When ‘she’ is dribbling, flicking and kicking on the world’s pitch, there is no room for trifling distractions. For 90 minutes, the female footballer must maintain her focus, streamlined and steadfast, zeroing in on the goal, fast and furious. An uncomfortable seam, poorly fitted waistband, oversized sleeve or sweat line could rack and ruin it all. Enter Nike. Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off this summer, the sportswear giant has released its most comprehensive women’s football collection ever: the new Nike National Team Collections.
Working closely with each federation – 13 in total – the kits are sustainably made and fine tuned to the unique needs of today’s female player, devised to serve her needs across training, warm-up and match day. To be worn on the biggest pitches of the year, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Korea, the Netherlands, New zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal and the USA are all involved, with each federation’s story incorporating unique, bold colors and prints, intricate cultural elements, and artistic details into both their home and away kits. The collections include Nike Forward anthem jackets, tracksuits, leggings, tees, hoodies, shorts and more. The custom apparel, accessories and lifestyle product feature Nike DRI-FIT ADV Technology with jerseys coming in cross-dye, tonal cross-dye and solid colourways.
Backed by Nike’s largest ever investment in women’s specific research, Nike designers developed new material innovations, engineering the kits pixel by pixel to provide precise mobility, reinforcement and venting. There’s also a new side panel built into the jerseys that offers increased stretchability, breathability and movement, as well as two neckline options, based on ‘her’ preference of neck and shoulder stretch.
The England kit draws inspiration from the legendary Wembley Stadium and its Art Deco design. Wembley’s original white, chalky brick exterior of 1923 comes through in the home jersey’s chalky off-white shade with blue details and shorts pay homage to the home kit of the 1984 England women’s team – the country’s first female team assembled for a major tournament.
In order to bring real players’ needs to life, Nike designers spoke to members of the England team and incorporated their preferences into the design process. According to the collection release, players asked for “comfort and casual, resulting in more oversized and roomy apparel pieces as well as creating a modular collection that allowed players to build their own looks and infuse their personalities in how they mixed and matched”. The result is a softer color palette with a washed aesthetic and intermittent quilting.
The England crest is made of 100 percent Nike Grind (a collection of recycled materials developed by Nike) with a white key line around the badge. Typography was produced by Neville Brody who adapted the font from the Men’s National team in 2014, and another nod to the art deco movement, abstract shapes on the socks create a new logo that spells out “ENG” in the negative space.
It’d be remiss not to mention the sportswear leader’s latest innovation of its Nike Pro Short – Leak Protection: Period. “Fear of bleed-through is real…” says Lisa Gibson, Nike’s senior project manager. “Nike Leak Protection: Period is for people with periods across all life stages, designed to give them an added layer of confidence so they can feel secure during all forms of sport and movement. It’s an innovation that we believe will change people’s lives.” So, to help protect against period mishaps, a supportive seven-inch inseam and invisible built-in brief with an ultrathin, absorbent liner that combines a two-layer laminate gusset with an anti-leak membrane answers the concerns of players with the base layer.
Wherever you’re from, whoever you’re rooting for, Nike is team women. Nike Leak Protection: Period will soon debut on the pitch with its Nike Pro Short being available online and at select specialty stores now. Fans around the world – men, women and kids alike – will be able to purchase the new Women’s National Team home and away jerseys, as well as the lifestyle capsules, starting early June.
Photography courtesy of Nike. Discover the Nike National Team Collections here.