Puma is a relatively small fish in a big pond when it comes to soccer gear, but the new Tottenham kits it has released are slick, stylish, and unique. The typical Puma jersey is traditional, doesn't take risks, and mostly looks the same from year to year. That has been turned on its head with this release.
The home jersey is a fairly classic Spurs design with a white background and navy patches on the tops of the shoulders. The patches are on a diagonal across the front of the shirt offset by a navy stripe, making the white Puma logo really stand out. Most importantly, the horrible, clashing yellow stripes coming down along the collar to the chest are gone.
The traditional gamecock emblem is embroidered on the left breast and is double stitched to prevent it from getting damaged, while the most impressive feature of the new shirt is the stripes of ventilation that cut across the chest from top to bottom at a 35 degree angle, giving it an aggressive look down the whole front.
The away jersey is powder blue all-over, with a navy stripe on the right side of the collar and sleeve, and a white one mirroring it on the other side. It's made of the same lightweight mesh material as the home shirt, but instead of the cross-chest, diagonal ventilation pattern, the back has an imprint of steel armor along the spine. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical when I heard this was going to feature on the away shirt, but having seen it, I have to say I was wrong - although it may look a bit odd on the very tall Peter Crouch.
The pattern adds an element of flair missing from the shirts of other Premier League sides. The fit is tight to the body, so you won't be swimming in fabric, and it fits me like a glove. If Manchester United's new jersey is the cool classic '66 Mustang, the Tottenham Away is the Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron - sleek, edgy, built for the 21st century. The only real problem I see with the jersey is on the sponsor logo, where the one red dot of the Autonomy emblem breaks up the pattern and looks out of place.
These might be the products to push Puma back into the spotlight for kit design. They've taken some real risks here, and it's paid off. It's a good quality jersey for a good price whether you choose the home or away version. Both look great, but the away's armour pattern is guaranteed to turn more heads, and for my part, it's the one I bought.
Matthew Wall is editor of www.soccerprose.com