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Throughout his role in the Infinity Saga of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans’ Captain America has been a consistent crusader of the ideals he holds near and dear to his heart. He’s also been a consistently sharp dresser, as Captain America’s costumes have been a conversation piece since Chris Evans first dressed up for the USO in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. But when compared to each other, how do those action set-piece ready costumes stack up; and which is the best one of the lot?
We’re going to take a look at the costumes that Cap has worn throughout his time as an Avenger, as well as rank them based on their look and application in the field. Basically, it’s time to raid Steve Rogers’ closet and pick which action gear looked best on the Star Spangled Man himself. And before anyone asks, the Quantum Realm suit from Avengers: Endgame isn’t on this list, because everyone looked good in that. It’s a killer design that everyone gets to own. Getting down to business, from the bottom to the top, let’s start with the lowest ranked outfit.
8. USO Show Costume – Captain America: The First Avenger
Yes, this costume was never meant for the field, as Captain America: The First Avenger sees the titular hero start off as a propaganda performer. Strutting out onto stage after stage selling war bonds doesn’t require much padding or the ability to protect from enemy fire. It’s cute, but it’s a quaint and theatrical version of something we’d see refined so much better in that very same movie.
7. The Nomad Suit - Avengers: Infinity War
Seeing Steve Rodgers with a beard and shaggy hair was a pretty big shock on its own. But seeing this faded variant of the Captain America: Civil War getup was even more of a signal that Cap had been off the board for some time at this point. While it has a stealth look that totally matches Steve’s new Wakandan shield, it just feels like too much of a costume that screams “edgy Cap.” However, it can be used in battle, unlike the USO Costume which required some creative outfitting to turn into something worthy of warfare.
6. The Battle of New York Costume – The Avengers
Being on ice for several decades does call for some upgrade to the old wardrobe. No one knows this better than the Man Out of Time himself, and when all was said and done, Chris Evans got to walk out in a suit that made a fantastic first impression when The Avengers called for it. Seeing Captain America decked out in a very modern suit for the first time still gives us chills, but when looking at that design in hindsight, it’s got some elements that don’t age very well. We’re looking at you, blocky chest armor.
5. The Sokovian Special - Avengers: Age of Ultron Costume
What good is a team known as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes without a little bit of branding. But the costume in Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t just give Captain America a nice little insignia on his shoulders, in case someone needed to find an Avenger right quick. There’s also some really nifty red accenting that shoots off of the tips of the central star on Cap’s chest. And that blocky chest armor from The Avengers? Replaced with smoother, better form-fitting protection to keep this kid from Brooklyn looking good as he feels good.
4. Captain America: The First Proper Costume – Captain America: The First Avenger
As far as tactics go, Captain America: The First Avenger nailed it down with Cap’s final look in the film. Era appropriate, and resilient as hell, seeing Steve smashing HYDRA tanks and taking the fight to the enemy in these duds was enough to cement the man, the myth, the legend known as Captain America on the big screen. Though it wasn’t strong enough to stop us from shedding a couple tears when he crashed that stealth bomber into the ice. The suit can only do so much, folks.
3. The Improvised Rescue Mission Suit – Captain America: The First Avenger
A huge amount of credit has to go to Captain America: The First Avenger’s costume designer, Anna B. Sheppard, for making the man the fashion plate of the MCU he is today. With her iconic designs leading the way, the Captain’s suits have had a large guiding light in how they evolved from those original outfits. But if we’re being honest, the coolest of that first set of suits has to be the one Steve threw together to save Bucky Barnes and the Howling Commandos. Sometimes, a leather jacket and a motorcycle helmet go perfectly with the old red, white, and blue.
2. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Suit - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
While Steve Rogers is all about the good of the nation, he’s also a man of intense principles. It’s part of why he ditched the awesome S.H.I.E.L.D. suit he wore in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and we can’t blame him for throwing of the threads of secret oppression in favor of something a little more Smithsonian. But oh damn, that first act where Steve has the blue and silver tactical gear on is pretty intense, especially when contrasting this stark and powerful look against the more showy Batroc The Leaper in the film’s first big fight scene. At one point it was even Chris Evans’ favorite suit in the lineup, but we’d like to think this changed when our top choice came into play.
1. The Mjolnir Special – Avengers: Endgame
If you ever find yourself worthy to wield Mjolnir, just as Thor always knew you would, you need something to wear for the occasion. With Chris Evans’ final suit as Captain America, it couldn’t have been a more fitting tribute to this moment than taking something traditional and getting a little more medieval. The Avengers: Endgame suit a little more like your standard Captain America uniform for The Avengers, right down to retaining the little logo on the shoulders introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
But the huge upgrade, and the thing that puts this suit at the top of the heap, is the scaling that you see in the chest and arm portions of the costume. Looking like a sort of futuristic chainmail, this costume was worthy of the great banhammer of Asgard, and it looked like a million bucks when it went into battle against the villainous Thanos. This is a look you retire on.
Like a personal stylist to the MCU, we’ve just sorted Captain America’s looks in the field, and given them all their proper due in the Marvel Studios canon. While they’re all impressive in their own way, there was only room for one of those particular costumes as the top pick in our heart. But don’t let that stop you from voting on which Captain America costume is your favorite, as you can log your choice in the poll below. Also, be sure to leave some comments about why you chose your favorite, and why. You can see all of the Captain America and Avengers movies for yourself, as they’re all now available on Disney+.