Ternana 17/18 third shirt image by classicfootballshirts.co.uk

Sports brands have always liked to borrow from mythology and legend. The stories of heroism, physical feats and godlike performances translate well in to creating a strong brand identity. When you think of football kit manufacturer’s you’d be forgiven for immediately jumping to one of the big boys – Nike, who are named after the ancient Greek Goddess of Victory. As impressive as that nomenclature and all it denotes is, there’s still one God riding high at the top of Mount Olympus – the ruler of all Gods, Zeus. Italian based Zeus Sport are the namesake of the God of lightning and thunder, even adopting a bolt of lightning for their company branding, and their football shirt designs are just as striking.

Formed in 1999 Zeus currently supply three teams in Italy’s top two divisions: Crotone in Serie A and Frosinone and Salernitana in Serie B. Crotone’s link up with Zeus is fitting when you consider their Greek heritage. The club is based in the old Greek settlement of Kroton and the ultras regularly depict Greek icons through their banners and slogans. As the brands sole representative in Italy’s top-flight, Zeus have pulled no punches with their kit design on the Rossoblu’s return to Serie A. Within the broad red and navy-blue stripes sits an eye-catching Greek zig zag pattern and towards the hem of the shirt there an embossed shark, an element taken from the club’s crest. The away shirt for 20/21 is another that is keen to pay homage to Crotone’s Greek origins, a base colour of white with blue introduced to create a psychedelic Rossoblu graphic design, shaped to that of the city itself.

Whilst Crotone flew into Serie A like Icarus, it was Frosinone who flew too close to the sun and started life in Serie B after their relegation. Zeus have not let that dampen their flare for design. The Canarini home shirt for 20/21 really hits you like a lightning bolt. Set on a bright yellow back drop, the blue bolt of Zeus’ logo is striking on both sleeves, as is the blue gradient graphic streaking down one side. Club heritage is present through the addition of Lillo, the club’s Lion mascot found on their crest, which is embossed on the lower right of the shirt. Zeus have followed a similar design throughout the 20/21 Frosinone line-up, but have swapped around the colour combinations for the away and third shirts to complete a distinguished trio of kits.

The third club supplied by Zeus are fellow Serie B side US Salernitana 1919.  The Granata’s home colours are a deep red that provides a canvas for Zeus’ horizontal, broken striped design. However, the stand-out features of this kit are in the smaller details. A royal blend of gold, white and pastel blue adorn the overlapping collar and the cuffs, which combined with the gold club badge and Zeus logo give this kit a deep, rich feel. The colour scheme is flipped for the third kit, which utilises the same design on the body of the shirt, set to a black backdrop and the stripes flecked with that deep red. Another strong triumvirate is set off with a white away shirt that features another unique, striped graphic design through the middle of the shirt, a gradient of red and black.

Zeus consistently produce original and interestingly designed kits that more than compete with the bigger brands. Anyone who has bought either a Bari or Ternana shirt from recent seasons and that have been easier to acquire in the UK, can attest to the quality of the overall fit and features of the shirts they produce. A brand well worth it’s place in the great pantheon of the football shirt world.

Author: Tom Slater