Every superhero goes through wardrobe changes throughout their career, and the star speedster from The CW's The Flash is no exception to the rule. Across time and space, the Scarlet Speedster has rocked several distinct looks.
With new photos revealing next season's New 52-inspired look for Flash, let's take a look at the balance between fashion and function to parse out his best costumes from his worst.
7. The Flash's Proto-Suit
Superheroes don't just jump straight into crime fighting, and even the Fastest Man Alive had to look before leaping. After first discovering his abilities and teaming up with S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry Allen set out to test what he could do, and he sure wasn't about to do so in street cloths. Using what they had on hand, Team Flash came up with the superhero's very first costume before he was even a superhero.
As essentially just a unitard with a helmet and goggles, the suit has a deliberately slapped-together look that, while appropriate for a test run, pales in comparison to the fashion and function of later suits. The measuring devices on the helmet did their job and helped the team clock Barry's speed, but even to that extent there was only so much the suit could do.
6. Flash's First Suit
Realizing that the hero would need a little more than a unitard to stand up to his super speeds, Flash's pal Cisco Ramone whipped up the vigilante's very first costume. In doing so he established many of the design elements that would prove mainstays in the costume, and built in key practicalities that proved a necessity time and again.
In drawing inspiration from firefighters' heat-resistant materials, the suit was designed to withstand the high levels of friction Barry would hit when reaching super-speeds. Other upgrades, such as a comm-link so Barry could stay in communication with his pals at S.T.A.R. and thermo-threading to counter the villain Captain Cold, made the costume a key piece in Barry's success as a crime fighter. Unfortunately, wasn't designed for the limits villain Plastique pushed it to, and its destruction lead to a quick costume change.
5. Savitar Armor
When it comes to the reality-hopping alternate timeline shenanigans of The Flash, nothing is simple, and one look at the Savitar armor confirms it. As an evil alternate timeline version of Barry who proclaimed himself the "God of Speed," Savitar wore a mechanical armor completely unlike anything the good Barry ever wore before.
The armor wins a few points for being cool and functional as the intimidating colossus it portrays is obviously well protected from harm. Unfortunately, it loses points in those same categories for being a little over the top and silly. Users need to bend over to enter and exit the armor, and this bulky behemoth completely falls flat into terms of making a speedster's suit look sleek or aerodynamic.
4. White Logo
It took a few updates, but eventually the Flash suit finally got its iconic logo with the lightning bolt and white background on the chest. The first suit had no logo, and then a lightning bolt on a red background, but the Flash's costume really didn't come together until the white logo made the lightning symbol pop. Taking inspiration from a future-version of the suit he saw, Cisco added in the white-background logo and it's been a mainstay ever since.
Of course, there was more upgraded about the suit than just the symbol. A Dwarf Star Alloy added to the suit helped protect Barry in his fight against Griffin Grey, but the defense could really only work once. Eventually the suit was destroyed by the Speed Force itself, but still inspired the design of all of Flash's later looks.
3. The 16th Suit
Designed by Ryan Choi rather than Cisco Ramone, the suit Barry uses throughout Season 5 of the series makes several drastic changes, and almost all of them are good. The fabric of the suit (as opposed to the psuedo-leather of all previous versions) gives a sleeker and more breathable look. Choi also dispensed with the chin strap, opening up Barry's neck so that it is also allowed to breathe.
This suit also brought another iconic part of the Flash mythos to the small screen, the Flash Ring. Held within the iconic Flash ring, Barry need only activate a small piece of jewelry he keeps on him at all times and the suit compressed within pops out. He can change at super speeds, and there's no reason to carry around a backpack all the time to do it.
2. The White Logo Improved
Cisco never quite stopped tweaking Barry's costumes, and even while Barry was lost in the Speed Force his tech-savvy friend remained optimistic about his return. Cisco designed this suit in anticipation of the speedster running again in Season 4.
While the design only featured a small amount of meaningful changes, Cisco's improvements included integrated technology that gave the suit more capabilities, but that all proved to be a drawback after the techno-path Kilg%re turned the suit against Barry. Cisco had to strip those elements out, but the streamlined look stuck and the costume was better off because of it.
1. Jay Garrick's Suit
Barry Allen may be the Fastest Man Alive, but Jay Garrick takes first place when it comes to the most Fashionable Man Alive. The veteran speedster of Earth-3 opts for a classic look that shares design elements with Barry's suit while adding their own personal touch on them.
Most iconic of all is the winged helmet Jay wears. Echoing the mythological figure Hermes (or Mercury, depending who you ask) the helmet pulls from millennia-old inspiration to convey the classicism of Jay's look. At the same time, the torso of the suit consists of the same futuristic material and lightning bolt inlay that modernizes the classic feel.
Taken with the comfortable and breathable appearance that losing the gloves and mask conveys and it's clear that Jay Garrick has the best Flash costume in the DC Multiverse.
Returning Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. on The CW, The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Nicolet and Hartley Sawyer.