Umbro has been a brand of many firsts for 95 years – from the introduction of replica kit design to the Medusae 3 Elite, our first laceless leather boot. Here we share some of the stories of those firsts.
The innovations began in the 1930s when we introduced the Tangeru jersey to the beautiful game. Made from Peruvian Pima Cotton – The soft, moisture wicking and quick drying material was used in the creation of jerseys for both Manchester City and Portsmouth to wear in the 1934 FA Cup final.
Attention to detail has always been a crucial part of our DNA. As a response to complaints that numbers were tearing away too easily from the backs of jerseys, Umbro was the first to fuse two layers of Tangeru to create a more durable alternative.
In the late 1950s, Umbro moved ahead of the game by pioneering the concept of replica kits with the ‘Umbro Soccer Set’. This was a junior version of football kits containing a shirt, shorts and socks which were sold in a presentation box. This allowed kids to look exactly like their footballing heroes.
After the triumph at the 1966 World Cup, we collaborated with England manager Sir Alf Ramsey to create the aptly named Aztec jersey for the 1970 World Cup. The design was the first to use Aertex – a lightweight and loosely woven material to keep players cool while playing in the fierce South American heat.
In 1989 Sheffield United were treated to a true Umbro innovation – the first ever outfield fluoro shirt. The classic fluorescent yellow away design was worn during the club’s promotion back to the first division in 89/90 and is still a favourite among fans. The fluoro shirt remains a popular trend in replica kit design today – you can thank Umbro for that!
By the early 2000s, Umbro introduced a series of ground-breaking replica kit designs to the world featuring cutting edge. In 2002, moisture-wicking Sportwool was used to create Manchester United’s home jersey. A few years later, X-STATIC technology – a performance material which bonds metallic silver to the surface was used in a wide range of club and international kits for its ability to reduce the growth of bacteria and body odour.
Finally, fast forward to 2019 where we collaborated with Werder Bremen in March to celebrate the clubs 120-year anniversary. This limited edition ‘mash-up’ jersey featured a series of eye-catching graphics that pay homage to the Bundesliga’s loudest fans and is a true Umbro first.