My first official soccer jersey as a fan is for the USWNT, which is my favorite team. As a player though, I have a (quite large) pile of uniforms from all stages of my career. Admittedly, some are of much higher quality than others.
While I may not personally own many jerseys as a fan, they are some of the most popular soccer merch. Fans around the world purchase official jerseys to represent their favorite teams. But what are the different types of soccer jerseys? Which are best for players and which for fans?
It’s time to learn all about soccer jerseys as we break down:
- Uniform terminology
- The jersey manufacturing materials and process
- Authentic vs replica jerseys and which to buy
Keep reading to learn all about soccer jerseys!
What Are Soccer Jerseys Called?
Soccer jerseys are often called just that, jerseys. However, they may also go by some other names depending on who you ask including a kit, uniform, or gameday gear.
So what are soccer uniforms called? They can be called:
Typically, the “kit” refers to the entire ensemble, the jersey, shorts, and socks. The kit is more commonly used in the UK, whereas people in the US tend to refer to the top as a jersey and the jersey + shorts as the uniform.
What Are Soccer Jerseys Made Of?
In short, soccer jerseys are primarily made of polyester. This material is used for both authentic and replica jerseys.
Polyester is a man-made, synthetic textile. The tightly-bonded fabric is durable, and it does not tear easily.
Furthermore, polyester doe not absorb water materials as cotton does. This is what gives it sweat-wicking capabilities.
In addition to polyester, jerseys may also contain elastane (spandex). This is commonly used near the arms and neck of the jersey because it can stretch much easier. However, it’s not as breathable of a material which is why it is not used on the main parts of the jersey very often.
Are Soccer Jerseys Fashionable?
Fashion is a rather subjective opinion, but many people wear soccer jerseys as part of their daily attire.
While plenty of people wears classic-style jerseys as part of their daily wear, many teams have also started to expand their designs to include more fashionable or trendy options.
For example, check out this black and red option from the Portland Thorns. It could easily be styled for a fashionable street-wear outfit, especially with black and/or red Nike Dunks.
How Are Soccer Jerseys Made?
Manufacturers may make soccer jerseys in different ways. However, polyester is used in many plastic products (like water bottled and food trays) so it’s possible to recycle these materials into jerseys.
Brands like Nike, Adidas, and PUMA often market their soccer jerseys as “sustainable,” “green,” or “producing less waste.” The reason for this is that they use recycled water bottles to create new jerseys.
Here’s a short, simple video from Azteca Soccer showing how Nike recycles bottles to create soccer jerseys
Where Are Soccer Jerseys Made?
Soccer jerseys are made all over the world. Typically, brands make them in less expensive countries.
For example, Adidas makes their soccer jerseys in Cambodia. Nike makes replica jerseys in Georgia, Indonesia, and Thailand, with most coming from the latter two countries.
How Much are Soccer Jerseys?
The cost of soccer jerseys depends on if they are authentic or replica (more on this coming up) as well as several other factors.
Authentic soccer jerseys typically cost between $130 and $150 dollars. For example, the Men’s Portland Timbers Adidas Authentic jersey from the MLS costs $160 on the MLS Store.
Authentic jerseys that were worn and signed by players can sell for much more. A Portugal National Team jersey signed by Cristiano Ronaldo is listed for $1,299.99. He’s one of the country’s best, having scored 115 international goals as of November 2021.
Not all jerseys are so expensive. Replica uniforms are typically a lot less than authentic jerseys. They may be anywhere from $30 to $150 depending on the team, player, and specific jersey.
Why Are Soccer Jerseys So Expensive?
As you can tell based on the prices above, soccer jerseys can be quite expensive. So, why do jerseys cost so much? The truth is that soccer jerseys are not necessarily more or less expensive than any other types of jerseys.
All sports jerseys tend to be expensive for a few reasons. For one, they are in high demand. Many people are interested in them. The high demand allows merchants to charge more for them.
This story by the Indian Express demonstrates how passionate people are about their teams, and how much the jersey can mean. After England beat Denmark in the Euro semi-final, Mason Mount gave his jersey to a 10-year-old fan.
When he came over and stood right in front of me, that’s when I finally realised I had it in my hands and it was just crazy.Young fan Belle McNally
Furthermore, jerseys are premium fan apparel. They are crafted with good detail, and thus have a higher value than say a t-shirt with the team’s logo.
Lastly, jerseys essentially have one provider. Therefore, the supplier can increase the costs without having to worry about competition undercutting the cost.
Authentic vs Replica Jersey Soccer
When it comes to buying soccer jerseys, you can choose from an authentic vs replica jersey. As mentioned previously, authentic jerseys tend to be more expensive, but what’s the difference?
Authentic soccer jerseys are the exact same ones that the team wears. They are the same version, made with the same fit/cut and performance features.
On the other hand, replica jerseys are designed to look like the player’s, but for fan use. They typically have a more relaxed fit.
However, both authentic and replica jerseys are officially licensed, approved by the team/brand.
Here’s an easy breakdown of the two;
|Fit||Same as the players||Relaxed fit|
|Material||Performance features||Embroided crests|
Are Replica Jerseys Fake?
A common misperception is that replica jerseys are fake, or not jerseys that the team or brand really sells. This is not true.
The name “replica” is an unfortunate choice because of the perception it gives, but replica jerseys are officially sanctioned. This means they are not fake.
However, this does not mean that every jersey labeled as a replica is a genuine one. When shopping for soccer jerseys, make sure that any replica jersey is an official one before purchasing.
Are Authentic Soccer Jerseys Worth It?
Since authentic and replica jerseys are both officially sanctioned and high quality, you may wonder “are authentic soccer jerseys worth it?”
The answer really depends on your personal preference and priorities. If you want exactly what the pros have, then it can be worth it to pay more for an authentic jersey.
On the other hand, if you want a comfortable, relaxed-fitting option with an embroidered team crest, consider a replica jersey.
Should I Buy an Authentic or Replica Jersey?
Now for the big question, should you buy a replica or authentic jersey? Again, it ultimately depends on your preferences, budget, and goals.
For most people, a replica jersey will be the ideal option. They tend to be significantly less expensive and comfortable for daily wear/ fans. They are still officially sanctioned and of high quality.
Where to Buy Authentic Soccer Jerseys
If you do decide to buy an authentic soccer jersey, you want to ensure that it is a genuine one. However, there are some untrustworthy merchants who will label their apparel as “authentic” when it is really low-quality and fake.
Look for sites that appear legitimate. Check for an abundance of reviews (especially reviews with photos and videos). If a website feels suspicious, it’s better not to order your jersey from there.
Here are some of the top places to buy authentic soccer jerseys:
- The team’s official merch site
- World Soccer Shop
- DICKS Sporting Goods
Buying a soccer jersey is a great way to represent and support your favorite national or club team. You can wear them in the stands, while cheering them on from home, or even as part of your daily wear. However, soccer jerseys can be expensive.
Replica jerseys tend to be an affordable option, and they are still officially sanctioned. Whether you plan to purchase an authentic or replica jersey, you want to ensure that it is official merchandise.
Stick to trustworthy sources to find your officially licensed soccer jerseys and rep your favorite team during the next game!