THE 5 BEST BLACKOUT KITS

THE 5 BEST BLACKOUT KITS

We are very pleased to have recently taken delivery of a limited number of the, frankly controversial, 2019 Mexico home shirts. 

The design caused quite a splash when it first dropped due to the radical departure from the traditional green of Mexico in favour of an all black design that apparently “pays homage to the iconic Aztec match ball, used during the World Cup in Mexico ’86”. It’s undeniably a loose connection but when you end up with a shirt that looks this good, we’ll let it slide. 

 

Buy the Mexico 2018 away shirt here

 

The shirt arrived as part of a wave of blackout shirts that kicked off around 2018. And while Mexico’s home shirt may not strictly be a blackout shirt due to the white Adidas mark, iconic three stripes and traditional Mexican badge, to the fans that either loved or hated the radical design, it certainly was one in spirit. 

So to celebrate the release of Mexico’s 2019 home shirt on Cult Kits, and as a look over the timeline of the blackout shirt, we’ve gathered together six of our favourites released from 2018 to the present day. 

 

AIK (2018)

 

 

Where to start other than the original, the shirt that, for better or worse, kicked off the entire blackout trend. 

The undeniably attractive kit was a nod to the all black kits worn by the club all the way back at the turn of the 20th century. While AIK’s home colour has stuck primarily with black, usually with yellow trim, ever since, the 2018 design marked the first time in modern memory that an entirely black kit had been produced and it made a major splash. 

The club's site crashed under the volume of visitors and it was immediately clear that Nike and AIK were onto something special. 

 

Dortmund (2019)

 

A year later Borussia Dortmund brought out what is still arguably the most in demand blackout shirt to date. 

Without so much as a teaser the side took to the field in their match week 14 fixture against Fortuna Düsseldorf in a pretty stunning all black design. The only presence of colour on the design was the classic yellow Dortmund badge to the shorts. 

The club simultaneously made a limited run of the shirts available to purchase from their club shop which, predictably, crashed under the influx of visitors. Needless to say it sold out in mere minutes and genuine examples are now tough to find. 

The club also stated that the shirts were definitely not a cynical money grab following on from AIK’s success and definitely were released to celebrate the region's major historical industry, coal mining. Because… coal is black, I suppose.

 

Gladbach (2020)

 

 

Not to be left behind the other Borussia quickly got in on the act, with Gladbach releasing their own (sort of) blackout kit the next season.

Debuted against Leipzig in October of 2020, the kit released to mark the sides 120th anniversary wasn’t exactly a full blackout kit. Sure, it had what by now was becoming all the hallmarks of one, black badge and sponsor in a glossy print, a vague nod to the past, etc. But they crucially spiced things up a bit by leaving in a white trim and anniversary marker to front. 

While the concept was already growing a little stale (looking at you Liverpool), Gladbach managed to give it a new lease of life with their take and the overall result was great. 

Shortly after the shirts first debuted against Leipzig a limited quantity were made available on the clubs shop at a healthy €120, though this did at least include free customisation. 1900 pieces were produced to reflect the year of the clubs foundation and each item was individually numbered. 

 

MLS blackout collection (2021)

 

 

Now for something a bit different. Rather than an individual team celebrating a vague anniversary or legitimate piece of heritage, the MLS blackout collection was an initiative of eight teams that came together to produce something special for charity. 

And special they were. The eight shirts were the brainchild of the organisation, Black Players For Change, a collective of over 170 black players, coaches and staff working in the MLS who commissioned creative studio, Participation Trophy, to hand dye the shirts. They were then raffled in support of FC Harlem, an initiative aimed at helping young players from underprivileged backgrounds in the New York borough. 

 

Germany (2021)

 

 

Some may argue that the shirt worn by Germany during their ultimately fruitless Euro 2021, erm I mean Euro 2020, campaign was not really a blackout shirt due to the presence of a small amount of red and gold trim. Those people are dull. 

The blackout design was tipped to be one of the favourites of the tournament and indeed came out on or near the top in a number of pre tournament lists. Ultimately though, it did not make the splash desired. This was most likely due to the shirt having been worn in just one game, a disappointing yet thrilling 2-2 draw with Hungary. 

Much like the absolute beauty of an away shirt worn by the side at the 2018 World Cup, the lack of success has now meant that the shirts can be snapped up at half price from a number of retailers. Schnäppchen (that’s bargain in German) 

 

Hull (2021)

 

 

Arguably the most talked about UK shirt release of the season outside of the Premier League, Hull City and Umbro certainly proved with the release of their 2021/22 away shirt that the appetite for blackout shirts in 2021 is as strong as ever. 

As with Borussia Monchengladbach, the designers once again decided to go with a twist on the traditional all black kit, this time utilising vertical stripes of darker and lighter tones. Or as Hull’s official website put it: 

“tone-on-tone front stripe with a woven black tonal crest, stylised crew neckline, embroidered diamond, bespoke back neck sign-off with ‘Tigers’ lettering and a dropped hem with side vent detail.” 

Not really sure about all that but it’s a nice shirt. 

 

Words by Andy Gallagher

 

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