Fun, games and unique
Kit out the kids without breaking the budget with the competitively priced Gamemode FG football boots from adidas.co.uk. At home on grass and artificial surfaces, an all-rounder boot that out-scores many expensive alternatives. Put them to practice with the Smart Ball Skills Ball from smythstoys.com, featuring a sensor that controls instructions to guide young players through practice drills. Bigger kids will enjoy sportsdirect.com’s replica of the 1966 World Cup final ball from Slazenger, a nostalgic treat in orange leather. Old-school fun is to be had with the Women’s European Football Champions edition of Top Trumps, celebrating the Lionesses’ victory from Amazon.
Indulge with thechocolateworkshop.co.uk’s football fan collection. A set of beautifully crafted, delicious miniatures, that are almost too good to eat. Almost. Mark a special match with the commentary prints from Clive Tyldesley at commentarycharts.com. Beautiful reproductions of the veteran commentator’s pre-match notes, his collection is so popular he now complies them for games where he wasn’t on the mic.
Inventive and striking, the Tour de Vision print from tinyriot.com takes Joy Division’s iconic Unknown Pleasures album cover and redesigns the radio wave image with representations of mountain stages of the Tour de France, a brilliant idea executed with style. As are the creations from circuitsigns.co.uk. The British company has lovingly recreated classic road signs from motor racing circuits around the world. Realistically reproduced on light aluminium, they are eye-catching and irresistible for any petrolhead.
End the day with a dram from Loch Lomond Whisky, celebrating this year’s 150th Open at St Andrews with a limited-edition bottle of single malt. A treat for the discerning palate available at Royal Mile Whiskies.
Gadgets and gear
For cyclists after the ultimate lid, Rapha.cc deliver a mighty helmet in the Poc Ventral Lite. Sturdy to full UK safety standards and a comfortable fit, every ounce has been pared back such that it weighs in at below 200g, featherlight and functional it looks good too. They also make a fine commuter jacket for cyclists, well-cut, light, compact and waterproof, it features a reflective print on the tail for visibility.
Any fans of watersport are well served by the Revolution parka from red-equipment.co.uk. A beautifully made dry robe with a detachable inner for using to change out of wet gear. It’s designed to look as good out and about as it does on the waterfront and works as a cosy, yet stylish overcoat. A perfect combination of form and function.
The well-groomed Manchester United fan should look no further than Remington’s United line. Branded with the club’s badge in bright red, the range is excellent from graphite grooming kit to hairdryer and straightener.
Ease heading away to follow any team with the thenorthface.co.uk base camp duffel bag. A quality build, it is rugged but light, water resistant and can be carried or worn on the back, perfect for travelling or karting kit about.
Out and about on windswept terraces this winter, it’s best to be prepared. Stay cosy with a set of the splendid Icebreaker bodyfit base layers for men and women. Made of the warmest merino wool but still light and luxuriously comfortable, they form part of the excellent range of outdoor and sportswear at baselayer.co.uk.
Wear baselayers indoors and out and given the energy crisis these are an investment that will pay for themselves in reducing heating bills. Combine them with the heated jackets from regatta.com to see off the worst weather. The range covers men and women with the Voltera heated jacket IV a standout. Nicely styled but robust, enormously warm and well made, they’re great value currently at half price (battery purchased separately).
Make spectating an ease with Aku’s Rocket DFS GTX hiking shoe. An indulgence for the feet, sturdy and supportive but also light. Great for a proper walk or if standing on the touchline is as far as they go.
Style and substance
Stand out this Christmas with a unique sporting jumper. Fans of a certain age will adore the Ceefax-themed wooly from nostalgia.co.uk. A mock-up of the mighty page 302, each one can be personalised to display a specific match in the gloriously retro block pixel style.
There’s an equally lovely nostalgic buzz in the charming T-shirts of World Cup Panini sticker collection covers from copafootball.com, while Bootandballprints.com offers a pleasingly different take on rugby union and cricket T-shirts with their stylised painted depictions of great players. With the Ryder Cup in Rome next year, for both playing and watching, the hybrid golf midlayer from glenmuir.com is a fine addition to any round. Padded for warmth and water repellant it allows for great freedom of movement in the swing.
New togs done, settle down with a good book. Paul Hayward’s England Football: The Biography: 1872-2022 brings the team’s fascinating story to life, while for tennis fans Simon Cambers and Simon Graf’s biography The Roger Federer Effect is a vivid and entertaining account of what has made him on one of greatest of all time. Steve Thompson’s Unforgettable: Rugby, dementia and the fight of my life, is a powerful, moving account of his career and how it has changed his life.
Fitness and form
Set out best foot first by putting in the miles. Saucony.com has a standout in the Triumph 20. A light, bouncy trainer for runners looking for a well-cushioned ride. They are light but snug and the sole makes for an enormously vibrant stride, one of the best for the average runner or anyone easing back into a return to pounding the streets. Similarly excellent value are the Asics.com’s new Novablast 3. With a large stack of cushioning, they are lighter and have a better energy return in the step than earlier versions, making for a fine easy or distance run. A versatile trainer that will suit casual runners across the board.
For any sporting activity, ensure the basics are spot on with the men’s Saxx Kinetic Boxers and women’s Odlo Performance Light Sports Briefs, also from baselayer.co.uk. Both are designed with activity in mind, lightweight and with a contoured fit makes wearing them barely noticeable.
Combine them with Bam’s Lydford Bamboo Active joggers from bambooclothing.co.uk. Made predominantly from bamboo for an unfeasibly soft fabric from an environmentally friendly material, they make a similarly sumptuous set of seamless leggings too. Equally well made and with a very affordable price point beaybl.com has a great range, including the stylish strive shorts, ideal for sport or working out they go well with the seamless Balance V2 crop top, well-cut, snug and supportive it’s superb value for a quality product.
For taking to the water, davyj.com offers a fine range of innovative and striking swimwear. Their long-sleeve top is made from recycled nylon yarn and is slightly thicker than normal swimsuits for added warmth but without the weight of a wetsuit, ideal for cold swims or long days sailing.
Finally to end a day of competition or exercise, enjoy bedtime with the dagsmejan.co.uk recovery sleepwear. These are top-end pyjamas, ultra soft and comfortable that aid recovery by directing body heat back in toward muscles to enhance regeneration. Currently in use by two Premier League teams, a most agreeable way to take advantage of the land of nod.