Nike released their latest collection of third kits this week, with Inter Milan’s hooped shirts the absolute pick of the bunch.
After taking their cue from cityscapes and the classic styles of the 1990s in previous years, the latest series of shirts for Nike’s top table of clubs are inspired by vintage Nike Air Max trainers.
Inter’s new 3rd shirt recalls the Umbro design worn as they beat Lazio 3-0 in the first single-legged UEFA Cup final back in 1998, with goals from Ivan Zamorano, Javier Zanetti and O Fenômeno himself, the great Ronaldo.
The updated version is Nike’s 2nd shot at the syle, having kitted-out Inter in grey and navy-blue hoops between 2004-06 when Adriano and Luis Figo strutted about Serie A for the Nerazzurri.
There’s possibly something a little self-indulgent about creating a set of football shirts celebrating a collection of Nike’s most iconic trainers, but the series underlines how closely entwined streetwise styles and sport have become.
The huge figures sportswear firms pay to football clubs are not just about selling football shirts, and Nike know that association with top class athletes confirms the brand’s desirability in the eyes of the paying public, leading to sales of other items of sportswear like, you guessed it, trainers.
Other designs from the 2020-21 alternative shirt series include a baby pink top for Barça, a swirling RB Leipzig number, and a dark chequered display for Liverpool, in a collection of kits which is as much of a miss as it is a hit.
The fact that Inter’s kit is not purely a nod to Nike’s own design heritage but recalls a glorious night in the club’s history, makes this one stand out for us and really serves to satisfy our nerdy ’90s tendencies.
We love the centrally-placed badge, that shot of bright blue on the collar and the way Pirelli leaps off the shirt in vivid yellow.
This is a football shirt that will sell by the tonne.
In our eyes, the flashback to the brilliance of Ronaldo and a piece of 90s polyester perfection makes Inter Milan the recipients of the best of Nike’s alternative kits for the 2020-21 season.
Big thanks go to friend of Sartorial.Soccer, Mike Keay (check him out on Twitter – @FootieShirtz) for kindly sharing these images with us!