At tonight’s game, England’s women’s football team will sport a kit that isn’t all white for the very first time. The change comes after years of campaigning for more period-conscious sportswear.
When England’s Lionesses lifted the European Cup last summer, they were kitted out in the traditional all-white ensemble also worn by the men’s team.
Though their kit colour was likely the last thing on their minds during that exhilarating moment, it wasn’t long before a discussion was ramped up to change the shade of their shorts to anything but white.
For years, the women’s team had been raising concerns about period leaks, which are fact of life at some point for all women. Shortly after their historical win, the team spoke with the English Football Association about potential adjustments.
Though many players said they would use contraceptive pills throughout the season to avoid unexpected mishaps, it is virtually impossible to stop an early or particularly heavy period – especially one that happens to start while on the pitch.
England forward and Arsenal striker Beth Mead was responsible for unofficially leading the campaign. She spoke directly with manufacturers at Nike and convinced them to switch the colour of the shorts to a rich shade of blue.
🏴 Our England family 🏴
The new @Nikefootball England Women’s kit.
✨ Available 5 June ✨
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) April 3, 2023
Although the EFA didn’t officially announce the reason for the change, players from the England squad weren’t shy about their campaign.
Speaking on the change, Beth Mead said, ‘It’s very nice to have an all-white kit, but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s that time of the month.’
She continued, ‘We deal with it [periods] as best as we can, but we discussed the shorts issue together as a team and fed our views through to Nike.’
Lucy Parker who plays for both England and West Ham added, ‘I think anything that relieves the mental stress from a player is a good thing. If it’s one less thing to worry about, then why not?’
The Lionesses’ blue shorts also include Nike’s new leak protection technology, which has been introduced to give players ‘confidence when they can’t leave the pitch.’
The kit will make its debut today, as the women’s team take on Brazil in the women’s Finalissima at Wembley stadium. Expect to see familiar features paired with the blue shorts, such as the three lions crest and blue strip detailing.
Though they’ll be England’s first national squad to deviate from a completely white kit, the Lionesses aren’t the first side to raise concerns over period leaks in professional sport.
Manchester City, West Brom, and Orlando Pride have all changed the colour of their women’s teams shorts in accordance with concerns raised by players.
The change, though easily unnoticed by most fans, is seriously impactful. It’s great to see that players are being listened to about matters that exist both on and off the pitch.