I hate to start my review of next seasons Ross County kits with a caveat, but it seems unavoidable in this case. My caveat is this: until the shorts and socks are revealed all of the opinions that follow are “provisional,” especially concerning the home top (above), so let’s start there.
My first thought was, in a word, “no.”
But, as I looked more closely I started to change my mind. First, and this is an odd place to start I admit, the “CRC-EVANS Offshore” logo has been radically changed. Specifically, the yellow and black “Stanley” word mark is gone and the remaining text is made up only of the colors of the shirt. This is a massive improvement over the past two seasons. Next, I like the use of the lighter shade of blue in the vertical pin striping, which, I hope you can see, continues onto the side panel of the shirt. I also like the traditional fold-over collar and I think the wide white trim on the sleeves balances nicely with the collar. Overall, the shirt has sort of a vintage, 1970s look to it and I kind of like it.
That being said, be it football or basketball (or any other sport where shorts are worn), I’ve always had a problem with a pinstriped top with solid shorts- it just doesn’t look right, and it might even look worse with pinstriped shorts. Baseball uniforms, with their long pants, are really the only ones where top and bottom pinstripes look attractive. Which brings us back to the shorts and socks being keys to making this kit work. Plain blue shorts would create the exact problem that I described and in this case, continuing the multi-colored pinstripes onto the shorts would look absolutely comical. My hope is that the shorts will be solid blue with only the side panel pin striping continuing from the shirt and white stripes around the leg openings (to mirror the sleeve detailing). Add a pair of white socks with a single navy band around the cuff (rather than a full navy cuff) and I think the overall look could work. Now for the away top.
The away top also has a “retro” feel to it, though in this case it’s not so much 1970’s that it evokes- it’s more like a kit one might have seen in the pre-WWII days. Unlike the home top, there appear to be several ways to take the full kit that will create a good overall look- but we’ll get to that! First, the shirt itself.
What’s not to like? Simple, straight-forward, and really benefitting from the changes made to the sponsor logo. Would it be better without the “Carbrini” logos on the shoulders? Of course. Excessive word-marking/logo placements are the worst things about this kit maker (which really isn’t a “kit maker,” it’s one of several house brands made by JD Sports chain), but there’s not much that can be done about it except to be thankful that, otherwise, this kit is uncluttered by other design elements that would lend it an overall “too busy” look.
Because the look of the top is so clean, and with the exception of the club crest only uses two colors, there are number of ways to go with the shorts and socks. One way to go would be red shorts with white trim and either mostly red or mostly white socks. That could work. Another way to go would be all white from head-to-toe with red trim on the shorts and socks. My preference, however, would be that they where white shorts with a simple red band around the leg openings (again, mirroring the sleeve detail) and red socks with a white band around the cuff (rather than a full white cuff). Put that combination together and you might just have my favorite County away kit of all time. Though I did like that Diadora one with the blue and white sash…