The History of the Arsenal Football Kit

The History of the Arsenal Football Kit

Posted 3 April 2012 by Donna Creek


Football attire as we know it today has somewhat evolved over the years, today it’s not only part of the team identity but also a fashion item for the fans. Gone are the days when a typical shirt was a long sleeved, woven, rugby style shirt, long white shorts with thick woollen socks.

The football league formed in 1988 but the game itself developed in the 1800’s, opposing teams would wear a cap or sash of a certain colour to differentiate between the teams, the colours were often those of the public schools. The introduction of the FA Cup saw the arrival of opposing teams wearing different coloured shirts, to this day each clubs colour has remained the same.

How the first kit looked

One team that has stuck to tradition is Arsenal FC, their first kit was a dark red top with white shorts, other teams soon caught on and followed suit. 1995 saw the arrival of the Arsenal kit that we know today, manager Herbert Chapman was inspired by the combination of red and white, this was incorporated in to the new design of the kit, using the standard red shirt but with white collars and sleeves, the clubs badge was positioned on the left-hand side of the shirt. During the 60’s the club changed the material of their shirt to a cotton jersey, this resolved any clashing of opposing teams with similar shirts, the iconic cannon was also introduced on to the shirt. This shirt brought good luck to Arsenal as they  went on to win the double during the 1970/71 season.

During the late 70’s the manufacturer Umbro featured their logo on the shirt, following shortly the clubs sponsor, JVC also appeared on the shirt. Sponsorship began in the 80’s, which in turn generated revenue for clubs. Why football? It was and still is the number one sport in the UK!

The Arsenal shirt has had a few changes over the years but has always remained red and white.


Sponsored by JVC (1981 – 1999) and designed by Umbro
Sponsored by Dreamcast (1999 – 2002) and designed by Nike

Sponsored by O2 (2002 – 2006) and designed by Nike

Sponsored by Fly Emirates (2006 – current) and designed by Nike
The latest home kit is made from Nike’s recycled polyester, both the shirt and shorts have been made from up to 13 plastic water bottles. Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric helps to quickly evaporate moisture by drawing through the fabric to the surface, this in turn keeps the player dry.


These days there tends to a lot of hype around a teams new kit, the manufacturers employ skilled designers and the new shirts are then revealed at end of season matches, whilst the global manufactures use the International tournaments to launch their new kit.
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