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Jun 5, 2008

Greek shirt a triumph of technology

There is nothing cooler to the football shirt aficionado than a jersey that no-one recognises, in fact the more obscure the better. So when I was handed the new Greek national team home shirt for the Euro 2008 championships I was rather pleased.

Unless you are familiar with the Hellenic alphabet, nowhere on the shirt does the word 'Greece' appear. In fact, to the casual observer, the shirt looks to all intents and purposes to be a plain adidas t-shirt, such is its classic almost-retro design.

The plain white shirt bears the crest of the Greek FA in its traditional position on the left breast, with an adidas logo just below the neckline and the manufacturer's signature three stripes displayed on the sleeves in Greek blue.

However, the retro styling tricks the eye because the plain white shirt is actually constructed from two distinct tones of material which show the design of the Greek flag, and in a final design flourish the Hellenic word for Greece 'E??AS' is displayed on the back on the shirt on the hem.

So we have a retro looking shirt boasting a simple stark design which will draw admiring gazes from those who recognise it and which is cool enough that any of your football-phobic mates down the pub will not feel the need to ridicule you for wearing.

But it's not until you actually play football in the shirt that you get the full benefit of adidas's ClimaCool technology which ensures that no matter how hot the day or how hard you run, the sweat you leak is wicked away thanks to the 'ventilation and moisture management' system which 'provides optimum comfort and performance'.

All which sounds like over the top marketing-speak, but the proof is in the pudding; once you've tried ClimaCool gear, or any other brand of quick-wicking sportswear, you'll never go back.

If the Greek shirt isn't to your liking the adidas ClimaCool system is also present in the other shirts they are making for this summer's European Championships, including: France, Germany, Romania and Spain.

•  Click here to buy yours...


Switzerland home shirt: Dale Johnson

A red shirt was hardly the colour I was looking for when handed the Switzerland shirt for Euro 2008. Being a Sheffield Wednesday fan, that very much constitutes the colour of the devil.

Having said that, I was far too easily won over by the Swiss team's innovative emblem which manages to morph into a footballer kicking a ball. The crest sits on the left breast of the shirt, with the Puma logo on the opposite side. Puma's current design also carries the leaping cat logo on the shoulders.

The jersey is in classic style, plain red apart from a white trim on the sleeve. Sometimes simplicity is far superior than trying to be different, this being a case in point.

Puma's Ultimate Sports Performance gear aims to keep you cool and help you get more out of your session.

The Swiss jersey was given its debut during ESPNsoccernet's regular Monday night five-a-side battle. And with the temperatures into the 20s that night the special Puma design, which is meshed to keep the sweat off your body, was much needed. Even more so when the shirt that ordered for you was, shall we say, a little more hugging than you'd like.

It's made to be highly breathable and to stop the body from over-heating as quickly as it might with other materials, maintaining an even body heat. That should enable you to keep going for longer.

The fabric works by, ready for the marketing speak, 'wicking the moisture' off the skin and then allowing it to evaporate during the exercise period. Getting rid of the sweat quicker not only helps to regulate that body temperature, but it also makes you more comfortable in action.

Ultimate Sports Performance may be a grand title for the 'technology' of the Switzerland shirt. But as certain people can testify, a meshed shirt doesn't necessarily make you into a star performer!

•  Click here to buy yours...

• Stay tuned for some more shirt reviews from the different manufacturers throughout the tournament...


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