At the University of Illinois, our athletics have truly been blessed in many ways. We’ve been blessed with die-hard supporters, fabulous coaching staffs, fantastic facilities, talented athletes and clean uniforms.
Our athletic program prides itself on, “looking good, playing good” and in recent years they have done just that. Winning while looking good is one of the most alpha moves in sports. Illinois, in my opinion, rocks some of the best uniforms in the big-ten, and with the recent success in Champaign, winning has never felt better. With that being said, here is my top 10 current Illini uniforms:
Softball - Breast Cancer Awareness
These uniforms fall just short of my top-10, but they are snazzy nevertheless. The pink base with the blue pinstrips make for a great look, only things that could make these better would be a visor with a pink “I” logo and pink running down the pants rather than orange. Again, these are just speciality uniforms, so I did not expect them to go all out and make a full uniform. But one can only imagine if they went all the way.
10. Softball - White Top Script / Blue Bottoms
Clean. That’s all I have to say. This is one of the cleanest softball uniforms I have seen. The white top with the Illinois script complements the navy pants so well. Softball has so many color-combinations that they use on an everyday basis, but this squeaky clean uniform caught my eye.
9. Volleyball - Orange / Blue Bottoms
The volleyball team absolutely rocks the orange tops / blue bottoms. The dark orange top with its navy blue lettering and striping pops off the court with ease. With the way the volleyball team has been playing in recent seasons, it only makes these uniforms that much more fierce. My #9.
8. Men’s Track & Field / XC - White with Orange Stripe
The uniqueness of this uniform with its orange stripe with the navy blue block “I” earned itself a spot on the list. I was not expecting track and cross country to have made my list when I first began, but after seeing the different concept and how crispy these were, I couldn’t leave them off.
7. Baseball - White Pinstripes
Baseball and pinstripes is like peanut butter and jelly, it’s just right. The New York Yankees made pinstripes famous in baseball, and they’ve only grown in popularity ever since. They did a great job of letting the pinstripes do all the talking, while letting the navy blue lettering and subtle hints of orange complement each other. I’m glad Illinois baseball adopted this iconic look.
6. Football - Galloping “Gray” Ghosts
Now just hear me out. In 2014 Illinois debuted the “gray ghost” alternate uniforms and they received a lot of mixed emotions from fans. Every now and then you will hear the occasional gripe against the uniform, some saying “stick to the orange and blue” or “they are not pleasing on the field”. But let’s be honest: these are sick uniforms. The uniqueness of the charcoal-gray with the smooth-white on-top of the inspiration behind it adds to my obsession.
The uniform was inspired to pay homage to Illinois’ own Red Grange, a football icon who was known on the field as the “Galloping Ghost.” Against what many think, this uniform is one the smoothest the University of Illinois has ever seen. The navy blue and white is just enough to compliment the simple charcoal gray.
*Maybe the 2019 walk-off homecoming win against No. 6 Wisconsin made me likes these uniforms more than I should, but I will die on this hill. Unfortunately, as long as Bret Bielema is coach, they probably won’t wear these again.
5. Volleyball - Breast Cancer Awareness
Specialty uniforms, especially in college, usually don’t go all the way but these... these are crisp. The pink with the navy blue lettering looks fantastic. The libero uniform with the white top goes so well with its counterpart. Illini volleyball killed this concept.
4. Men’s Basketball - Flyin’ Illini
My top four uniforms could honestly be in any order, but the Men’s Basketball “Flyin’ Illini’s” fall to my number 4. What is there to say about these uniforms? The reinvented retro look of the past Illini basketball teams is perfect. The orange on orange with the white “Fighting Illini” across the front is so nostalgic, it takes me back. This is one of the toughest uniforms in college basketball.
3. Football - Orange Striped Helmet / Navy Blue Top / Orange Bottoms
This uniform has always been a fan-favorite, but it wasn’t until they add the new helmet that it became a favorite of mine. The orange / blue / orange bottom-to-top is such a pleasing color-way. The new helmet really ties the whole uniform together. Can’t wait to see the boys rock this uniform on the newly done turf.
2. Men’s Basketball - Script
White on white, the blue “Illinois” script outlined in orange. These simple but beautiful uniforms are what fans of the Fighting-Illini have grown to love. Illini basketball for the longest time was underachieving, until the hiring of Brad Underwood. Coach Underwood turned the basketball program from worst to first in the matter of a few years. These uniforms represent the rise of Illinois and the threat they have become in college basketball.
1. Baseball - Baby Blues
These are the “iciest” uniforms this side of the Mississippi. My jaw literally hit the floor when I first laid eyes on these beauties. Although, Illinois is hopping on the baby-blue train late, they did not disappoint. I never knew orange on baby-blue could look so good, while a dose of navy blue on the belt and hat complement the baby-blue so well. These are a work of art and my #1 uniform in Champaign.
So, what did you think about my list? Is there any uniform that I missed? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to make your own uniform list as well!