A Soccer's Player Kit

The Laws of the Game set out the basic equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4: The Players' Equipment. Five separate items are specified: shirt (also known as a jersey), shorts, socks (also known as stockings), footwear and shin pads. Goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts.

While most players wear studded "cleats”, the Laws do not require these. Shirts must have sleeves (both short and long sleeves are accepted), and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts are allowed, but they must be the same color as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by socks and be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and "provide a reasonable degree of protection”. The only other restriction on equipment is that a player "must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player”.

All players are permitted to wear gloves, and goalkeepers usually wear special goalkeeping gloves. Prior to the 1970s, gloves were rarely worn, but today it is extremely unusual to see a goalkeeper without gloves.

It is usual procedure for competitions to specify that all outfield players on a team must wear the same colors, though the Law states only "The two teams must wear colors that distinguish them from each other and also the referee and the assistant referees”. In the event of a match between teams who would normally wear identical or similar colors the away team must change to a different color. As a result, teams today have both ‘home’ and ‘away’ kits.

Most professional clubs have retained the same basic color scheme for several decades, and the colors form an important part of a club's culture. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colors in common with other sporting teams of the same nation. These are usually based on the colors of the country's national flag.