There are many differences between authentic vs replica soccer jerseys. While some are less obvious, there are a few big ones and we will go through them all so you can make an informed decision when making your next jersey purchase.

The starting point for these jerseys is understanding who and what they are designed for. Authentic jerseys are obviously designed for professional players on the field while replica jerseys are made specifically for supporters. Clearly, players and fans have very different needs from a jersey and that is obvious in every detail of the design.

There are 3 main areas where authentic and replica jerseys differ regardless of the manufacturer. Those areas are fabric, fit, and the application of additional items (team crest, logos, etc). We’ll go into more detail in each section.

Authentic vs Replica Soccer Jerseys

FABRIC

The main component of every jersey is the fabric it’s made of. While each manufacturer calls it by a different name, it essentially boils down to breathability and how well the fabric moves sweat away from the body. The authentic jerseys will be more breathable, stretchy, and move sweat away from the body much better to keep players dry during matches. Replica jerseys will still be breathable and lightweight, but won’t have as much ventilation or stretch in the fabric.

Authentic v Replica soccer jerseys

The inside neck of an authentic jersey (top) and replica jersey.

In the examples shown, you can clearly see the difference between the Climachill fabric used in the authentic jersey as compared to the Climacool fabric in the replica. Climachill is lighter, more breathable, and dries much quicker than Climacool.

Authentic v Replica soccer jerseys

The authentic jersey’s fabric (left) is more breathable and dries quicker.

FIT

Authentic jerseys are form fitted to stay tight to players while they play and give opponents less to grab on to. Replica jerseys on the other hand actually have extra room in the shoulders and mid-section to allow for a variety of body shapes and give that relaxed comfortable fit.

So depending on how you like your clothes to fit, there is definitely a preferable choice for you.

Authentic vs Replica soccer jerseys

The authentic jersey (left) is form fitting compared to the replica jersey which gives more room in the shoulders and mid-section.

APPLICATION

When we refer to application, we are talking about all the additional design features that differentiate one jersey to another. That’s everything from the manufacturer’s logo to the team crest and other details.

Authentic v Replica soccer jerseys

The heat transferred crest of the authentic jersey (left) differs to the woven crest on the replica jersey.

The heat transferred adidas logo on the authentic jersey (left) is lighter and sits flatter than the logo on the replica jersey.

In our Mexico jersey example, the federation crest, adidas logo, and 3 stripes are all heat transferred on the authentic and woven on the replica. The woven items are bulkier and don’t sit as cleanly on the jersey although they still look good. One additional note on this specific example is the green stripes on the authentic jersey are heat transferred on to give a further fitted feel whereas they are sublimated on the replica. It’s these types of small details that really stand out when you are wearing the jersey.

Authentic v Replica soccer jerseys

The heat transferred stripes on the authentic jersey (top) sit flatter and are lighter than the woven version on the replica.

It should be noted that while we’ve used an example from adidas, the main differences around fabric, fit, and application apply to every manufacturer. Now that you know the difference between authentic v replica soccer jerseys, you can make a more informed decision.

Be sure to check out our other guides to common questions like saving money on cleats, differences between leather and synthetic uppers, and best cleats based on player position.

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