In fact, it’s damn near perfect.
This kit is proof positive that sometimes the only thing you need to do is to not screw something up. The shirt is a simple polo style (two button placket- though it’s hard to see in this picture) with a white collar and cuffs, each enhanced by a small black pinstripe. The two color approach carries through the white sponsor logos (more on that in a moment) and the color-matched club crest-
The shorts are very nice too, although this appears to be a case where the needs of sponsorship and kit maker branding seem to have trumped design. I say that because I can see no other reason for a black half hoop (can that even be a thing? Black “arc?”) on the back of the leg other than to a) make room for the secondary sponsor’s logo on the front of the right leg and b) the Nike logo on the left leg. One might think the logo could just be raised above the stripe, but remember that there will likely be a squad number on the front of the left leg. The logo and number on one leg and the crest and sponsor word mark on the other might balance each other out, but I feel as though they will also lend a little “heaviness” and clutter to the bottom of the shorts. Still, the template of the shorts is good and the overall simplicity of the rest of the kit should mitigate either/both of these issues.
All of this being said, it’s the hooped socks that make the kit- and not just because I love hooped socks. They make the kit because they are the one visual element that keeps this kit from looking like some sort of old-timer official’s kit. The rest of the kit is super simple- black, white, not stylistic flourishes save the subtle stripe on the collar and cuffs- and as such it begs for just a touch of, dare I say it, “whimsy?” In some cases I’ve hedged on whether I like a kit or not until I’ve been able to see it in action, but this kit with squad numbers lifting its somber tone a bit and topped off (bottomed off?) by the hooped socks is going to be a dazzler!
For those of you who might be wondering how a black and white kit fits in with United’s past kit history the answer is, “Quite nicely, thank you.” From 1923-1960 the club wore black and white at home (and sometimes away as well) and from 1960-1969 the wore predominantly white kits with black trim and, sometimes, red socks. The orange home kit was not adopted until 1969 and its origins, strangely enough, were in the United States. For half of the 1969 NASL season Dundee United played in the U.S. as the “Dallas Tornado” (how this happened is…complicated…avail yourself of the internet if you wish to know more) and wore orange and blue. The wife of manager Jerry Kerr like the kits and thought Dundee United should adopt them as their new home colors. Kerr agreed and they were, with the small change of swapping out the bout (Dundee F.C. wears blue, after all!) for black. But back to this kit! Since ditching black and white as the home kit a predominantly black and white away kit has become a regular choice for the club’s away kit on over two dozen occasions- including this one. Sorry, I should have warned you not to click through.
The ONLY thing (other than the “problem” of clutter on the shorts) wrong with this kit is the secondary sponsor logo on the shirt (below the back of the collar) and the tertiary sponsor logo on the shorts. Multiple kit sponsors are common in many countries- I’ve often, and rightly, mocked them by comparing them to European hockey sweaters- and for the second season in a row United seem to be pioneering the practice in the Scottish Premiership. Thankfully, this years socks remain unsullied- well, except for the SWOOSH, that is.
All of this being said, when combined with the home kit this year’s offerings move into a strong second place in Scottish football, trailing only the sartorial strokes of genius engineered by Heart of Midlothian F.C..