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Look good, play good: A look back at Juventus’ black and white stripes, Part 2

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Another round of kits, another round of superlatives. We talk Nike’s last year and how Adidas has fared so far.

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SS Lazio v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

We’re back!

Last week, we talked about the kits that Juventus wore from 2008 to 2013. In Part 2, we will take a look at the kits from 2014 to the present, 2017-18, season.

The 2014- 2015 season was the start of arguably one of the most dominant runs in club history. Even though the club had already won three Scudetti in a row by then, that season saw the club pick up the first of what would become three domestic doubles in a row, as well as a return to prominence in European competition, reaching the first of two Champions League finals in three years.

(The results of those matches shall not be spoken of again.)

Of note is that starting in the 2015-16 season Adidas became the new kit manufacturer for Juventus, ending a 14-year relationship with Nike as the kit manufacturer. Also, important for kit rating purposes, Juventus debuted a new logo prior to the 2017-18 season, replacing the old Juventus crest that had been embroidered in the kits since 2004.

Before we get started, if you haven’t checked out Part 1, let’s take a look back at our grading rules:

  • We are considering, home, away and third jerseys in the awards, as well as any goalkeeper jersey.
  • I’m not taking into account if Juventus had a particularly good or bad season while wearing the jersey, the jersey is the jersey.
  • EXCEPT when the jersey has the Coppa Italia and Scudetto badges from the previous season on it. I’m a sucker for those things.
  • Also, important, as a fan, would I use this jersey on the street? Using a jersey when there is a game is easy, but if the jersey looks cool as casual wear? That’s extra points.

Remember, we will not discuss every single jersey, we are talking superlatives only.

Let’s get to it.

The “Ol’ Reliable” Award

Winner: Home jersey for the 2014-2015 season (Nike)

Juventus FC v SSC Napoli - 2014 Italian Super Cup Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Personally, I was always a bit underwhelmed with Nike when it came to their jersey unveilings. They usually didn’t make a lot of changes to the home jersey, year to year, and for a while they used the away kit from the previous season and repurposed it as the third jersey for the next season.

But there is something to be said to the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and you could hardly complain about the traditional black and white stripes during Nike’s reign as the kit manufacturer, and this kit is a good example.

The polo style neck is always a classy look and the black details in the sleeves make it look real solid. Not a huge variation from previous Nike home kits, but when the stripes look that good, why mess with it.

The “So you CAN do a pink jersey right, huh?” Award

Winner: Away jersey for the 2015-2016 season (Adidas)

Juventus FC v Frosinone Calcio - Serie A
I will forever be a Mario Lemina truther. (He was not given a fair shake!)
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

I went pretty hard at Nike’s version of a pink jersey, but that was only because they were bad, not very good and just plain terrible.

So, when my brother saw the then-new Juventus pink kit before me, he rushed to immediately start taunting me about how my favorite team was going to be playing in a pink jersey. This, after giving him a fair amount of crap for this hideousness that his favorite team, Real Madrid, decided to roll out the previous season.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally saw this kit, the pink is a lighter hue, similar to the original Juventus kits. The bright pink details in the sleeves and in the middle white stripe gave it a nice contrast and even though I’ve never been a massive fan of the block Jeep sponsor it kind of worked fine in this context. All and all, kudos, Adidas.

(Also, when arguably the biggest rap star in the world is out there, repping your jersey on Instagram you got to win an award.)

The “Good Job, Good Effort” award

Winner: Third jersey for the 2016-2017 season (Adidas)

West Ham United v Juventus - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Much like that hopeful Miami Heat fan, cheering on his heroes for a valiant effort that nevertheless resulted in a loss. I would also like to extend a hearty “Good Job, Good Effort” to Adidas on this kit.

On paper this is a super fun, creative as hell concept. Using one of the Juventus nicknames and one of the most recognizable animal prints in a kit is a solid concept that could have led to a really cool looking kit.

However, when it debuted something did not quite click. The stripes being only in the shoulders with an all-white kit made it look awkward and like a last added detail, rather than the main idea for the kit.

Also, this.

