Nike Downgrade Teams

Update: The Slovakian national team are the next Nike nation that were downgraded to teamwear level. The new Slovakia 2022 home and away kits are customized teamwear shirts, whereas the 2020 kits were 100% bespoke Nike designs.

Slovakia 2020 vs 2022 Kits
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Slovakia 2020 vs 2022 Kits

The Slovakia 2022 kits are customized teamwear shirts. What is very fair is the price - they are available for just 50 Euro in the country's official store.

New Zealand 2020 vs 2022 Away Kits

Meanwhile, New Zealand received very standard Nike kits whereas the 2020 shirts boasted one-of-a-kind designs. However, there were directly provided by Nike and are also available on Nike's website - New Zealand were not downgraded.

All national teams participating in the 2022 World Cup were also not downgraded by Nike but received bespoke kits. Canada did not get new kits by Nike. We hope that the country will get custom jerseys from 2023 and the FIFA 2023 Women's World Cup.

June 2022: Nike have quietly downgraded several teams in their pyramid, we can reveal.

New Finland, Norway & Slovenia 2022 Kits Are Customized Teamwear

The new Finland, Norway, and Slovenia 2022 home and away jerseys are different from those of 2020. They are just Nike teamwear kits with custom graphics, whereas the previous kits featured 100% bespoke designs.

Finland, Norway and Slovenia are now managed by a third party

In fact, each single of these three Nike 2022 national team kits is based on the Nike Vaporknit III. The Nike Vaporknit III is Nike's high-end teamwear template.

Nike did of course not officially communicate the downgrade of these teams but there has been news about this two years ago. Back then, it was announced that Scandinavian retailer Unisport would manage the Norway deal. Unisport also manage the Finland deal, while German-based retailer 11Teamsports is apparently responsible for the Slovenia deal.

Nike do not sell the kits on their website anymore

The downgrade does not only impact the design of the kits. It also means that the Finland, Norway & Slovenia kits are not available to buy via Nike directly. For example, the Norway kits are only available via Unisport.

The reason for the downgrade has been not officially communicated but is appears logical. The kits of these nations did not sell well enough - with the third-party management, Nike save money.

Another team that has apparently lost a level is German team RB Leipzig. Instead of getting bespoke away and third kits, Leipzig just got a Nike Team jersey with a custom graphic.

In fact, we even leaked pictures of what was intended for Leipzig's 22-23 away/third kit. The purple design was then scrapped by Nike.

Canada would deserve an upgrade ahead of the 2022 World Cup

It remains to be seen if more Nike teams will be downgraded. It would be, however, logical to upgrade some - Canada surely would deserve to get bespoke kits for the 2022 World Cup...

Slovakia 2020 vs 2022 Kits
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What do you think of Nike giving smaller nations like Norway, Finland and Slovenia custom teamwear? Do you think more teams will follow? Share your thoughts in the comments below.N