What is a Replica Football Shirt?

October 3, 2020

A replica football shirt is an officially licensed product, mass produced for the general public. They’re designed to be similar to the kits worn by professional players, in order to provide fans with the option to visibly support their club, at a lower price-point than ‘pro’ shirts.

Often, people with little knowledge of football shirts and kits assume that the word ‘replica’ implies that the shirt is fake but this is not the case.

In recent years fake sellers have flodded marketplaces, misusing the term ‘replica’ so much that now the word is associated with fakes and does not instill any confidence to the buyer.

It is crazy to think that the correct word is now being used in such a way. In older shirts, official kit suppliers specifically stated on their kits that they were a ‘replica’ as seen with umbro in the 90s.

A replica shirt is guaranteed to be authentic if purchased from the club or directly from the kit supplier.

Buying a club’s kit is more confusing now than ever before, with most big clubs offering many variations of their kit. We often see a home shirt, an away shirt, a third shirt, a goalkeeper’s kit and potentially even more, like an alternative goalkeeper’s shirt and various training kits. This is made even more confusing by the fairly recent introduction of the ‘pro’ shirts, sometimes in each variation of the kit. This ‘pro’ edition can also be called a ‘match’ shirt or an ‘authentic’ shirt, because they are designed with the same materials and structure of the kits worn by professional players, in real games.

The term ‘authentic’ can sometimes puzzle buyers because, as previously mentioned, all products licensed by the club are technically ‘authentic’. This confusion has lead to the large number of different terms used. Replica shirts are now also labelled in a number of different ways. They are commonly referred to as ‘fan’ shirts or ‘stadium’ shirts, because they are typically worn by fans in the stadium.

What’s The Difference Between Authentic and Replica Football Kits?

Price point is a big difference, with authentic or pro versions of the shirt being significantly more expensive. Typically, upon release, a replica shirt from a Premier League club will retail at a price between £50 and £60. Pro shirts are usually priced around £30 more than the replica shirt.

This increase in price brings with it an obvious increase in material quality and utility. Pro shirts are designed specifically for performance, with a tighter fit and lightweight materials. Replica shirts have a looser fit, for increased comfort, and are more designed for everyday use. 

One of the ways kit suppliers improve their pro shirts is by integrating mesh panelling or perforations into the design. This makes them much more breathable and adds to the lightweight feel, improving player performance. Authentic shirts also usually have detailing, such as the club logo and sponsors being heat-pressed on, to keep the material as thin as possible. The replica shirts, on the other hand, are almost always embroidered.

There will also be significant differences between the kits of different clubs, depending on their kit manufacturer. The big kit suppliers, like Nike, Adidas and Puma, all have their own technologies incorporated into the shirts. For example Nike use Dri-FIT materials in their replica shirts, compared to VaporKnit technology in their authentic shirts. The VaporKnit technology is designed to increase the players blood flow while they are in action on the pitch. This will obviously differ to some extent in the shirts produced by other brands and teams but, in essence, pro kits are catered towards more serious players or some specific collectors and will always be more expensive, while replica kits are catered towards fans who are likely to just wear their kit in stadiums or other everyday situations.

All of this causes some very obvious problems for collectors, when looking to purchase genuine football shirts from resellers online. Sometimes products are listed as ‘Authentic’ or ‘Pro’ variations of the shirt when, in fact, they may actually be just a replica. You can see how even well-meaning sellers could unknowingly mislabel their products, thinking that they are selling genuine shirts, deserving of the ‘authentic’ tag. 

If you have ever come across these problems, have a look at our website. futbolmarkt.com has built-in authenticity checks, to identify shirts and ensure that all of users are receiving the exact product that they see listed. 

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