White, with a little touch of black. And a volt of neon yellow.
Nike went with high contrast in the new USWNT home uniform, revealed Wednesday. The white jersey and shorts have slight black accents—a stripe on the side, the crest, Swoosh and two stars signifying the team’s previous two World Cup wins—but otherwise remain starkly white.
Well, until you look at the legs, where the women will have a neon yellow gradient build in the socks. Nike athletes will have matching yellow cleats.
“The goal was to create something stunning and impactful on the pitch,” Nike's soccer global creative director Martin Lotti told SI.com. “It is clean, modern, futuristic. The head-to-toe shoe, sock, jersey is one collective point of view, one full composition.”
Lotti went with such a vivid sock color to draw viewers’ eyes to the lower leg, the fastest part of the body and an obvious focus in soccer.
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Nike opted for a white home kit to honor the tradition of the U.S. wearing white as a home kit. The blue and red on the away kit rounds out the red, white and blue colors of the U.S. flag.
But don’t look for much color beyond white on the home jersey and shorts. Inside the back neck 13 stars on a blue triangle provide the only color (the away kit has 13 stripes on the inside of the back neck, both representing the country’s original 13 colonies) apart from the yellow.
“We went for monochromatic,” Lotti says, “for the highest contrast. Black and white gives the highest contrast and the black stripe highlights speed. It is a brilliant white and keeping it clean, simple and modern will contrast in its surroundings.”
Lotti says Nike worked with the federal agency all throughout the design process, showing them the design bit by bit along the way and never were there concerns raised about using black accents instead of, say, blue.
"If you look good you are ready to play your best," Abby Wambach said, "and when I put (the new kit) on I feel inspired to play well for my country, our team and the fans."
For technology, the jersey and short—16 percent lighter than the previous kit—gets constructed from recycled polyester made from 18 plastic bottles. Nike laser-scanned the athletes to determine the silhouette and cut of the uniform, using laser-cut venting along the black stripe for ventilation. Having mapped where the body sweats, the front and back of the jersey have differing engineered meshes, with the mesh more open in the back. For the first time, the women's jersey will be available for purchase in men's sizes.
The women, who start play in Canada in Winnipeg on June 8 against Australia will have a chance to first show off their new look in a friendly against South Korea at Red Bull Stadium on May 30.
For that date, expect white. Lots of it.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.