Yesterday at French Federation training ground Clairefontaine, the future of French football — Raphaël Varane, Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho — unveiled the new French national team away kit for 2014, and made their own personal pledges to make their nation proud this summer.
France will compete in Brasil this year in an away kit that combines their inherent style and flair for fashion with the best in performance innovation to produce an elegant new look.
“This new away kit is unmistakably French. It is understated yet stylish and gives France a clear national identity on the pitch,” said Martin Lotti, Creative Director for Nike Football.
The "Marinière," a classic French design motif, makes a subtle return to the away jersey in the form of a tonal grey mariner stripe.
The jersey also features a new crest, inspired by the classic cockerel worn by the French team in 1958. The symbol is enlarged, freed from its badge and given the space to become the ultimate symbol of national pride.
The crest is meticulously embroidered and inspired by the intricate bullion technique, which lends textural interest. The new and bigger blue cockerel stands proudly alone with its elegant plume of feathers elevated.
The away jersey has a stand collar, and inside the back of the neck is a small pennant featuring the red, white and blue colours of France’s tricolor flag.
The shorts are midnight navy blue and feature the same stylish and unique denim effect found in the home jersey. This fabric is inspired by the southern French town of Nimes, the birthplace of denim and originator of the fabric's name (de Nimes). Denim was invented in the 17th century as a mix between wool and silk, and Nike Football designers chose the fabric for the shorts to represent the rawness of denim and the elegance of silk.
Along each side of the shorts is selvedge-style taping, inspired by the premium denim edge-finishing technique.
Simple and iconic, the shorts are slimmer and more tailored to the body, with a cut specifically designed to aid movement and comfort. The center back of the shorts features Nike’s signature laser vents to promote cooling and moisture management. The new away socks are in classic white.
"I love the new kit, simple and elegant. And not only does it look great on the pitch it also helps to keep us comfortable and focused on our game," said French player Raphaël Varane.
The kit aids performance by helping regulate player body temperature over the course of a match. By using a combination of Nike Dri-FIT technology, mesh panels and laser-cut ventilation holes, designers are able to localize cooling where players need it most.
Nike Dri-FIT technology pulls moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment where it evaporates quickly. Laser-cut ventilation holes and engineered mesh in key areas allow for increased breathability and airflow across the skin.
“By managing sweat and keeping the body cooler longer, players feel more comfortable, sweat less and perform better,” said Lotti.
In addition to helping players stay cool, the kit is made with a new dual-knit fabrication that incorporates cotton and recycled polyester for the best in moisture-wicking properties, while adding a softer feel and more flattering shape.
In line with Nike’s commitment to superior performance with lower environmental impact, the shirt, short — and for the first time in a national team kit, the socks — all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (100 percent recycled polyester in the shorts, 96 percent recycled polyester in the shirt and 78 percent in the socks). Each kit is made using an average of 18 recycled plastic bottles. Since 2010, Nike has diverted almost two billion bottles from landfills, enough to cover more than 2,800 full-sized football pitches.
“Incorporating environmental sustainability is a key part of the design and development process for us,” said Lotti. “Our aim is to create a kit that performs for players and is good to the planet.”
Designers utilized three-dimensional body scans of elite footballers to collect data on the form of today’s players and identify an updated fit, improving comfort and allowing the body to move more naturally within the kit.
While looking at every element of the modern football kit, Nike designers even paid special attention to the kits’ socks. Combining athlete insights and research with new materials and fabrications, the Nike Elite Match Fit sock for 2014 features a sleeker fit specific to football. Strategically cushioned zones provide comfort and protection at the big toe and anklebones where the majority of impact occurs, while arch support locks down the foot to help prevent slipping. Material was also eliminated to enhance touch and decrease bulk, and flex grooves were added to the ankle and the top of the foot to prevent bunching.
The new Nike Pro baselayer is the lightest ever from Nike and features increased venting and breathability.
Players have a variety of Nike Pro baselayer styles for players to choose from. These are designed for the varying temperatures and conditions athletes will encounter in Brasil, which are expected to vary from high heat during mid-day matches, to much colder temperatures in the southern match locations during evening games.
Nike has redesigned its baselayer short for 2014 taking insights directly from some of the best players in the world.
“When we asked players to talk about the kind of protection they need during a match, they showed us scars and abrasions on their upper-back hip area from sliding,” recalled Lotti. “Several players showed us these same injuries so we set out to add more protection, while balancing the need for lightweight breathability.”
The result is the Nike Pro Combat Ultralight Slider Short. Featuring increased and adjusted abrasion protection zones to match the athlete’s sliding pattern, the short is also 20 percent lighter than previous versions and made with 87 percent recycled polyester. Weight was eliminated through the addition of mesh for increased breathability and cooling where the athlete generates heat.