Soccer Fans Guide to Understanding Authentic vs Replica Soccer Jerseys

Buying a team jersey is a great way to show support for your favorite soccer club, but you’ll need to decide whether you want an Authentic jersey or a Replica. To help choose, here’s a breakdown of the differences between the two.

This July, Lionel Messi plays his first game with his new team, Inter Miami. It’s an exciting moment for American soccer, and you can be sure the stadium will be filled with fans sporting Inter Miami jerseys with Messi’s name and number. Some will be Authentic jerseys, while others will be Replicas. But what’s the difference?

Most of the big clubs and national teams offer a choice between buying an Authentic or a Replica jersey. The two different types can look nearly identical, especially if you’re shopping online, but there are some big differences. The good news is that either can be a good choice depending on your preferences.

The most important thing to know is that Authentics are the exact same jerseys professional soccer players wear during games. They are designed for world-class athletes striving to perform at the highest level. In comparison, Replicas are designed for sports fans as casual wear in everyday life. Now let’s delve into the details.

Replicas are Not Fakes

Replicas and Authentics are both licensed brands. Like Authentic jerseys, Replicas are officially sanctioned and approved jerseys made by Nike, Adidas, Puma, and other internationally recognized manufacturers. In other words, Replicas are not the same as fakes or knock-off jerseys. Fake jerseys are not officially licensed (and will not feature a brand logo) and are often made from low quality materials.

Difference in Fabric

Replica jerseys make use of conventional, affordable fabric technology designed to keep the wearer cool and comfortable, with an eye towards durability. Authentic jerseys make use of high-performance, sweat-wicking fabric that is ultra-lightweight and highly technical. Authentics are often laser-cut, carefully paneled, and built to increase airflow and regulate body temperature.

Different Fit

Replicas are built like t-shirts or polos, with more emphasis on comfort, whereas Authentics are tighter, more form-fitting and made with the player in mind . That means the same size jersey for each may have visible differences in the tightness at the waist, hips, and arms. Authentics have a tighter fit to prevent the opposition from being able to grab onto their jersey and pull them back. The slimmer fit is also believed to enhance speed by being more aerodynamic and reducing flapping of excess fabric during a breakaway or when performing quick turns.

Applications of crests, badges, and logos

On Replicas, most applications are embroidered or sewn-on, which makes them more durable and able to withstand extensive wear and wash cycles. On the Authentics, applications are heat-pressed, meaning they have a smooth, synthetic feel and must be handled with care when washed.

Care & Maintenance

Replicas are designed to be washer friendly, so your jersey should survive the normal spills and stains, and subsequent washes to remove those everyday occurrences.

Authentics should be handwashed with mild detergent. Always hang Authentics to dry to avoid possible heat damage from using the dryer.

Difference in Price

Not surprisingly, Replica soccer jerseys will always cost less than Authentics, although exactly how much less can vary. Replicas are mass-produced from less expensive material with the emphasis on durability over performance. Authentics are high performance garments that tend to be sought after by collectors and avid fans.

Authentic or Replica – What’s Right for You?

There is no wrong choice. Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference and budget. Authentic jerseys are ideal for those who want the highest level of quality and accuracy. Replicas offer a more affordable option that allow fans to support their favorite team or player without breaking the bank.



At European Sports, we can help you find jerseys for all your favorite teams. Stop by one of our soccer specialty stores located in Schaumburg, Glen Ellyn and Naperville. We are a family-owned business dedicated to making soccer fun and affordable for your family.