The Köln Season Preview You’ve Been Waiting For…Kits!

With the new season upon us, it’s time to take a look at one of the most important previews – the new kits, of course.

Last year it was announced that Uhlsport would be replacing Erima, 1. FC Köln’s kit maker since 2011. Like Erima, Uhlsport is a German-based sporting goods company with headquarters in Balingen, Baden-Württemberg. With a closet and a drawer full of jerseys, scarves, and clothes of my favorite clubs and national teams, I am a sucker for some kit analysis. So with the new home, away, and alternate versions out now let’s take a look at each one.

Home Kit

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Our new home top is a relatively simple design. The red accents on the collar and around the armholes are modest. What sets this apart is the subtle sash across the chest, right behind the crest. I’m not the biggest fan of sashes, but this is subtle enough for me. And while it’s hard to tell from the photo, there is a faint “watermark” version of the crest opposite the real one, which explains why the Uhlsport logo is higher up than normal. Overall it’s very close to past home versions from 2015, 2013, and even 1983.

Grade: C-/B+

Away Kit

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The solid red look makes our new away top much more attractive, with the most prominent detail coming in the extra-low polo collar. It’s classic and simple, which I love. This is a home run.

Grade: A

Third Kit

Though a little backward, Uhlsport debuted their first look for 1. FC Köln with the new third kit. It’s an all-black look with a stub collar. Showing the most detail out of the three kits, there is a dotted gradient running along the sides of the body. It’s not too distracting, and overall still makes this version fairly clean. 

Grade: C

Goalkeeper Kit

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There’s not much to say with the new goalkeeper kit. It’s a highlighter color that keeps even the smallest amount of consistency with one from last year: the third kit with the grey and highlighter hoops. Goalkeeper kits are probably the least popular sellers for any team, and Köln has made better ones in the past. 

Grade: C-

But wait, what about Karneval?!?

If there’s one thing that Köln and Erima have been known for, it’s their crazy Karneval-inspired kits produced on occasion. And having lived in Köln during Karneval back in 2007, I get it . . . the city goes crazy! Well, I’ve got good news here – there’s a chance those Karneval kits will stick around. In 2015, Uhlsport produced Oktoberfest-inspired kits for 1860 Munich that featured light blue gingham and the iconic brown lederhosen pants. I don’t doubt Uhlsport designers will be spinning their wheels to come up with another crazy one-off for a top-flight team.

Bring on the new season

For all my favorite teams, I look forward to new seasons and new gear. Unfortunately, with a team the size of Köln, they are not as well known as goliaths Bayern Munich or even Borussia Dortmund with their American connection through US wonder-kid Christian Pulisic. Fans of these teams get to enjoy easy purchasing from sites like For Köln, we have to order directly from the source, and that takes extra for international shipping and time.

I commend Köln’s work with smaller manufacturers but personally hope at some point they sign with someone more well-known – Adidas, Nike, or even Under Armor. These companies have more designers, bigger budgets, and just more oomph behind them. At one point Adidas was a supplier for Köln, so it’s not out of the question. For Uhlsport and their debut Effzeh kits, it’s not a bad start though.

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