Teamwear is almost the forgotten man when it comes to the wide world of football equipment; lacking the glamour and big names of new kit launches or top-end boots, it’s something that is just kind of there.
Which is a huge dissonance, given that for many people, their teamwear kit is the one they wear the most often – once a week on a Saturday or Sunday.
We caught up with UK Head of Teamwear at Mitre, Steve Hardy, to see what goes into designing their kits, and what they’re offering to both professional and amateur teams ahead of the new season.
FB: What is Mitre’s ethos when it comes to kit design? And how does that stand you apart from other brands?
SH: We design with our customer in mind at all times, focusing on durability, comfort and quality above all else. We insist that everything is high quality from the designs to the fabric, to the workmanship.
Our styles are constantly fitted, revised and tested throughout the development process to make sure that we offer the best comfort, freedom of movement, quality and durability.
– Are there any key technologies you’re particularly proud of that go into Mitre Teamwear?
I think our most notable technologies are the laser ventilation of pressure and our new compression wear range. A great deal of time was spent developing these and making them available to players at all levels.
All of our Teamwear fabrics are soft touch, lightweight, breathable and fast drying, and strategically placed ventilation helps to keep players cool and comfortable at all times.
– We loved the Mitre range last year, in particular the Pressure jersey, is it hard to ‘top’ a great design like that year-on-year?
The Pressure jersey was, and still is a great design. We wouldn't try to €top' it just yet. But our new short-sleeved jerseys Invader and Temper, and the new Fusion €stripe' jersey might just give it some healthy competition.
– Speaking of the Pressure jersey, that boasted laser-cut ventilation that’s normally reserved for the ‘elite’ version of kits from other brands.
What’s Mitre’s thinking in bringing such high-spec features to teamwear?
We want to make technology more affordable to anyone on the field of play, no matter what your level. We want to keep all our players cool and comfortable.
– Have you noticed any trends in football shirts over the time you’ve worked with Mitre?
There will always be the classic styles, and the retro styles in every collection. The key thing is to keep that style but to give it a modern twist and keep it moving.
Colour blocking and bold prints are always a key feature to make the players stand out and to build team confidence.
– When getting feedback from players, what are some of the most common things people ask for on new kit?
We always welcome customer feedback and we always listen and take their comments on board.
We constantly strive to improve our range and our product. Recently the main requests are for key colour options which they feel may benefit the range, for stock of smaller sizes due to an increase of younger players and for us to continue to make light weight breathable kits.
Last season we had a request for more poly training styles.
We have now added a poly zip top, training trouser and training short to the range in a soft touch light weight poly which have all been very well received by our customers.
– Conversely, what are players already happy with on Mitre kits?
Our customers are very happy with the quality, fit and comfort of the styles we offer. Also with the broad range of bold eye-catching colours.
Feedback we received is that our styles offer a freedom of movement and breathability which is very welcome to the players.
– Last year, a neat asymmetrical shoulder design was Mitre’s calling card; what’s your main motif this year?
We don't expect our customers to need to buy a new kit every season. Our product is durable and will last a long time.
We have added to the polarize range following the same asymmetrical design including a new fleece backed polyester training range and also a new bench jacket.
– Away from the match-day kits, do you have a favourite piece of kit from the training range?
My personal favourite is the new Polarize training trousers.
Skinny fitting they look good and feel good. The zipped pockets and back of the leg rib fabric for easy change make them practical too. Consumers are telling us they share my love of them, early sales are very strong.