The Difference Between Replica and Authentic Soccer Jerseys

If you’re looking for an explanation on fabric technologies for your favorite soccer jerseys or you’d just like to better understand why one jersey is more expensive than another, you’ve come to the right place. Here, Derby Dribbler breaks down all the nuances that separate Replica and Authentic soccer jerseys. 


What is a Replica Soccer Jersey? Setting the Record Straight

Before we get into the detailed differences between Replica and Authentic soccer jerseys, we need to set straight the issue with the word “Replica.”

Browse our site for a single minute and you’ll quickly notice that for most of the big clubs and national teams, we sell two of the same jersey – one an Authentic and the other a Replica

Here’s what that means, and why replica’s aren’t the shady knock-offs they sound like:

• Jersey manufacturers (Nike, adidas, etc.) and clubs produce Replica jerseys as supporter-ready “replicates” of the more technical, on-field jerseys you see on matchdays.
• These are sometimes referred to as "Fan" or "Stadium" jerseys
• Replica soccer jerseys are official, licensed apparel, produced and approved by the manufacturer and corresponding club.
• Replicas exist for those of us that are not professional athletes and are not expected to compete in intense, high-level conditions every week. Conditions like those require a different kind of jersey – the Authentic.

The name “replica” is a bit unfortunate, mind you, but you can rest easy knowing that Replicas are officially sanctioned and approved jerseys built for supporters around the world.

If you'd like to know how to spot the difference between a real jersey and a fake jersey, you can consult our full guide on the topic. Otherwise, read on for replica vs authentic. 


The Differences: Replica vs Authentic Soccer Jerseys

There are 4 key differences between Replica and Authentic jerseys. Here, we’ll examine each. 

1. Price: Replica vs Authentic 

Here’s what you’re most likely to be interested in – how does each kit affect your wallet? Well…

Replica soccer jerseys always cost less than their authentic counterparts. 

This is because they are built with more cost-effective fabric and applications (more on each of those topics later).

Replica jerseys are designed for everyday support and casual wear – there is no need for manufacturers to invest the extra money into turning them into high-performance sport devices – and there’s no reason to charge the average supporter for that, either.

Authentic jerseys, on the other hand, are built to assist world class athletes in performing at the highest level. Much more thought and cost goes into the creation of their kits. We’ll look at how exactly that happens in a moment. For now, back to the price:

• Replica jerseys on our site are available new at £39,90 and 49,90

2. Applications (Crests, badges, patches sponsors and more): Replica vs Authentic

All applications applied to your jersey – be it club crest, sponsor, brand or league/cup badges – differ between Replica and Authentic. 

On the Replica, most applications (barring the sponsor) are embroidered or sewn-on, meaning they have a thread-like feel and are durable, able to withstand extensive wear and numerous wash cycles. 

On the Authentic, applications are heat-pressed, meaning they have a smooth, synthetic feel and must be handled with care when washed. Badges like these create a premium aesthetic, as they are often raised and textured, sometimes heavier than their Replica counterparts for clubs who have a larger crest, like Manchester United.

The differences in crests are plain to see, but note the PUMA logo application on the shoulder of the Italy jersey (bottom). Differences in applications don't only apply to club crests. 

3. Fit: Replica vs Authentic


Probably the most important and notable distinction between Replica and Authentic soccer jerseys is the way they fit. 

When it comes to fit, just keep this in mind: Replica kits are built like t-shirts or polos, while Authentics are tighter, slim and form-fitting. This means there will be visible differences in the tightness of the shirts at the waist, hips and arms. 

Authentic jerseys wear a bit tighter – on the pitch, this protects you from the opposition grabbing you and pulling you back by your jersey. There’s also an argument to be made for aerodynamics and reduced flapping when performing quick turns and pirouettes. 

If you don’t like the slim fit, but still would like to wear an Authentic jersey, we recommend you purchase one size up from your typical shirt size. So, if you wear a medium in your everyday attire, you may consider ordering a large Authentic kit. Consult our Sizing Guide for more details so you can make an informed purchase. 


Authentic jerseys fit more snug in just about all areas – chest, waist, torso, shoulders. 

4. Material: Replica vs Authentic

Now we get technical. Replicas and Authentics are usually built with slightly different fabric technologies that vary by brand. They all have unique names and descriptions but can best be summed up as such:

• Replica jerseys make use of conventional, affordable fabric technology designed to keep you cool and comfortable. This material is typical fabric weight. 
• Authentic jerseys make use of high-performance, sweat-wicking fabric. They are often laser-cut, carefully paneled and built to increase airflow and regulate body temperature. This material is ultra-lightweight.
Washing and Jersey Care: Replica vs Authentic

For a more in-depth look at how to properly care for your new soccer jersey, be it Replica or Authentic, check out our fully-fleshed-out guide on Jersey Care.

You’ll find the really comprehensive stuff in there, but the long and short of it is this:

• Replica Jerseys: these are built to be machine-wash friendly, so your kit should survive sweat, spills, stains and the consequent washes to remove those everyday occurrences. For best results and a longer-lasting kit, give it a cold-water wash and tumble dry on a low setting
• Authentic Jerseys: The best way to care for these more expensive units is a handwash with mild detergent and a hanging air dry. If that’s not feasible, flip the jersey inside out before putting it in the washer or dryer in order to protect applications like badges and crests. If you plan to machine wash, follow the same washing instructions as the Replica.
• For both: Never iron the logos or patches on either jersey. The Replica jersey might be more durable, but intense heat can still scorch fabric and destroy applications.

Conclusion: Between Replica and Authentic, You Should Buy the…

What kit you buy will just come down to preference, style and usage.

Replicas will last you a lifetime and only those that lean in close and squint will be able to truly tell the difference between these and the Authentics. Trusty replicas will survive all the beer-spilling, expletive-shouting rough-and-tumble you put them through as you watch your club from the couch, the bar or the supporters’ section.


Check out our Jersey Shop for the widest selection of current kits on the web, and narrow it down by Replica. Beyond that, you can search by Club, League if you know which specific top you're after. Happy jersey hunting!