15-16 Away Kit Review

barriecuda-120In response to last season’s 14-15 kit review, we’ve gone ahead with a better-late-than-never review of the new Puma kit for 15-16. We’ll take a look at how it compares to last season’s kit and hopefully give you the information you need to determine if it’s the right purchase for you. As this review will indicate, the kit has earned a well-deserved B+ this year!

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I am extremely pleased to announce that CanadianGunners worked in partnership with Subside Sports (USA) on this kit review. The kit was provided by Kevin from the Subside’ team solely for the purposes of this review. While this is a sponsored article, it should be noted that Subside Sports still sits atop our “Shopping for Arsenal” rankings in terms of where to buy merchandise from. Those reviews are written on an impartial and objective basis, and Subside continues to dominate with their elite level of customer service, their attention to detail, and their ease of shopping (particularly from North America). I have no problem saying they should be your first stop when looking for products for Arsenal or any other football club.

[photos to come]

Sizing – True to Size, But Trimmer

Like with last year, the fitment of Puma kits are a point of contention as fans seem to get mixed messages about what size to buy. Let me tell you this – it is inaccurate to say that this kit “runs smaller than usual”. The kit is the appropriate length for its size – the discrepancy comes in terms of “thickness” of the kit, namely the chest circumference. That is to say, whereas a Small might usually fit about a 38″ chest, this kit is closer to a 36″ chest (guestimated, not measured). It is put simply, trimmer than what you might find from other kits of the same size.

What this means is this: If you are thinner, or you prefer a closer fit to your silhouette, order your usual “true” size. If you are a little thicker, perhaps self-conscious about a belly or if you’re a woman with a sizable bust, consider a size-up so that you can wear your kit with a fitment comfortable to your preference.

The pending photos will again feature our not-quite-Giroud “model”, myself; with a 36-38″ chest, wearing a fitted undershirt, and a size Small. I am about the same weight/build as I was last year, for comparisons sake as last year. Please check back for these!

[Photos to come]

The Neck – Progress Made

Thank. God. Last year’s away kit suffered horribly from one of the most ridiculously over-sized “neck holes” I’ve had the displeasure of wearing. This season’s neck is far more normal, and while it still easily exposes a shirt underneath (if you choose to wear one), it is within reasonable expectations. Not much needs to be said, other than that Puma has addressed this absurdity.

[Photos to come]

Materials – Largely Improved

I’m actually quite fond of the materials of the 15-16 kit, as opposed to the slightly disappointing build last year. Immediately apparent when holding the kit is that the material this year is of better quality. It has a modest amount of elasticity, an amount I find ideal for a football (soccer) kit; allowing for some stretching but not to extreme extents (unlike Kappa, for example). Wearing the kit, it feels weightier too – not heavy, but instead comfortable in a way that makes the shirt feel far more durable than last year’s.

The material is of a different weave this year making it less prone to the bobbling/piling that I predicted could be an issue on the 14-15 away kit. Although this year’s is thicker, I do not anticipate it would be stifling or unbreathable while exercising. Judging by the material, the moisture wicking properties are present but not as pronounced as last year’s shirt. The kit utilizes Puma’s “DryCell” technology, so if you have other Puma clothing with this feature, you’ll know what to expect (for a quick comparison of Adidas, Nike and Puma’s techs, check here).

A note on the player printing – this year’s shirt material means that the Premier League letters and badges should adhere far better than last on the 14-15 kit, where there was some issues with peeling. Again, the effect of this is an away kit that feels like a better bang-for-your-buck.

The Crest – Sticker Badge Returns

Not a lot to say here: it’s the same “sticker” type badge that I griped about previously. As I said in last year’s review, this “sticker” badge has a slight glimmer and looks and feels cheaper than 13-14 and prior (i.e. Nike’s) embroidered ones. Since the three Puma logos are embroidered on the kit, in two different colours no less, it’s a bit annoying that the Club badge has seemed to get the cost-cutting treatment.

Styling – Nice, Albeit a Little Bland

The first surprise for me when I received the kit was the colour. From the promotional photos and watching the matches, I expected a the colour to be around a “darker gold” or “goldenrod” shading. It’s actually got a little bit more brown to it, giving it almost a bronze colour. The effect of this, when coupled with the traditional navy blue secondary trimmings, is a kit that doesn’t “pop”. As a result this is a kit that is understated and quiet, bordering on “muted”. This could be a point-for or a strike-against, depending on your tastes. I think the style will resonate with older fans, but I feel a younger audience (early 20s and younger) would have preferred something more dynamic (especially considering that fashionable colour palettes at present are bold).

There’s also this strange argyle diamond pattern they’ve gone with this year. You should note this isn’t the only Puma kit featuring this diamond printing in the 15-16 year, so you’re not getting an all-original look here (see: Newcastle). The top of each diamond features the little Arsenal-specific triangle from the back of the kit. It’s a neat, subtle touch… but I don’t think anyone really cares about this gimmicky logo in the first place. After a long period of reflection, I decided that I’m neutral on the diamond design. It doesn’t add anything to the kit, but it isn’t a horrific “bruised banana” distraction either. How it affects you may vary.

[photos to come]

I also wish to comment on the sleeves, which I love. I think the solid blue, with about a half-inch of gold trim, is the perfect balance. It’s appreciated when away kits maintain the off-colour sleeves as I feel that’s a very Arsenal-esque look. The gold embroidered Puma logo on both sides is complementary rather than excessive, and it is perfectly founded by a pair of Premier League badges (I suspect CL patches would also look good).

Bonus: The EPL printing on the back in navy, which matches the shade of the other elements, looks right at home. The white trim of the numbers help the lettering jump off the kit, giving it a highly readable quiet.

Closing Comments

In the second year of life-after-Nike, Puma has made an overall improvement with their second away kit. It feels of better quality, it looks better overall, and it represents a big jump in value. As a result, I am pleased to award this kit a B+.

Thank you again to our friends at Subside Sports (USA) for providing our review kit, and apologies to our fans for a late release of our review (owing to some technical difficulties)!