Maybe release a long sleeve version that gave a bit more emphasis to the stripes? Switch to black shorts to give it more contrast? Use it as the goalkeeper kit to make it more unique?

To be honest, I have no idea why it didn’t work all that well. If I did, I guess Adidas should be giving me a call any second now.

All I know is that I saw this jersey in a whole lot of clearance racks. I didn’t buy it.

The “Everything Went Better Than Expected” Award

Winner: Home jersey for the 2017-2018 season (Adidas)

Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

I will admit, I was not a fan of the logo change when it was first announced. I was less of a fan after I saw the new design that they were going to use. The design was too simple, and it erased all the tradition from the previous crests. I also thought it would take away from the kits to use a more minimalistic and less recognizable badge.

I’m still not 100 percent sold on the new crest, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong about the kits looking bad.

I’m giving this award to this season’s home jersey, but it could have gone to any of the three kits rolled out by Adidas this year. They are all pretty good and they incorporated the new crest in a seamless way that makes it look better than the sum of its parts. It all went better than expected indeed.

Before we get to our best and worst of the bunch, quick bonus award for a special edition kit.

The “120 Anniversary” Award

Winner: Special 120th anniversary jersey for 2017-2018 season (Adidas)

Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Rolled out just once this season in a home win against Benevento on Nov. 5, the 120th anniversary kit is a sharp looking thing of beauty. With a crew-neck silhouette and slim short sleeves, it truly looked like a vintage kit with modern technology.

I understand that in this day and age the idea of using a kit without a sponsor is pretty much a non-starter, given how important it is to get any source of revenue possible. But, damn, if they don’t look incredible. Both Adidas and Jeep do have their logos in the kit, but they were printed small, black and positioned right in one of the black stripes so they are pretty much undetectable.

While we could all marvel at this jersey, you were most likely out of luck if you wanted to get one for yourself. Fittingly, only 1897 jerseys were put out for the public and they sold pretty much immediately through the Juventus website for a cool $234 each.

When I found out they were all sold out I was genuinely bummed , then I remembered I was subsisting on an intern’s salary so spending 234 USD, plus shipping, on a jersey was probably not a fiscally sound decision.

I got over it real quick.

Let’s go from the sublime, to the tragic with…

The “Worst of the Bunch” Award

Winner: Third jersey for 2014-2015 season (Nike)

Club Atletico de Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Talk about going out on a low note.

Nike’s last season as the kit manufacturer saw them give Juventus an average away kit, a good-looking home kit and an absolute atrocity of a third kit. Not only is the lime green color bad on the jersey, but they went ALL IN, pairing it with shorts and socks of the exact same hue of green.

I legitimately don’t know what they were going for. For a second, I thought that this might have been a design made for the Seattle Sounders and it was all a hilarious misunderstanding involving a mistake in the shipping department or something. But no, Seattle — and all of the MLS, for that matter — was sponsored by Adidas that year, so not even a fake cutesy story like that could give it a charming spin.

Truth is, for a whole year, Juventus sometimes took the field looking like the lamest Power Rangers and that is on you Nike, that blood is in your hands and you’re going to have to live it with.

Shame.

The “Best of the bunch” Award

Winner: Third jersey for the 2015-2016 season (Adidas)

Manchester City FC v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

From worst to best in the third jersey category in only one year.

Not much to say about this kit, other than, wow. The all black look has always been a favorite of mine, but the gold details really take it to a whole other level. This is the type of jersey that looks good on the pitch or as a fan on the stands or a pub. I wore this kit once on a coffee date and it was well received, that’s how good this kit looks.

Hell, let’s take it a step further, if you tried to get married while wearing this jersey it would be a discussion. The discussion would probably lead to a no, but there is a discussion to be had.

My only nitpick is not with the jersey itself, but with the fact that they almost never paired it with shorts that matched the shirt just right. Juventus either wore their regular home shorts with white details and later in the season a black and white short with a geometric design and gold details that looked… odd? How hard was it to just use all black shorts with gold details?

Anyway, as far as complains go, it is a minor one. A worthy winner to our “Best” award and a worthy conclusion to the series.