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Ranked! All 14 new NWSL primary kits from Nike

With a new design process in place, we look at the great, the pretty good, and the disappointments

Photos provided

On Tuesday, Nike and the National Women’s Soccer League released the 28 new kits that will grace the field for the league’s 2024 season. It’s the first time Nike has done a league-wide refresh for a women’s soccer league and the first time every kit has been changed out for a new NWSL season.

Naturally, it’s time for the highly subjective and totally polarizing task of ranking the kits from from best to worst.

First, some notes: I’ll be ranking only the primary kits, and for good reason. As I reported for ESPN, each team went through a process to customize a bespoke primary kit. Secondary kits across the NWSL all follow the same gradient pattern, just in different colors, as part of a league-wide theme that Nike and the NWSL are calling “the strength of the collective … a reminder that soft and fierce.” The reality is, all the secondary kits will be changed out next year for bespoke designs to create alternating two-year cycles for primary- and secondary-kit refreshes. These secondary kits are effectively stopgaps in a new and largely positive procedural overhaul. So I’m waiting to judge the secondary kits until we get the bespoke designs next year, but I will make note of some of the better and more disappointing secondary choices below.

A thing to love league-wide is that white kits are almost completely gone after a decade of that boredom. This refresh feels a bit like Dr. Seuss’ “Book of Colors” after so many years of waiting. Nike has also completely eliminated white shorts after “an overwhelming majority of NWSL players providing feedback that white shorts are a distraction on the pitch when facing potential leakage from their periods.” The company took a similar step ahead of last year’s World Cup.

Enough background. You’re here to see all the kits and argue with me, an NWSL expert but absolutely not a fashion expert, about trivial things like the patterns and hues on a shirt. Let’s get to it! These are the 14 NWSL primary kits for 2024, ranked from best to worst.

San Diego Wave FC’s ‘Del Sol’ kit

San Diego Wave kits featuring light-blue shorts and a white shirt with blue, orange and pink accents
Copyright Nike

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. After two years of boring navy kits that felt like a waste of the NWSL’s best color palette, the San Diego Wave embraced the beach vibes to the maximum with a Del Sol kit that mimics the city’s beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. The light-blue shorts further the theme of a sunset over the ocean.

This is visually stunning and bold — everything we’ve been asking for from this team’s color opportunities and NWSL kits at large. It’s a huge victory that should be loved by soccer nerds and fashionistas alike. Put this up there with the Orlando Pride’s “Ad Astra” jersey from 2021 as one of the best concepts we’ve seen in league history.

The Wave also take the victory for the best combination duo by staying bold with a bright-pink “dark” kit.

Orlando Pride’s ‘Citrus’ kit

Images of the Orlando Pride orange kits with leaves
Copyright Nike

Orlando doesn’t really miss with kits, especially the storytelling piece and local community tie-ins. The Ad Astra set the bar a few years ago, and the Citrus kit comes in with a fresh take that the Pride has never tried before. It’s unique and cool in a way that it could be worn out on the town casually but shouldn’t look totally out of place on a soccer field.

This is the Pride’s “primary” kit, but they are likely to wear the traditional purple more frequently. I’m expecting big things out of that new Orlando secondary kit next year. However often we get a squeeze of this orange (darn near peachy in the right light?) kit, it’s a winner.

Chicago Red Stars

Chicago Red Stars kits that are light blue and white\
Copyright Nike

This Red Stars kit doesn’t have an official name, like our top-ranked kits or like previous Red Stars hits, but it is reminiscent of the “Neighborhood” kit from a few years ago in its attempt to unite the city.

After leaning into black, the Red Stars smartly got out of the trend as it starts to become completely overdone, and they return with a popping “lake-hue blue” that stands out in the crowd. The nine different stripe patterns are said to represent the city’s neighborhoods all coming together and meeting at the crest (the secondary crest … hmmm) is a nice touch. It’s another winner for Chicago in the kit department.

Seattle Reign FC

Navy Seattle Reign kits with gold trim that say Black Future Fund
Photos: Jane G. Gershovich/Seattle Reign FC

Controversy alert: I love the simplicity here. Yes, bold is good, but there’s also good reason to be simple here. For one, the Reign just transitioned its brand back to its original state this offseason, which killed the lead time needed to do anything custom. But there are huge positives to shedding that horrible OL Reign branding and returning to the roots of the best original NWSL brand.

A deep navy offset by classy gold trim is something I’d wear anywhere, and it’s traditional look is fitting of the team’s return to the OG days. From photos, the authentic version adds subtle details that are even better than the replica version, so I’m partly judging based on the authentic product the players will wear. This is my wild-card winner for delivering without trying too hard.

NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham Kits that are black, blue and powdery white and say Carmax.
Copyright Nike

I’m a sucker for a sash, and Gotham is the only team that has attempted to own this look. This version is way better than the first attempt at the initial rebrand in 2021 and a cleaner look than last year’s more chaotic jersey. The sky-blue color remains a nice nod to the old days of this club (however forgettable those were), and it contrasts nicely with the black. It isn’t a perfect kit, but it’s a solid one.

Racing Louisville FC: ‘The Winner’s Circle Kit’ kit

Louisville kits that are purple, both light and dark, and say GE appliances
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Lavender? Argyle? Sign me up. Louisville leans into its horse-racing culture again with this one by playing off the traditional look of a jockey jersey, and the lavender color looks nice with the white-and-mint detail. Throw your favorite zip-up hoodie over this and you’re good to go for the day. Now, get us a proper mint kit to climb these rankings further.

