The History of the Football Kit

The football kit was first used in the 1870s and has been the method that football teams use to distinguish themselves for around 140 years.

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The first incarnation in the 1800s of long-sleeved jersey football shirts has been transformed greatly over time to become today’s modern breathable lightweight shirts.

The football shirt is now even the subject of art exhibitions.

Football fans don their teams’ shirts, displaying their support for their club proudly; it is a sign of allegiance. If you are looking for football team kits, look at suppliers such as

The Early Years

The first football kits are poles apart from what we see on today’s football pitches.

Back in the 1870s, the first football shirts were made from heavy cotton with long sleeves and collars. Unlike today, they didn’t display numbers on the back, so the only way to tell one side from another would be from their sock colour.

The FA Cup Final in 1933 saw numbers on football shirts become standard. At around the same time, goalkeepers were also given separate kits to allow the referee to distinguish them from other players.

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The 1950s saw synthetic materials introduced into football shirt manufacture. More lightweight and breathable, these shirts were combined with short sleeves for a much more practical design.

By the 1970s, more unique designs started to appear on footballers, with the first replica football kits hitting the markets for fans. With sponsorship logos appearing on football shirts, it became extremely profitable for clubs to sell football kits.


The 1990s saw more intricate designs, with technological innovations allowing developments in the manufacture and printing of football kits.

Football kits are now made from polyester mesh, a synthetic and much lighter material. Hi-tech polyesters, like wicking polyester, absorb minimal water and draw perspiration away from the skin. This allows footballers to stay dry and cool on the pitch.

Further technologies enable ventilation and even allow the shirt to adapt to the temperature of the body in cold and warm climates.

The latest innovation in materials is carbonyte. Products made from this fabric aid footballers by reducing the risk of injury and muscle damage. The compression and wrapping design of the fabric creates a supportive thermal layer. It also provides temperature control and moisture management.

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