Greatest Man United kits: the Red Devils’ most iconic shirts

Given their illustrious history, the Old Trafford faithful likely have a plethora of shouts when discussing the greatest Man United kits. Today, though, we have narrowed it down to just five.

United’s shirts have generally been the result of long-standing partnerships. Firstly, Umbro developed equipment from post-war to the 70s. Then, the British brand returned in the 90s.

Similarly, Adidas had an earlier stint in the 80s before becoming the Red Devils’ supplier today. But do not forget Nike (2002-2015) and Admiral (1975-80) made Man United shirts.

After a trip down memory lane, we have selected these makers’ best offerings through the years.

#5: 1988 – 1990 home

Adidas are currently the manufacturer of Man United kits, although their greatest effort actually came over 30 years ago.

This classic Red Devils shirt evokes memories of Bryan Robson tirelessly working to bring United success. In fact, this particular kit is momentous for its place in Man United’s history. Whilst wearing this particular strip, United won their first trophy under Sir Alex Ferguson – the 1990 FA Cup.

A smart, overlapping white collar sits atop the jersey, with thin trim lines framing the shoulders of the kit. As ever, Adidas have placed their three stripes over the sleeves, adding to the iconic look.

Similarly, United’s long-standing sponsorship with SHARP means that the electronics brand feature on the kit. This is only a good thing, too; the white print, plus Adidas’ trefoil logo, really stands out.

While some may prefer the following home strip (1990-92) due to its microwave pattern, the clean and uncluttered look of this kit earns it our number-five slot.

#4: 2008/09 third

For this 2008/09 shirt, Nike looked to the past for inspiration. Their design celebrated 40 years since Man United’s first European Cup win. In 1968, Bobby Charlton and George Best led United to victory over Benfica whilst wearing an all-blue changed strip.

That kit has gone down in history as an all-time classic. Despite this, we think the modern take on it from Nike is even nicer.

Utilising the fantastic Nike template from the late 2000s, this all-blue number just oozes quality. The AIG sponsor across the chest comes in white, as does the Nike tick. Other than that, the simplicity of the shirt does the rest.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men wore this on just a handful of occasions. Most notably, they tore Arsenal apart 3-1 at the Emirates during the 2008/09 Champions League campaign whilst wearing the kit. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on that day, including an unreal free kick from a different postcode.

It was certainly the right way in which to honour a brilliant kit.

#3: 1998 – 2000 home

A treble-winning kit had to make this list somehow, didn’t it? Alongside the tremendous on-pitch success, Umbro pulled off a blinder with one of the greatest Man United kits in 1998.

The club actually had two different home shirts during the glorious 1998/99 campaign. One was used domestically, meanwhile, the other was for European nights only.

Umbro’s regular home shirt featured a unique quarter-zip neck, as well as a white collar with red/black trim. Further trim could be found in two thin stripes that went down the sleeves. Additionally, Umbro placed their logo along the sleeves in a tape-style pattern, which framed the shirt nicely.

In contrast, the Champions League shirt was much simpler. Gone was the Umbro taping on the sleeves, and the zip. Instead, a plain red jersey had a simple white collar. United also put their club crest on a shield for their European strip, unlike the regular home kit.

Man U wore this particular shirt during that famous 1999 UCL final, where they beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the most dramatic circumstances.

Due to the Red Devils’ unprecedented treble win, both of these strips are etched into the fabric of United’s history. Therefore, fans will definitely rank the 1998/99 home “collection” among the greatest Man United kits. And we do too.

#2: 1993 – 1995 away

Cantona. Kung-Fu. Chaos.

This Umbro number will go down in infamy for Eric Cantona’s outrageous assault on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995. But this almost adds to the aura surrounding the kit. And, even without that incident, this mid-90s banger is worthy of a place among the greatest Man United kits.

Black is now a regular fixture on United’s home and away kits. However, at the time, an all-black Manchester United shirt was unprecedented. Just one strip prior (the 1981/82 third) boasted the dark base shade.

Umbro nailed it, though, creating a masterpiece. Their trademark 90s collar made a welcome appearance, featuring gold trim. The shirt sleeves then followed this trend, sporting a flash of blue, too.

Also in gold was the British maker’s badge, as well as the SHARP branding. Meanwhile, the club crest sat atop a shield once more, which had a gold trim around the edge.  

Like a lot of shirts during this decade, the Old Trafford club used the kit for two seasons. In 1993/94, Alex Ferguson guided his side to a league and FA Cup double. So, as ever with United, supporters can associate this kit with on-field success.

And their talisman karate-kicking a supporter.

#1: 1992/93  home

Taking the deserved top spot in our rundown of the greatest Man United kits is a sensational effort from the dawn of the Premier League.

United sported this distinctive design in the league’s inaugural season, 1992/93.

Most notable on the shirt is the presence of a lace-up collar; a fascinating element that elevates this kit’s status limitlessly. Umbro textured the shirt with a repeating “MUFC” graphic design that adds a subtle layer.

The classic United crest, SHARP sponsor and Umbro diamond then do the rest. In combination, it creates a truly timeless piece that Fergie’s Fledglings made iconic.

Wearing this kit, the Red Devils actually claimed the first-ever Premier League title. With this, they ended a 26-year topflight championship drought. This thus began a period of dominance for the red side of Manchester as they won five league titles throughout the 90s.

One of the greatest Man United kits ever signifies the beginning of a truly staggering era for the club. As a result, its beauty and importance consolidate its place at number one.

Featured image credit: Getty