52. Adidas Regista 16 (2016-18)
It seems that whenever Adidas try out a bold design, it has to retain an air of simplicity and clarity. In achieving that, they inevitably sacrifice a degree of subtlety or integrity, but the sacrifice is often one worth making.
Regista 16 is a perfect example. Ostensibly a teamwear template, its main feature was a twin stripe diagonally angled across the lower third of the shirt. Of the two, the upper stripe was far broader, allowing for the prominent use of a secondary colour. The narrower one accommodated a third colour, but no hard and fast rules were in place where any of that was concerned.
From left: Algeria (2017-18 away), Andorra (2018 away), Andorra Women (2017 home), Belarus (2016-18 away).
The basic form usually saw the broad stripe in a darker hue or tone to the primary colour, as seen on the blue shirts worn by San Marino, Faroe Islands and Cyprus. The red of Watford and the Andorran women’s team repeated the same effect, and with a white lower stripe, the overall look was pleasingly coherent.
But the three-colour approach could be applied in different ways and arguably wasn’t exploited enough. For Nottingham Forest’s away shirt from 2016-17, a decent splash of red was plastered across the black background with a white under-stripe adding a bright accent. On Middlesbrough’s red home shirt, the narrow stripe was blue - a colour they’ve used only sparingly in the past, but applied to great effect here. As for Belarus, they had arguably the best version of the lot with its traditional Belarussian pattern on a wide grey stripe.
From left: Cyprus (2016-17 home), Faroe Islands (2016 away), Faroe Islands Women (2017 away).
The balance of colours and their implementation on any football shirt is an oft-overlooked skill to be mastered, and this template largely succeeds in that respect. Algeria and Iran, however made it a non-issue by minimising any contrasting colour on the stripes with the rest of the shirt. Iran were particularly emphatic with their home kit, colouring everything (including the Adidas three-stripe trim) white, save for the large Asiatic cheetah's head motif, the maker’s logo and that of the team itself.
So, Regista 16 was a simple, bold template, but maybe too bold for some. It appears to have been worn by only a small handful of teams, which strikes me as bizarre. No doubt better suited to away kits and change kits for fear of that broad diagonal diluting the main home kit colour, there were plenty of clubs and national teams that would have looked good in it. Imagine Romania in their classic yellow-red-blue, or France in blue-white-red, or indeed any team that wears three colours by default. (Yes, I know that neither Romania or France had Adidas as their kit supplier at the time... just saying...)
From left: Iran (2016 home), Luxembourg (2017-18 home), Middlesbrough (2016-17 home).
Like Middlesbrough, any outfit traditionally sporting a horizontal band across the chest could have worn Regista 16 as an irreverent update to their usual shirt. Boca Juniors, perhaps? Or how about a radical revamp of Crystal Palace’s classic 80s look? The potential was there, and unquestionably unrealised.
Mention of Crystal Palace and Middlebrough brings to mind one slightly limiting aspect to the design, namely the need to display the main sponsor logo higher up to avoid the diagonals. While not a serious concern, it may have been a complication that clubs would rather not have had to deal with. Or maybe they found the diagonal stripes to be too ‘in your face.’ Who knows.
From left: Nottingham Forest (2016-17 away), San Marino (2016-17 away), Watford (2017-18 away).
In many ways, however, the diagonal stripes were what the shirt was all about. The fact that they were positioned towards the bottom of the shirt shows respect on the part of the designer not to dominate the shirt unavoidably, and they would have looked wrong had they been narrower. The broad and narrow bands provide great contrast and balance to an otherwise straight-forward shirt, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
At the risk of repeating myself (as if that hasn’t already happened yet in this series), it’s frustrating to think that this delightful piece of shirt-related joy wasn’t handed out to a larger number of teams. Luckily someone did wear Regista 16. Hopefully the passing of time will show that they were indeed the lucky ones.
Many thanks go to Adam’s Shirt Quest for his help in researching this template.
To see the full set of Adidas Regista 16 kits, visit the Adidas Regista 16 template gallery page.