21 August 2019
Bespoke girls' kits - designed to make it comfortable for youngsters to play football
There's nothing more annoying than wearing an ill-fitting and uncomfortable football kit. Throw in itchy socks too – and you've got an idea of why training started to become something eight-year-old Rosie Deakin dreaded rather than delighted in.
Instead of accepting Rosie's lot (that young girls should try to play football in kits designed for boys), her dad Paul took matters into his own hands.
PE teacher Paul takes up the story: "Rosie started playing football at a really young age, and has always loved the game, training with a local team where we live in Solihull.
"There came a point a couple of years ago when she was getting quite tearful about going to training, quite simply because the socks were too itchy and she found it put her off training and playing. Instead of missing out, she spent about 10 minutes rifling through her sock drawer and came downstairs wearing a pair of polka dot ski socks.
"Different, I grant you, but she put her shin pads on, went to training and that was it – problem solved, temporarily, at least. A number of people commented on how much they liked her socks, she was comfortable and carried on wearing them for a few weeks.
"But it got me thinking and I started looking at what Rosie and her team-mates were wearing. They were all in boys' kits, or men's kits, that just didn't fit them properly.
"In July, the Lionesses narrowly missed out on a place in the Women's World Cup Final – but for the first time in their history, were wearing a kit that had been tailored specifically for the physique of female players.
"I met up with a designer and we started to do a huge amount of research. We quickly realised that while there's a lot of unisex and men's kits, the market for girls and women, customised to their physique, is woefully lacking."
Paul started off sketching some ideas that in his own words "looked pretty terrible", but with the help of a designer, and a company in China prepared to make patterned football socks, which is a rarity, Miskits was born.
Kit designed by Year 5 girls at Our Lady of the Wayside Primary School
The company uses hypoallergenic material to maximise the comfort factor – and to ensure that Rosie and her team-mates not only looked the part while playing, but more importantly felt it, too.
When people about taking pride in wearing their shirt, Miskits has now taken this to a different level, with local schools and clubs actively taking a part in the design process.
"We asked the girls at Rosie's school, Our Lady of the Wayside, to come up with their own designs of how they would want their kit to be," explains Paul.
"We passed them on to our designer, who incorporated as many of the best bits as possible before we gave different versions of the designs back to the girls to choose from. That's where the purple/stars of our second kit has come from."
An incredible 67% of the girls said that they were more interested in playing for the school football team after taking part in the kit-design process, and 59% stated they were much more likely to start playing the game if they could wear a kit like the one they'd designed.
"The potential is huge," added Paul. "And the value of having proper kit for girls to be able to play and feel comfortable in is paramount."
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