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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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