Ten pairs of football shorts, selected for uncertain times, that will have you looking cooler than a young Pep on a scorching day in Catalonia.

Ok – so we know these are unsettling times. As such, we think it's our public duty to provide a little light relief to help you fill the long, empty days of spring. And where better to start than with a garment too often overlooked in football fashion circles - shorts.

Once upon a time, they were short - very short - and shiny. Then they were long, heavy and vibrant. And then there were those with a draw-string so long, you could tie your dog to your crotch and run round the park with it. Anyway, we digress. 

We’ve picked ten of our favourites (all available to purchase of course) and revealed a little of what happened the season they were worn. Bite-sized chunks for your reading pleasure. 

Germany – 1994 (h) adidas

Lothar Matthäus, Thomas Häßler, Andreas Möller, Rudi Völler and Jürgen Klinsmann – five players everyone pretended to be in their back garden in the summer of 1994. The Germany kit from adidas was a fashion triumph - and the shorts completed the look. The colours of the German flag even made up the thread for the draw-string, which was a simply lovely addition.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoor, garden chores – topless, socks with sliders, not shoes. Big hair and soft tan advised.



Lazio – 1993 (a) Umbro

Everyone worth their salt has had a pair of Umbro shorts at sometime in their life. Those of us lucky enough to have lived their playground years in the early 90s will remember the awkwardness of having legs like tooth picks and an over-sized shirt, stuffed into your shorts to stop it looking like your mum’s nightie. Nesta, Di Matteo and Negro all enjoyed a season in these beauties.

Description for amateur usage:
Indoors, oversized tee tucked in, socks pulled up in some HI-TEC’s that have seen better days.



Barcelona – 1984-89 (Training) Meyba

We could talk about Barca from 1984-89 all day. But don’t worry, we won’t. All we’ll say about these works of art from Meyba is that it’s best not to wear them unless you’re an emerging club legend - think teenage Pep Guardiola - or if you have thighs as toned and bronzed as Gary Linekar’s circa 1987.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoors, sunbathing – with the odd lunge.



Arsenal –  1996-98 (h) Nike

Nike landed as this club’s kit provider - and in doing so made Arsenal the envy of pretty much every football fan. Big Tony Adams was ruling the roost and Ian Wright was breaking records. Arsene Wenger was plotting his revolution of the club, starting with some of the player diets and Wednesday drinking clubs. A more sympathetic size range had now crept in with players opting for either small or a size up... much to the relief of lesser developed supporters looking to sport a pair.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoors, Wembley-doubles (those that know, know), re enacting some of Wenger’s best imports.



Italy –  1996-98 (h) Nike

The Italians, a beautiful group of men with all-year tans and Nike team wear clobber, had us all in a state of lust in the summer of 1996. The match day kit was a classic but the training wear for the group stood out with its flashes of sponsoring.

Description for amateur usage:
Indoors, lounging around – possibly working your way through a Soprano’s boxset. Probably eating as well.



Liverpool –  1997-99 (h) Nike

The official kit supplier for a number of clubs, Reebok had a good distribution across the league - but it was Liverpool where they focused their design efforts. Their nuclear yellow for Liverpool’s away gave Reds' fans no need to bother buying swimmers that summer. Perfect clobber for the beaches of Florida, Spain and er… Cornwall.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoors, beachwear/caravan parks.



South Korea – 2002-04 (a) Nike

World Cup shorts. Bright. Elegant, understated Nike tick. These shorts worked well for tennis, golf and any other sport intended to be played in the sunshine. Park Ji-Sung caught everyone’s eye in these bright red naughties-classics.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoors, leisure activities rounded off with an evening in the local boozers garden.



Japan – 1996-98 (h) Asics

Any item of clothing with massive flames on it is a winner in our book. The complementing shorts for the 1996 Japan strip only served to increase the nation's kit to a legendary like status. Asics – under-appreciated in the 90’s despite their ventures with the likes of Newcastle and Premier League champions Blackburn - are for us at least a cult brand. If we had our way, we’d take on an MLS-style single brand rule for a season and make it Asics.

Description for amateur usage:
Indoor, home gym – those flames scream household workout. Feel the burn!



Fiorentina – 1999/00 (h) Fila

Gabriel Batistuta, for so long Fiorentina's golden boy, finally accepted he needed to move on to earn the trophies his talent deserved and so switched to Roma. Alas, the shirt for that season was exceptional. Again – in our opinion - propped up by the continuation of the pattern work across the shorts. We love them.

Description for amateur usage:
Outdoor, mansion or five star resort functions – think cocktails poolside. Failing that – dinner party.



Chelsea – 1990-92 (a) Umbro

So short you’ll struggle to keep everything in. These off-white/silver (and probably highly-flammable) shorts are the shit. Dennis Wise, Tony Dorigo, Jason Cundy, Graeme Le Saux – just a few who donned these fellas. They should have come with a warning – or at least substantial inside netting.

Description for amateur usage:
Indoors, with the lights off. Nobody wants to see you in these.



You can buy the shorts featured in this article here.

Back to blog

Leave a comment