When do clubs release new shirts?

Are you enjoying new kit season?

July has brought with it a tonne of new shirts from across the globe, and frankly it’s been hard to keep up.

Although we’ve seen plenty of releases, they are still lots to come, and every year I get asked when we can expect to see shirts from ‘insert team name here’. Will 90% of shirts be wrapped up by the end of July, or will we have to wait until as long as 2022 to see some of next season’s, 2021/22 kits?

To help shape our discussion today, I’ll be looking at the release dates for shirts from some of the biggest clubs in the world last season. Although these are exclusively big clubs, you can apply the general thinking here to other clubs.

When do clubs release home shirts?

Home shirts – 2020/21 release dates

Third shirtRelease date
BarcelonaJuly 2020
Real MadridJuly 2020
Bayern MunichJune 2020
Manchester UnitedAugust 2020
LiverpoolAugust 2020
Manchester CityJune 2020
ChelseaMay 2020
ArsenalJuly 2020
PSGJuly 2020
SpursJuly 2020

Home shirts follow a predictable trend, with the vast majority coming out in July. There are exceptions to the rule, but given that most league seasons kick-off in August you can expect most home shirts to be released out into the wild by early August at the latest.

One trend we have noticed is that more teams are beginning to release new shirts (home or away) for the final game of the season. Chelsea are a good example, but you may have also noticed shirts like the Everton away shirt which was released at the end of May. 

When do clubs release away shirts?

Away shirts – 2020/21 release dates

Third shirtRelease date
BarcelonaJuly 2020
Real MadridJuly 2020
Bayern MunichJuly 2020
Manchester UnitedAugust 2020
LiverpoolAugust 2020
Manchester CityAugust 2020
ChelseaJuly 2020
ArsenalAugust 2020
PSGJuly 2020
SpursJuly 2020

Away shirt release dates tend to follow one of two directions. Either they are released at the same time as home shirts, or they are released a few weeks after home shirts.

For all the clubs featured above, the away shirts joined the home by being official before the start of the league season. With some clubs starting their season in their away kit it makes a tonne of sense.

This means we can expect to see the majority of currently-unreleased away shirts within the next couple of weeks for 2021/22.

When do clubs release third shirts?

Third shirts – 2020/21 release dates

Third shirtRelease date
BarcelonaSeptember 2020
Real MadridSeptember 2020
Bayern MunichAugust 2020
Manchester UnitedSeptember 2020
LiverpoolSeptember 2020
Manchester CityAugust 2020
ChelseaSeptember 2020
ArsenalSeptember 2020
PSGOctober 2020
SpursSeptember 2020

Third shirts predictably deviate from the home or away schedules. We usually, but not always, see them after the home and away shirts for a given team, and interestingly most third shirts are released after the season kicks off.

You’ll also find major brands releasing their third shirts in a batch of various teams. This can either be as part of a unified design approach (e.g. the retro-inspired Nike 3rd kits of 2019), or simply as a practical approach to releasing kits.

As time goes on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see third shirt release dates brought forward, as brands and clubs seek to capitalise on the growing interest around shirts.

When do clubs release fourth shirts?

Fourth shirts – 2020/21 release dates

Shirt (type)Release date
Barcelona (El Clásico shirt)January 2021
Real Madrid (Humanrace shirt)October 2020
Bayern Munich (Humanrace shirt)October 2020
Manchester United (Humanrace shirt)October 2020
Liverpool (Air Max)January 2021
Manchester City (Esports)September 2020
Chelsea (Air Max) January 2021
Arsenal (Humanrace/424)October 2020/March 2021
PSGJanuary 2021

Finally, we come to fourth/special edition etc. shirts. Simply put, there is no rhyme or reason as to when a shirt of this nature is released, and the majority of fourth+ shirts are released deep into the season.

Sometimes a shirt is leaked early and takes ages to release, like Barca’s El Clasico shirt last season, whereas other shirts come out of the blue to surprise us. Like third shirts, it’s also common to see fourth kit collections for a brand, with the Humanrace collab from adidas and the Air Max capsule from Nike both serving as recent examples.

In a few years time, this article will likely be redundant as we see a wave of new 5th, 6th or even 7th kits hitting the shelves all months of the year. For now though, I trust this will provide some food for thought, and don’t forget that you can usually pick up shirts later in the season for much cheaper than their release price. We’ve got a guide on that, too.

Phil Delves

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