Summer is around the corner and my 6-year-old boy Fred has the football bug. As the dad who cares most about football, it has fallen to me to organise the team.

My first thought was… kit. Let’s make their first season of football special for them. We named the team the Karori Komets, designed a retro-style flaming football logo, and decided we’d have red shirts, black shorts and black socks. The shirts would be printed with logo player numbers – just like the pros.

Easy. Or so I thought.

The results of an internet search were disappointing. My local options were either printed cotton t-shirts, expensive corporate sportswear (polyester t-shirts), or very expensive replica kit from specialist football shops. The cheapest option was printed cotton t-shirts and shorts/socks sourced from The Warehouse - but that would hardly make the kids feel special, I’d need to organise printing, and it would still work out around $50 per player. Switching to an analogue search option, I visited the uniform shop across the road from our office. They were very helpful and had a range far wider than I’d found online. But a basic polyester sports t-shirt printed with numbers and logo, plus football shorts and socks worked out at over $65 per player. Ouch.

Not happy with my local options, I repeated my internet search without the ‘nz’ tag. The results were spectacular. I had a host of options from the UK and US – all selling modern kit designs from suppliers like Adidas, Nike, Puma and Hummel that the kids (and I) would be proud to wear. Many of the stores offered an online service for custom printing and numbering (unlike any of the NZ stores). And the prices? A full set of the latest style kit, made by Spanish company Joma, printed with numbers front and rear plus our full-sized logo, came to a little over $40.

The decision wasn’t difficult. As much as I like to support local businesses, I’ve sourced my son’s football team kit from the UK. It took a few emails with Chris at www.twentytwoshop.com in Sheffield to sort out the finer details of the order and two weeks after my initial enquiry a parcel of eight kids shirts, shorts and socks, plus one adult shirt for me, arrived at the NZ Post YouShop UK warehouse. The total cost for this English Premier League option, including all freight and import, was less than the local A-League solution of cotton T-shirts and Warehouse shorts.

The football season starts in a few weeks. I think I’m more excited than Fred.

About the author:

Paul Smith manages Consumer’s product test programme. He has spent most of his career pushing user-focused quality into the design and manufacture of cars in the UK, and educating design engineers of the future in New Zealand. Paul wants Consumer’s independent tests to empower people to make informed purchase decisions. He’ll only be satisfied when he rids the world (or at least New Zealand) of underperforming, poorly designed products. Paul’s favourite items are his steel fixed-wheel bicycle and Dieter Rams-designed Braun travel clock.