As a football clothing brand created by and for women, Miss Kick understand the importance of feeling comfortable on and off the pitch, meaning white playing shorts are not a product that they would release. Menstruation can cause stress and worry to female footballers, which is unnecessarily heightened due to wearing white shorts. Not only is there cramping and exhaustion to deal with but also an added worry of white shorts making period leaking even more visible. Only recently, are we beginning to see football clubs and organisations understand this concern and take measures to adapt.
In October 2022, Manchester City Women became the first Women’s Super League club to no longer play in white shorts. This was to allow the players to ‘feel comfortable and perform at their highest level’, especially when on their period. Kit manufacturers, Puma, said, “as a result of players feedback and the underlying topic of women wanting to move away from wearing white shorts while on their periods, we have to implement changes to the products we offer to our female players” with the players being set to wear burgundy shorts for the remainder of the season, following alternative colour schemes to the club’s famous sky blue shirts and white shorts being prepared ahead of the 23/24 season.
Female footballers have been asking for the ban of white shorts for years with no acknowledgement. During the summer of the Euros 2022, the Lionesses spoke up about their desire for the all-white England kit to be changed prior to the Women’s World Cup in the summer of 2023. Lioness and Arsenal forward, Beth Mead, voiced her concerns as she said, “it’s nice to have an all-white kit, but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month. We have discussed it as a team, and we have fed that back to Nike.” It will be interesting to see if Nike have taken their concerns into consideration when the kits are released ahead of the tournament’s arrival this July.
Orlando Pride recently followed suit in March 2023 as they became the first National Women’s Soccer League Club to ditch white shorts. The club swapped to black shorts to “maximise performance and increase accessibility to sport”. Orlando Pride midfielder, Erika Tymrak, commented, “I think it’s a big step for us as a club to make players feel comfortable and allow us to focus solely on competing.” It is arguable that for male footballers, their focus is mainly centred around the game at hand and the result of the match, whilst female footballers have this added pressure whilst on their period.
The statements and actions made by Manchester City Women and Orlando Pride will hopefully inspire and encourage more women’s football teams around the world to consider not only the feelings, but the basic requirements of their players regarding wearing white shorts. We need to see more being done to allow women to play and enjoy the beautiful game in the same way that men can, regardless of periods. Starting the conversation is the first step towards seeing these changes materialise and saying goodbye to white shorts. We would love to know your thoughts on this topic, drop a comment below!
Blog post by Emily Laycock