the design of the sleek shirts they wore on route to world domination.

In our recent interview with ex-Puma designer Rob Warner, we learnt that the shirts took a leaf out of comic books…

“The concept around the kits was that the Italian players were superheroes. So the home shirt had navy details to make it look almost like a comic book in photos, like the players were in motion because of the blurred colour coming off the shirt.”

It’s always fascinating to hear about the thinking behind certain designs, and for Italy’s kit the story of the superhero inspiration is a lot of fun to hear. Shirts on the more ‘clean’ side of the design spectrum are often criticised for being boring or unimaginative, but in this example Puma have nailed the more understated approach in a way that doesn’t feel lazy.

If you zoom out a little and look at Italy’s kit history, the 2006 design sits nicely. As Puma took over the Azzurri contract, they had it all to prove after a stellar series of designs from Kappa, but in many ways they fulfilled (and continue to fill) their end of the bargain. The navy sections of the ‘06 design represented a focal point in terms of aesthetic, without distracting from the purity of a blue Italian kit. Contrast this to something like the sleeves of England’s 2016 home shirt for example, which draw the eye but in the worst possible way.

The shirt is boosted further by the centralised federation crest, Puma logo and numbers. International shirts so often benefit from this approach, and it feels particularly fitting here with the way the dark blue portions frame everything as they swoop in from the sides. Speaking of the numbers, the tasty gold shade complements proceedings perfectly, and of course the colour choice was prophetic in many ways given the 2006 performance.

A brief word on the 2006 away also. As Rob Warner also mentioned in his interview, the ‘06 away continued the superhero theme with a delightful nod to a famous name…

“The away shirt was more of the ‘Clark Kent’ character with the home shirt and a white t-shirt over the top, as if the superhero outfit was hidden underneath. I really enjoyed that from a concept perspective and how it ended up looking, and obviously what they achieved with that particular collection was amazing.”

We have a range of Italy shirts in our marketplace, including a 2006 Italy home shirt. Pick up a beautiful piece of history and dress like a superhero in the process.

What is FSC Approved?

What makes a football shirt good? It’s a purely subjective question, right?

Whilst there are indeed a lot of subjective elements when it comes to shirts, there are still factors to consider. Sometimes, a design is notable for its unique aesthetic. The colourway, pattern or construction may have gone where no shirt dared to go before it, or it might simply be a particularly good utilisation of a classic approach. Other times, a legendary player elevates a design to immortality, even if the design in question would’ve been hard to pick out of a crowd before.

Our series FSC Approved will be a lovingly curated list of shirts that deserve to be in the conversation as good, possibly even great football shirts, no matter who you support or what your taste in shirts is. Old classics, new contenders, if it’s FSC Approved it’s as close to a certified banger as you can get.

Phil Delves

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