50. Adidas Onore (2007-11)

Graphic showing examples of the Adidas Onore shirt template

Chris Oakley | 23 February 2024

For reasons largely unknown, the first decade of the 21st century saw Adidas focusing much of its attention on the sides of its football shirts. It was as if they’d forgotten that shirts even had sides, such was the movement to build extra detail into the left and right peripheries. By 2005, Adidas had settled on a way to distract our consciousness away from the chest area, namely by using curves; curved stripes, bands, flashes or piping.

From left: Argentina Women (2007 away), Brøndby (2007 away), Chelsea (2007-08 away), Galatasaray (2007-08 home).

It was this meandering approach that brought about its Onore template, first seen in 2007. Leading the eye across the shoulders and down to the shorts with its broad sinuous lines, this new design was clearly an attempt to embolden the effect of the Adidas United template that was so visible during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Much like its close relation, each shirt was created in a modular way, with separate sections stitched together around the neck, shoulder and sides of the shirt, rather than just attaching the sleeves to the trunk. The side parts followed the serpentine streaks beautifully and unobtrusively, allowing the coloured curves to take centre stage. Despite being understated, the construction of the shirt was quite wonderfully executed.

From left: Galatasaray (2007-08 away), Germany Women (2007 home), Lesotho (2008 home), Liverpool (2007-08 away).

Yet it was those curves that caught the eye and acted as the main vehicle to carry each team’s visual identity to those watching on. Proving equally popular among clubs and national sides, it seems every possible hue and shade had its moment to shine on the Onore template. As well as the usual iterations in red, white or blue, there was Brondby’s away shirt in brown and sky blue, Chelsea’s equivalent in fluorescent yellow and black, and Lokomotiv Moscow’s away shirt in an unthinkable-forty-years-ago tone of eye-searing green with red details. Throw in the greys of Toronto FC and the claret and amber of Galatasaray and you’ve just about covered all your bases.

Even there, the individual flashes, pinched and pointed like a dragon’s tongue, could have their own colour, or even no colour at all. Both the women's teams of Argentina and Germany applied a two-coloured approach to great effect, while Real Madrid’s home kit remained predominantly white, save for the bluey purple of the ‘bat wings’ around the neckline.

From left: Olympique de Marseille (2007-08 home), Real Madrid (2007-08 home and third), Saint-Étienne (2007-08 away).

Onore was particularly visible among many of the African national teams, although a degree of suspicion surrounds those. While some credible examples were worn by the likes of Burundi, Malawi and Equatorial Guinea, others (judging by the available photography) have the distinct air of fakery about them. Who knows - perhaps even one or two of those I’ve illustrated fall into that category, but I’ve done my best to filter them out where possible.

No matter. Adidas Onore was a highly regarded template design that incorporated the flexibility to allow each team to wear it with individuality. Perhaps too rich a sauce for many clubs or countries to stomach, it showed Adidas at the peak of its bravery. Subtlety was not the by-word in 2007; unshrinking defiance was the way forward, and if it could utilise a few curves here or there, surely no-one could doubt its viability.

From left: Seychelles (2008 away), Toronto FC (2007 home), Yokohama F Marinos (2007 home), Zamalek (2008 home).

(Many thanks go to Adam’s Shirt Quest for his help in researching this template.)

To see the full set of Adidas Onore kits, visit the Adidas Onore template gallery page.


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