Thinking of buying the equipment of Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus Turin or another historic club? You must be extremely careful, as the differences between replicas and authentic football shirts are not easy to recognise.
Climachil, Knie, Abibas, Hike, Vaporknit and other fraudulent brands have specialized in developing imitations of Nike, Adidas and Puma sportswear, among other manufacturers.
How to differentiate an original football shirt? Although there is no definitive trick to achieving it, we can enumerate a series of keys to differentiate the replicas of authentic football shirts.
Are the materials of low quality? Is the reproduction of the shield not optimal? Is its ventilation and lace inefficient? Is the selling price unusually low? If the answer to these questions is yes, the authenticity of the equipment must be questioned.
Unable to recognize an authentic football shirt? These tips will help you get there
In the following lines you will discover a selection of tips and recommendations to 'hunt' false clothes and recognize the authentic ones. Will you join us?
Selected materials versus low-cost fabrics
Reebok, Nike and other brands have used cotton during the 20th century, with polyester being the most commonly used material today.
Most replicas use polyester, but use it uniformly, unlike official marks. If we analyse a modern outfit from Real Madrid, AC Milan or Manchester United, we will notice that the finish of the fabric is not the same in all areas.
This is easy to explain: the perspiration needs of the armpit are greater than those of the neck or chest. Hence the design of the fabric and the level of polyester change. But this doesn't happen with replicas.
Reproduction of low quality shields
Another difference between replicas and authentic football shirts is found in the shield.
What is the quality of your finish? The imitations usually have an embroidery around the shield, as they do not use the modern techniques of printing and textile printing of major brands.
While the official attire has a more defined shield and clearer to the eye, the replica uses an embroidery. If it's not obvious to the eye, it will be obvious to the touch.
But this advice must not be misunderstood. Not all garments with embroidered shields are fake.
For example, Barcelona FC's 2019-2020 season team uses an embroidery on their shield. In this case, it will be the quality of the same that will help us differentiate it from the replica.
Inefficient fit and adjustment
The official T-shirts are not superior only for their finish and quality. Also the sensation of adjustment and lace to the body is a differentiating factor.
Prestigious brands use advanced technologies so that clothing adapts 'like a glove' to the player's torso. Nike, for example, has patented the innovative Dri-FIT, which facilitates the evaporation of sweat.
Imitators can't compete with this and other manufacturers, so their products have more slack and less fit to the body. As if that weren't enough, sweating tends to accumulate, giving rise to an uncomfortable feeling of humidity.
Without a doubt, another of the great differences between an original football shirt and a replica.
Poor quality seams
Thanks to the use of ultra-thin threads and modern textile bonding techniques, the official T-shirts from Adidas, Nike and other manufacturers show no visible seams.
The neck, sleeves and other sections are tightly joined, but the seams remain hidden. The finish is superior to that of the replicas, whose seams are more evident. And not only to the human eye, but also to the touch of the skin.
You only have to wear them to perceive the friction of the seams, which in the long term will cause skin irritations due to constant rubbing.
Needless to say, this is not the case with authentic garments.
Ventilation and breathability
Another difference between replicas and authentic football shirts is ventilation and breathability.
Nike's Dri-FIT technology was mentioned earlier. This and other ventilation systems facilitate skin transpiration through the fabric. Even if the human eye cannot appreciate them, a magnifying glass would reveal an endless number of small holes in the latest sports equipment.
But this doesn't happen with imitations. It is not even necessary to use them to check their low breathability. It is sufficient to examine the absence of perspiration holes in areas such as the armpits, which are so demanding with sweaty skin.
Unusually low price
Another key to knowing how to differentiate an original football shirt is not related to its design, but to the price tag.
Have you found on the internet the shirt that cruyff wore with Holland in 1974 and only costs 29 euros? Common sense should make us suspicious. Not even the current Dutch clothing can be obtained for this price (but for about 70 euros approx.).
Especially in the case of historical football outfits, too low a price is a useful indicator to differentiate the replicas and separate them from the authentic T-shirts.
Finding a bargain is perfectly possible. But in most cases, we will be buying a fake and not the official clothing.
They say small details make all the difference. This maxim can be applied to the market for the purchase and sale of T-shirts.
A global look at the clothing and its design makes it impossible to differentiate it from the replicas. But a more accurate analysis of the collar, label, inside or waist seams will reveal major changes from the original shirt.
In this sense, the most important thing is to analyze the official label. Imitation marks use a different colour and finish than the official mark. This last detail is key, since added to the previous ones, it will confirm the authenticity of the clothing.
An additional recommendation to differentiate between replicas and authentic football shirts is the reputation of the selling company.
Buying vintage clothing on eBay or Mercado Libre is a serious mistake, due to the high percentage of counterfeits that are traded on these marketplaces.
On the other hand, buying your favourite clothes in specialised shops such as The Football Market is a guarantee of quality and satisfaction, thanks to the good track record of this online shop.