When we think of Puma in a football design sense, we may generally think of boots. This catalogue from 1977 suggests that was even more the case four decades ago.

The puma flash motif appears on all these examples, with Berti Vogts-endorsed versions having this feature in amber and light blue. All the boots are black in the main - it was 1977, after all - but the white appears heavily on the Weisweiler Champion model, and the (Jupp) Heynckes Meister has a little green embellishment too.

It’s quite a phenomenon that, somehow, a football kit fan’s interest is similarly piqued by something new and something familiarly vintage.

These 1994 “Soccer Master” catalogue pages, which were brought to our attention by Jimmy from The Glove Bag, are fittingly goalkeeper apparel-heavy. With adidas and Umbro shirts which equally scream “mid-nineties” and “don’t hesitate to wear me on Hackney Marshes the moment the pandemic’s done”, and trefoiled and double diamonded work of art gloves, our current era somehow holds a mirror up to the USA-hosted World Cup’s epoque.

We’ve covered the mainstream hits of this 1992 Bourne Sports catalogue, but here’s something for the even more discerning follower of late 20th century football design. The non-single release album tracks, if you will. And there are some gems.

What could be more niche than a 1992 Hummel collection? Featuring the Denmark shirt worn as the side conquered Europe after a late call-up, striking FC Lugano Home and Away shirts, and even an English Football League shirt worn in a humbling defeat to the Italian Serie A. And yes, Sunderland, Real Madrid and Benfica too.

Sometimes, a single page advert in a sticker album - the FKS Soccer ’81 album, on this occasion - can give us such football design-related happiness.

This advert for Umbro products - though the eagle-eyed will notice adidas footwear, likely appearing due to the working relationship the two brands enjoyed at the time - is from a real heyday for the double-diamonded British company. The iconic and trademark diamond taping - in two variants - appears on a Liverpool tracksuit top, the Scotland shirt, and Gary Owen’s sublime West Bromwich Albion kit, and yet the Hitachi-sponsored Liverpool kit somehow doesn’t suffer through its omission.

An insert football catalogue in a football magazine in the 1990s was often pored over more than the publication itself. This, from Bourne Sports in 1992, is a great example of exactly that.

With Euro 92 on the horizon, there was the opportunity to dress like one (or both) of “Dahlin...Brolin….Dahlin...BROLIN!” via the heavily-branded Sweden design, or eventual losing finalists Germany, or France… In fact, several adidas teams were covered, but not quite accurate to how they appeared - see the USSR shirt which became the CIS, and the Arsenal-esque Yugoslavia shirt which became, um, eventual winners Denmark. (Check your history books for how that came about.)

Puma, born of the Dassler split - Adi formed adidas, brother Rudi Puma - have a storied past, even beyond their beginnings, and, as this 1974 catalogue demonstrates, much of their finest work can be found on the feet of superstars.

Puma boots have quite the reputation. Diego Maradona notably swore by them, and his predecessor as GOAT - greatest of all time - Pele also endorsed the shoe.

Frontline Football

First football boots as a child? For many: Gola. The budget option, like a Yamaha Pacifica or Squier guitar rather than a vintage Gibson Les Paul, you never know to what extent you’ll take to the beautiful game, so go easy on the wallet.

But, as these 1974 catalogue pages demonstrate, there’s historically been more to Gola than My First Football Boots. Like so many brands of the time, less was more. A black boot, with a white or specifically-coloured flash as contrast. Leather, for sure, along with the unmistakable branding, means an endorsement from a player of the calibre of Peter Osgood gave the footwear a certain unlikely cachet.

Some view Nike’s involvement in football - certainly the association variety - as an ultra-modern phenomenon. Whilst the American brand’s influence and approach has grown exponentially in recent years, this advert from a 1987 edition of a Soccer Products and Services magazine proves how far back the engagement goes.

Featuring endorser Ian Rush - Rush was an early-adopter of the now ubiquitous boot range - the teamwear kits aren’t exactly ground-breaking, but now seem to hold a certain kitch value. As client Sunderland found, the branding’s position relegating crests to an unfamiliar placement on the chest is an interesting quirk.

The early-to-mid-1990s was a time of huge transition in football kits, as demonstrated by these Bourne Sports catalogue pages from 1993.

Kappa had recently taken over from Meyba in supplying FC Barcelona, and whilst the Athletic Bilbao and Juventus shirts had an understated and relatively timeless quality, there was a lot more embellishment on the Catalan club’s designs.

These adidas catalogue pages from 1976 are a confusing affair, as one alternates between laughing at how dated items look - understandably - bemoaning others’ unavailability in 2020, and wondering how the German giants could have been so ahead of their time 44 years ago.

The rugby jersey, the rainsuits and the men’s athletic vest are easily timeless enough to be fantasised over, and whilst the leisure suits scream the 70s, the navy and green vertical stripes t-shirt and the allover print example - in 1976! - can only be placed in sportswear history through their coupling with potential guilty pleasure shorts.