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2023 MLS Kits: Ranking all 29 new releases from best to worst

Perhaps the strongest class of kit releases we’ve ever seen in MLS.

Kit release season has come and gone in MLS ahead of the 2023 season. We’ve been blessed with some truly wonderful offerings from the design overlords at adidas this year. I’m not sure what happened but the usually boring and repetitive kits have been replaced by creative and daring efforts all over the league.

With less than a week to go before the season kicks off, here’s a fun little ranking of every new kit released in MLS from best to worst. Please note that very little research was put into the symbolism and nuances involved with these designs and were judged purely from an aesthetic standpoint.

1. D.C. United - The Cherry Blossom Kit

Pink kits are the best kits. That may be a hot take, but this D.C. kit is just simply gorgeous. Locally-inspired, creative, and something their supporters have begged for. They hit it out of the park.

2. Minnesota United - Northern Lights Kit

I’m a sucker for pastels and this kit is absolutely stunning. The pattern, the colors, just... **chef’s kiss**

My only complaint is, this looks like it should belong to Inter Miami, not a team from Minnesota, but oh well.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy - The LA Kit

It’s simple and yet bold at the same time. It’s unapologetically Los Angeles and quite beautiful. The Galaxy just do kits better than most on a consistent basis and they’ve done it again.

4. Seattle Sounders - The Bruce Lee Kit

The press release for this kit goes into great detail of why they decided to pay tribute to Bruce Lee and all of the symbolism that goes with the design. But for me, it’s just a really damn cool kit. I need no explanation. It’s bold, daring, and beautiful to look at. This is exactly what a secondary kit should be. Bravo.

5. Portland Timbers - Plaid Kit

Seattle may have edged out their Cascadia rivals in our rankings but the Timbers have nothing to be ashamed of. These plaid kits are perfectly Portland. I can already see a long-bearded Nat Borchers type individual riding their old-timey bicycle to the coffee shop while wearing one of these beauties. It also doubles as a great Christmas sweater in the offseason.

6. Atlanta United - The 17’s Kit

Sometimes you just need to go back home. That’s what Atlanta United finally decided to do when choosing to bring back the Five Stripes design that they entered the league with in 2017. The 17’s begged for it and they delivered. While it’s not an overly creative revamp of the inaugural kit, it’s a refreshing return to a classic look. In my opinion, the primary kit should always follow some variance of the traditional look. Next season, when it’s time to release a secondary kit, is when the creative juices should start flowing.

7. Sporting Kansas City - Hoops 4.0 Kit

I’d be hypocritical if I constantly preached the importance of a traditional look and then ignored SKC’s release this year. Their hoops with the varied blue color scheme is classic and beautiful.

8. Real Salt Lake - Beehive State Kit

Sometimes a themed kit goes well and sometimes it doesn’t. This one is a fine effort. RSL’s Beehive State kit offers a great color palette with a pleasantly faint pattern design in the shape of honeycombs. Good idea and even better execution.

9. Columbus Crew - VeloCITY Kit

When you have such an iconic color scheme as the Crew have, it’s hard to mess up. They’ve made a black kit interesting before and they’ve done it again. Solid effort.

10. Inter Miami - La Noche Kit

Along the same vein as Columbus, getting to use black and pink is almost like a cheat code. It’s impossible to mess it up. The design isn’t great but it’s just nice to look at by default.

11. Toronto FC - Club Kit

There’s not much creativity here, but it’s just a nice looking strip. Not many complaints.

12. LAFC - Smokescreen Kit

Not good. Not bad. Just really about as mid as you can get.

13. Philadelphia Union - For Philly Kit

It’s still a beautiful color scheme, but there’s one big problem. It’s replacing one of the most universally beloved kits in MLS history. It was going to be impossible to live up to its yellow and blue predecessor, but it’s a good effort.

14. Houston Dynamo - El Sol Kit

It’s undeniably Dynamo with the flash of a new MLS era in fashion. While not extremely creative, it gets the job done.

15. Nashville SC - Man in Black Kit

This is a tough one to judge and will likely depend on how much you pay attention to the history of MLS kits. In a bubble this is a fantastic idea. An all-black kit to pay tribute to a local icon. However, in reality it’s just a black shirt with Johnny Cash’s autograph and a small photo of the man. The past half-decade has been filled with bland MLS kits that are “clean” or “understated”. That’s what makes this one so hard to praise. It’s a good kit, but in this new age of creative and vibrant kits, it’s a reminder of the painfully bland era the league is trying to get away from.

16. Charlotte FC - Crown Jewel Kit

Not bad at all. It’s simple but the colors really pop. The pink and light blue trim on the dark purple is very pleasing. The crown pattern seems a bit lazy. A more creative pattern would’ve shot this baby up near the top.

17. San Jose Earthquakes - Active Fault Kit

This is one that feels close to being great, but something about it just feels off. It’s definitely not dull but the gradients are a bit much. I suppose if you like the color scheme it’ll rank higher for you, but personally, the Quakes blue is just a touch too harsh on the eye.

18. Vancouver Whitecaps - Bloodlines Kit

The Whitecaps almost always have beautiful primary kits. However, this iteration feels like a bit of a rehash with a gaudy sponsor in the middle. Unlike Atlanta and Sporting KC who earned praise for strengthening their identity, this just feels a bit lazy.

19. Orlando City - The Wall Kit

It’s purple.

20. New York Red Bulls - Daniel Patrick Kit

I have no idea who Daniel Patrick is. But this is a kit that exists and doesn’t make me want to turn the TV off. Job accomplished, I guess.

21. Colorado Rapids - New Day Kit

The Rapids used their kit as a way to raise awareness for mental health and that’s fantastic. Purely from a aesthetic perspective, it’s not terrible but still feels a bit lacking in creativity. There are worse efforts for sure.

22. New York City FC - Interboro Kit

I get what they were going for, but it just seems like one of those ideas that’s good on paper. The end result is just a bit too busy for me, personally.

23. Chicago Fire - A Kit For All

It would make for a nice training top. That’s about it.

24. Austin FC - Las Voces Kit

The only MLS kit that should come with an epilepsy warning. I feel like this thing would set off every alarm in the mall and have security guards chasing you down like prime N’Golo Kante.

25. New England Revolution - Defiance Kit

The ‘we have River Plate at home’ kit. This looks like someone who’s never opened Photoshop before discovered the gradient tool for the first time.

26. FC Dallas - Burn Baby Burn Kit

First of all, awful name. Burn it with fire. (Get it?)

Secondly, it looks like a white shirt a toddler decorated with generic clipart from Windows 98. Paying tribute to your past is one thing, but this seems like poor execution of a well-intentioned idea.

27. St. Louis SC - Spirit Kit

New team. Rushed production. We’ve been there too. It is what it is. Do better next time.

28. CF Montreal - The Oops we messed up and can’t release our kit yet Kit

They done messed up so badly they had to delay the release of their new kit reportedly due to “an inscription in an Indigenous language” featured on it. Despite the horrendous release, it’s still somehow not the worst effort in the league.

29. FC Cincinnati - River Kit

It’s a kit inspired by a body of water. The design is a splash of water across the front. I absolutely hate it with a passion. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.