Hibs x Joma: What can fans expect from the Easter Road side's new kits?
Earlier this year Hibs announced the tenth kit sponsor deal in the club’s lengthy history as they announced a tie-up with Joma.
The Spanish firm follows Bukta, Umbro, Adidas, Bukta again, Mitre, Le Coq Sportif, Puma, Nike, and Macron in manufacturing the iconic green and white jersey but the reception from fans so far has been a little lukewarm.
A quick glance at Joma’s stable reveals some top European teams – Atalanta, Villarreal, Anderlecht, Torino, and Hoffenheim to name five – and the bespoke nature of the agreement means that Hibs are unlikely to be landed with a generic teamwear strip that a five-a-side team might sport.
Fans may long for the halcyon days of Adidas and Umbro but there would be significantly more chance of an off-the-shelf template with those firms than with a company like Joma.
Needs and requirement
Hibs may need three kits given their involvement in Europe and the change in manufacturers from Macron to Joma means it won’t be as straightforward as recycling a kit from the previous season.
As a result we might see a third kit created for this season that differs greatly from the home and away editions.
In the club’s history of change kits the alternative offerings have never deviated from white, black, purple, yellow, or contrasting greens.
Could that change with Joma’s influence? Probably not; it is highly likely that three kit offerings will comprise green / white / yellow, or green / black / white or similar.
The 2020/21 charcoal away kit was rarely worn in games by outfield players. It was used once in a 3-0 defeat at Celtic early in the season before being ditched in favour of the all-yellow third kit, with the club’s goalkeepers wearing it more often.
In simple terms the club needs a home kit; an away kit that can be worn away to Celtic and potentially Dundee and Ross County, and an alternative to prevent colour-clashes in Europe.
What might Joma have planned?
There are hints in the firm’s work with other clubs that might give some indication of what they have planned for Hibs.
Atalanta BC have been with Joma since the 2017/18 season. Since then the home kit has been consistent: blue and black striped tops, black shorts, and black socks with blue piping.
Their away kit has remained constant as well: predominantly white with blue and black flashes. The third strips have either been predominantly green-ish, or a constrasting shade of blue to the main colours.
Of last season’s kits, the away featured a different take on the club crest. The Italian side's badge features the head of Greek mythological being Atalanta but previous logos made use of the full figure and last year's away shirt carried the “running girl” symbol in a nod to the club's crest from the 1960s and early 1970s.
Villarreal on the other hand have had virtually identical and traditional all-yellow home kits while the change strips on offering have fluctuated wildly with grey, black, green, red, magenta, and turqouise all featuring.
The home kit produced for Belgian side Anderlecht for the season just past featured a silhouette of the Brussels skyline on the front and the city’s iris symbol beneath the collar on the back.
Given Hibs’ historical association with Leith and Edinburgh is represented on the club crest, might we see something along the lines of “Persevere” under the collar on the reverse?
What about Ron Gordon's influence?
Easter Road chairman Ron Gordon is highly unlikely to be sketching kit ideas in a wee notepad to pass onto the creative chiefs at Joma but his experience of sport in the United States paints an intriguing picture of “what might be” for Hibs.
In late 2020, retro-inspired jerseys were created for all 31 NHL teams, taking inspiration from a key season in the team’s history and worn on a handful of occasions during the season.
The NFL teams have “City Edition” jerseys; alternative shirts based on a key aspect of their base. The Detroit Lions wore a shirt that referenced the muscle cars built in the city in the 1960s; the Pittsburgh Steelers a brushed-metal effect jersey in a nod to the city’s steel industry heritage while the New York Jets wore a design based on the uniforms worn by the Fire Department of New York in tribute to the Big Apple’s firefighters.
Hibs’ partner club Charleston Battery have worn occasionally strips referencing the city’s nickname of “the Holy City”, sometimes auctioning the match-worn kits for charity.
There are plenty of avenues Hibs could go down if they were to explore a similar idea – but there is a balancing act in creating something unique and collectable, and something that fans view merely as a marketing gimmick, while the costs of creating limited edition strips would have to be compared to likely sales.
In 2016 Joma produced a sumptuous retro-inspired strip for Sampdoria to mark the club’s 70th anniversary. Featuring a vintage shirt design, lace-up collar, and commemorative label on the lower front, it was worn in a one-off Coppa Italia match.
Just 500 were made, with 100 kept by the club including those for match use and 400 packaged in special boxes and sold to fans.
There is a chance that Hibs could still be with Joma when the club’s 150th anniversary comes around in August 2025, and the prospect for a retro-inspired one-off jersey to mark the milestone is a mouthwatering one no matter the manufacturer but the firm has already shown that they can deliver on the vintage front.
Joma has produced some bold designs in the past few years but they haven’t strayed very far from tradition; especially when it comes to home jerseys.
It’s obviously impossible to predict with 100 per cent certainty what Joma has planned for Hibs but on recent evidence the firm is unlikely to stray too far from the iconic green with white sleeves for the home strip.
For most fans, that’s all that matters.