By now, everyone is pretty well aware of how the world of football shirt manufacturing works, and the hierarchies that lie within it. We have the behemoths of adidas and Nike, followed by the other big players in Puma and Umbro. That leaves a mixed group of brands, ranging from global sporting giants trying to break-up the established elite, to more humble brands providing an alternative to the rest.
It is in this last group of brands that ample shirt quality can be found. While these brands can not offer financial deals to rival many of their competitors, they can offer a more bespoke and hands on approach to a club’s kit design.
Ahead of the 2021/22 season, few brands are doing this quite as well as Joma. The Spanish sportswear manufacturers are hardly a new arrival to the game, but this summer kits for the likes of Anderlecht, Swansea City and the Ukrainian National Team have grabbed widespread attention, setting them up as the dark horses of kit manufacturers. Let’s just hope they’re better dark horses than Turkey at the Euros.
Joma shirt highlights
Operating since the 1960s, Joma have long been established as a reputable choice for clubs, and their recognisable ‘J’ logo is currently on over 200 kits from around the world. These deals range from La Liga to the League of Ireland, and include clubs from Atalanta to Havant & Waterlooville. In recent memory it is perhaps the Bergamo side’s Champions League runs that provided Joma with its greatest exposure, with Atalanta having reached three successive group stages wearing their black and blue stripes designed by the Spanish brand.
And they have taken that energy into 2021/22 in a big way, with a string of eye-catching releases. Close to home, it is Swansea City who first got tongues wagging, releasing a set of new kits with a strong retro vibe. The faded stripes and off-white of the home shirt, in particular, combined wonderfully with the club’s retro crest marking the anniversary of the club’s first promotion.
The colours of the crest also appear to have provided inspiration for the away design, with a black base complimented by orange highlights, both colours also appearing in the crest design.
But it will not just be the Championship who play host to Joma next season. Thanks to a new deal with recently promoted Norwich City, The Premier League will see it’s first Joma kit since Charlton almost 15 years ago, and it’s looking like it will be a triumphant return.
With the club’s long-standing deal with Errea drawing to a close, Joma have stepped in to design the latest variation of the Canaries’ yellow and green shirts, adding to the yellow base of the shirt with green panelled features across the arms and shoulders.
North of the border, Hibs have also been given the Joma treatment this season. Their very original home shirt has incorporated a map of Edinburgh into the design, allowing for both a break from any template design, and a personal touch for Hibs supporters.
Of course, this is not the only example we have seen this Summer of a map appearing on a Joma shirt. Just days prior to the Euro 2020 kick-off Joma’s Ukraine home and away shirts made international headlines thanks to the inclusion of a very particular outline of the Ukrainian border embossed on the jerseys.
The outline included the disputed territories of Crimea and Donbas, which Russia believe belongs to them. From what was a seemingly innocuous addition to an international shirt all of a sudden became a diplomatic issue, as Russia’s Foreign Minister weighed in, along with the President of Ukraine.
In the end, however, Ukraine wore the yellow and blue jerseys – which also featured a beautiful, if not slightly overshadowed, new national crest – all the way to the quarter-finals of the competition.
In the European club game, we have already touched on Joma’s exploits with Atalanta, but in Belgium they have also found a very suitable home, kitting out Anderlecht RSC. The Brussels-based club had been working with adidas for over three decades when they made the switch to Joma in 2019, and three years in it is a decision they do not seem to be regretting.
The purple hue of Anderlecht’s home shirts is iconic throughout the game, and so the pressure was certainly on those early shirts, but Joma delivered – and if you don’t believe us you can see for yourselves in our Modern Classics collection!
Heading into 2021/22, Joma have continued producing the goods for Anderlecht, paying attention to the small details with exquisite collars, each featuring a line of gold running through them. Surely a nod to the tradition and history of Anderlecht, it shows Joma’s creativity in pushing forward an already iconic kit.
So where does Joma really lie in the grand scheme of kit manufacturers? Has this 800 word propaganda piece convinced you that one day Joma will be challenging their German and American counterparts, or was their recent claim of being a ‘top 10 brand’ a questionable one?
As ever, consistency is key in the creation of football shirts, and we just hope we keep getting high quality designs like some of the examples we have been looking at this summer.