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North Carolina Courage

North Carolina kits that are pink and blue and read "Merz Aesthetics" across the front
Copyright Nike

This Courage kit isn’t for everyone, and some might complain about how the triangles look on them, like the old knock on horizontal stripes. Am I making that up? Possibly. But guess what? The Courage actually did something with this kit after last year’s printer-ran-out-of-ink white kit, and the triangles are a nod to the Raleigh area’s famous designation as “The Triangle,” so they aren’t a shape picked randomly. The blue is a nice, vibrant color. Solid addition.

Houston Dash: ‘10th Anniversary’ kit

Houston Dash kits in orange and light blue, reading "MD Anderson Cancer Center" across the front.
Copyright Nike

Look, orange is not the new black for everyone, so this is always going to be a hard sell for casual streetwear. Overall, I like it. It’s a major improvement over a basic block of orange, and stars that populate the jersey are nice detail that also ties into the city’s connection to space exploration. Like the Courage kit, this is well done. Not everything can be mind-blowing.

Utah Royals: ‘The Ascent’ kit

Utah Royals kits in gold and blue, with "One Utah" printed at the bottom.
Copyright Nike

Utah loves its mountains. These are not the Real Salt Lake kits that shape vertical stripes into a mountain horizon — possibly the best of the MLS bunch this year — but the authentic version of these Utah kits does a nice job of subtly integrating the Wasatch Mountains. The color combo is also just sharp, period. Considering this was a semi-expansion team (returning from the dead) and that they had less lead time than other clubs, this is a decent effort. Photos of the authentic jersey show a much more defined mountain silhouette that the replica jersey, which I’ve seen up close and in person.

Angel City FC’s ‘Moonlight’ kit

Angel City kits in black and pink, with "Doordash" across the front.
Copyright Nike

This is the point of the list where we start to turn toward underwhelming. Angel City’s original black kit was a nice start for the expansion side. I had higher expectations for this one. The wings bursting onto the jersey seems like the right play, but executed in between the mind of doing something original and making sure the jersey can sell to the casual Angelenos.

I totally get it, and it’s likely the right commercial play, but playing up the wings could have been some really intricate piece of art — think last year’s white “Ed Hardy” Thorns kit, but done way better. Instead, the wings are just kind of … there. Credit for giving us the light-pink “Sol Rosa” secondary jersey. There’s potential to do something great there, too, and hopefully that is coming next year.

Portland Thorns’ ‘Forever Thorns’ kit

Portland Thorns kits in red and gray/blue, reading "Providence" across the front
Copyright Nike

I’m not sure what’s going on here. I mean, I know what is supposed to be going on, but I’m not buying that these line details are really thorns (the collarbone triangles are standard on the kit many teams, including the United States, wear) and there are other directions this could have gone. The colors, “inspired by the City of Roses,” are also throwing me off. This team had completely shed its red roots to lean heavily into black for years, and they’ve come back to red but accented it with this popcorn-butter yellow. It’s not doing it for me.

Kansas City Current

Kansas City kits in red and white, reading "United Way" across the front.
Copyright Nike

Kansas City is spared from the basement of these rankings by a couple of teams that are stuck in transition and couldn’t customize kits as well as they would have liked this year, but the Current take the cake for biggest disappointment. The teal running up the sides and armpits of the base red jersey is meant to “give new meaning” to the club’s mantra of “Teal Rising.” There’s a stadium rising and opening up in a few weeks. It has been built along a river. We get it! The execution here feels very 1990s jersey trim.

No fully teal kit is also a big disappointment. I get it: The secondary kit had to be a gradient as part of the league theme, and the way it plays out with teal shorts, it is kind of like the teal is rising. But it still feels like a white jersey. The Current’s hands are a bit tied here because teal would never pass as “dark,” so they need their red to be the dark jersey, and the primary kits are the bespoke ones this year. Hopefully next year brings something bold for the secondary. The kits don’t quite match the moment for the opening of the NWSL’s first purpose-built stadium.

Bay FC

Bay FC kits in black and white with orange details, reading "Sutter Health" across the front.
Copyright Nike

Hello, plain white T. Bay FC can be forgiven: The required lead times for kits now are 18 months to 24 months, and this franchise got approved for 2024 kickoff only a little over a year ago. There’s an attempt at detail that seems like the Bay Area fog, but this is a plain-white primary shirt, through and through. There are no redeeming points for the secondary jersey, either, which, for some reason, is black instead of the club’s navy-blue base. Options were limited here based on timelines, but this is a letdown for a team that wants to own the merchandise category. Better kits await in 2025, hopefully.

Washington Spirit’s ‘Blackout’ kit

Washington Spirit kits in black and yellow reading "CVS health" across the front.
Copyright Nike

I’ve already had my say about the Spirit leaning into the tired trend of going to all-black branding. The business goal of these kits is to sell them to casual fans, too. Is anyone walking buy this on the rack saying, “Yes, I need that”? The gray stripes are “inspired by the columns and architecture found throughout the area,” and, like the Chicago kit, the different directions of them represent the “bridging of the communities” in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) area. The execution isn’t there at all, though. A highlighter-yellow secondary kit is also loud and, as of now, without real purpose as we wait (for a year running now) on what this club rebrand is supposed to be all about. It’s clear that black-and-yellow will be the new colorway. They need to do a lot better in the future. Given the rebrand, it’s possible Washington will get two new kits next year. Let’s all hope so.

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