Nike vs. adidas: Whose World Cup Kits Are Best?

The age-old debate between the two mega sportswear brands rages on. With the hype around the 2022 World Cup kits, we attempt to answer the difficult question of whose releases were better —  Nike or adidas?

As the highly anticipated 2022 World Cup kits have started to filter through, there have been plenty of conversations about which shirt is the best, which one is the worst, and which one is most likely to divide opinion. That also naturally brings up the debate over which of the brands performed the best with their releases.

For the 2022 World Cup, adidas and Nike are leading the way when it comes to kits, with a wide range of eclectic designs that span from really good to downright poor. Sadly, there is no PUMA in this debate as their experimental and outlandish designs severely missed the mark.

And as a side note, I will shout out Kappa and Hummel for keeping the romanticism of football shirts well and truly alive.

So, who is it then: Nike or adidas? I’ve picked out some of my favorites from the World Cup releases between the two giants in a bid to see which brand comes out on top as the superior ahead of the big tournament.

Mexico Away

mexico 2022 away

Where else was I going to start? adidas kicks off this list in a beautiful way with the Aztec-inspired Mexico away shirt that combines Mexican heritage and history with eye-catching design and spectacular color-matching. What is interesting is the inclusion of adidas’ iconic logo without the typeface below — a design choice used on all of the Three Stripes’ World Cup kits. It offers a newer feel to their kit releases this time around, a bit similar to the Nike Sportswear logo that showed up on kits back in 2019. Looking at this Mexico shirt, I am not sure how Nike can follow up with a worthy reply.

South Korea Home

south korea 2022 home

South Korea had some big shoes to fill after their most recent black and white tiger-striped home kit released in 2020. And following adidas’ Mexico away kit is no easy task as well. But while the 2020 South Korea would blow both this kit and Mexico’s out of the water, the 2022 red South Korea home shirt isn’t a bad follow up.

A chunky collar and striking tiger-inspired sleeve details provide a wonderful shirt for Korea ahead of Qatar 2022. A solid answer to Mexico in this Battle of the Brands.

Japan Home

japan 2022 home

Inspired by a flock of origami cranes, this predominantly blue Japan home kit is yet another banger from the Three Stripes and Nippon ahead of the tournament. The design pays homage to Japan’s cultural history, something that always bodes well on a football shirt. Combine that with flashes of white and red, white shorts, blue socks, and that adidas logo, and the Stripes have themself quite a contender.

Qatar Home

qatar 2022 home

Whether you agree with Qatar being host or not, you can’t deny just how good their home kit is. The maroon base is elegant, and with the splash of white on the sleeves paying homage to the nation’s 1971 independence, the kit is a combination of class and heritage. Plus, I am a sucker for big central badges. Beautiful.

Germany Away

germany 2022 home

By god, Germany do red, black, and gold combinations incredibly well don’t they? This kit is very similar to their 2014 hooped number, and if that’s anything to go by, then you know this one is good. Normally the sequel isn’t anywhere near the original, but this one might just be better. The flashes of gold on the badges and stripes finish the shirt off perfectly.

Brazil Home

brazil 2022 home

I often like simplicity in football shirts and that is exactly what we’ve got with this Brazil home kit. Sometimes simple is difficult to get right, but Nike has nailed it with this one for the five-time champions. The classic yellow base combined with a split green and blue sleeve trim and collar provides us with a beautifully classic shirt that will stand the test of time, especially if Brazil wins the tournament (they’re currently the favorites to do so). I will note that the whole Brazil release from Nike, including the creative direction around it, played massively in its favor when putting this list together.

Argentina Away

argentina 2022 away

This one is definitely dividing opinions and with good reason. Look at it, it’s a purple shirt with flames. But I love it because it is so chaotic. It’s the football equivalent of Guy Fieiri, without flying too close to Flavortown (looking at you, Belgium). A cultural phenomenon meets a footballing powerhouse, ay? In all seriousness, this kit is a bit outlandish but I love the experimental approach adidas have gone for. Plus, when you play like Lionel Messi, you can make any kit look good.

England Away

england 2022 away

As an England fan myself, I nearly punched a hole in my screen when I saw our home kit. But then I scrolled down and came across our away and instantly fell in love. A delightful homage to England’s Italia ’90 away shirt with the red base and classic collar. I love a retro feel to things and this is no exception. Also, is it just me or does that outlined Nike logo make the kit feel different? Oof. So good. Is football coming home in this kit? Yes, please.

Final Verdict

Nike vs. adidas is the age-old debate that will continue for as long as the two are pumping out football shirts, boots, and everything else. But when it comes to the 2022 World Cup kits, it’s time to put them under the microscope and see who takes the crown. Normally, I am an adidas man through and through. Boots, t-shirts, jackets. It’s all adidas. But unfortunately for the Stripes and my devotion to them, I am choosing Nike ahead of this tournament. I can’t look past the England shirt and the Qatar central badges. A tough choice but one I have made. Which brand takes the win for you?

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