Authentic vs. Replica Jerseys: What’s the Difference?

USA's away jersey

When it comes to purchasing apparel to support your favorite club, you are going to run into the question of: “What is the difference between authentic and replica jerseys?” The number one thing that most people can recognize right off the bat is the difference in price. But, they usually do not know what the differences are between the products. Today we are going to help you debunk the mystery and figure out what the major differences are, and which one is for you.

Now, labeling is very important. While all of SoccerPro’s jerseys are licensed by the manufacturer (Nike, adidas, etc.), some are considered “replica”(or “stadium”) jerseys. These are the less expensive (usually around $90 retail) versions of the “authentic” jerseys, which run for around $150 retail. The authentic jerseys are also referred to as “player cut”, “performance cut”, or “match jersey”, because they have the apparel technology built in that the players need.

We will go through the three major brands and pick out details that make each unique. I tried to sort each brand by how different the authentic version is from the replica. In order of most similar to most different: Nike, adidas, and Puma.

Nike

Venting on USA Home jersey

For Nike, there are a few ways to distinguish between authentic and replica jerseys. One of the easier ones is to look at the tag found on the bottom right of the shirt. Authentic jerseys will have a gold tag, while replicas will have a different color tag. This is one of the only ways that the shirt will visually differ without looking into details. The next difference between the two is pretty major. It is the actual fit of the jersey. Authentic jerseys will have a slimmer and tighter feel in the sleeves and midsection. Replicas will be looser fitting than the authentic ones. Something that sets Nike apart from their competitors is the fact that both the authentic and replica versions have Nike’s Dri-FIT technology. Another subtle difference is the venting system. With Nike, the current authentic jerseys have different mesh in certain areas, which allow for more breathability and air flow, such as the laser-cut holes running down each side of the torso. Of the three major brands, Nike has the most similarities between authentic and replica jerseys.

Adidas

Chelsea home jersey

Adidas authentic and replica jerseys have more visible differences than the ones found on Nike jerseys. First and foremost, the company logo is different on the jerseys. On the authentic version, the logo is screen printed, while the replica has it embroidered. The knit of the fabric is different as well, with authentic jerseys boasting “adizero”, while replicas have “climacool”. The adizero knit is thinner and more breathable than the climacool. Similar to Nike, the authentic version will feature a tighter, more “performance” fit, while the replica will be a looser, and more traditional style.

Puma

PWR ACTV Puma Italy home

Of the big three though, Puma may have the biggest difference between authentic and replica versions of their jerseys. Similar to adidas, the authentic version has the logo screen printed, while the replica has the Puma cat embroidered. The difference in fit is most profound on Puma jerseys. Authentic versions are skin-tight, and have a technology incorporated called powerCELL. If you want to show off your curves, then this skin-tight authentic version is for you. For those who want a looser fit, go with the replica version. The replica has a more traditional fit that will not highlight your body the way that the authentic version does.  If you attempt to get the wrong version, you will know right away when you slip the jersey on, which makes Puma the easiest of the major three brands to distinguish the authentic and replica versions.

There you have it, your buying guide to authentic and replica jerseys. Just make sure that you keep in mind the wording of the product that you are buying. We wouldn’t want you to end up like Tommy Boy.

 

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About the author: Dominic Habjan

 

I am a contributor to SoccerPro’s blogs, and truly enjoy writing about the World’s Game. I support Sporting KC, US National Team, and Slovenian National Team. I follow the Premier League but don’t necessarily have a favorite club. I am an avid sports fan, but prefer college to professional leagues in every sport with exception to soccer. I love the Mizzou Tigers, KC Royals, and KC Chiefs. Outside sports I enjoy movies, music, and musical theatre.

Website: https://soccerpro.com

 

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