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The Difference Between Authentic and Replica Jerseys

Updated on February 3, 2010

Choose the Right Jersey without Getting Ripped Off

An explanation between authentic and replica jerseys for sports fans buying jerseys to support their favorite teams and athletes.

Find out about authentic, replica, and swingman jerseys, and why theirs costs vary.

Sports Jerseys Explained

There are a ton of options when it comes to buying sports jerseys. The biggest choice to make is authentic versus replica. But how are they really different?

First of all, sports jerseys sold by reputable sources are usually legitimate. This means they are officially sanctioned by the sports leagues and not made by somebody in his backyard or in some child labor camp in Burma. So don't let the word "replica" confuse you, purchasing a replica jersey still supports your team so they can pay the bills and keep the hot dog vendor running around the arena. But how come replica jerseys cost so much less than authentic ones? The answer boils down to materials and labor.

At the top of the sports jersey pyramid, the authentic jerseys reigns supreme. The name is most apt, they are authentic, the real deal. These are the exact same jerseys that your favorite sports star puts on for every game. Top line material is used for the fabric to handle the physical beating from opponents. Often the elbow and shoulder areas are extra reinforced to prevent tearing. The letters and numbers that make up the name and player number, along with the logo, are stitched into the jersey. It's not crazy to expect the best for our sports athletes, and that's why authentic jerseys command such a premium.

Lucky for the athletes, their teams pay for their uniforms. Us mere mortals have to buy our own, and that means sometimes our budgets won't allow for authentic jersey prices. Cue the replica jerseys, cheaper but still great. Back to the materials and labor argument, we'd expect some savings in these two areas. The material is certainly less durable and not the strongest for dealing with real game action. The lettering and numbering, which were stitched on in authentic jerseys, are screen printed instead. Sometimes the colors aren't identical to the real deal. That's due to the sports leagues authorizing other companies, like Adidas, to produce the replicas and they may not get it exact, although very close. And even though they cost a lot less than the authentic version, they are not cheap knock-offs. Still made from quality materials they can withstand cheering for your team at the stadiums and in your living room. These officially sanctioned replica sports jerseys make a perfect budget-conscious alternative.

Finally, there exists a swingman jersey category that sits between the authentic and the replica jerseys. Similar to authentic jerseys, their letters and numbers are stitched. The big difference is the material; they're made with mesh, meaning you'll notice tiny holes throughout to provide air to flow through. Consider a swingman jersey for something to wear while playing your favorite sport.

Choose carefully and decide on the best sports jersey for you. Remember that authentic jerseys are the real game time gear worn by athletes and that replicas are fantastic alternatives for passionate fans. One last consideration for authentic jerseys is for collectors that may have it signed, the authentic jersey will have the most value as a collectible sports item. Choose the right one within your budget. These sports jerseys will provide a great look while cheering on your favorite team.

For a reputable source for buying jerseys, check out my sports jerseys store.

Popular Sports Jerseys from Amazon

Now that you know the types of jerseys, you're well informed and ready to shop.

Collectible Sports Jerseys on eBay

For the collector fans, here's a listing of collectible sports jerseys being auctioned.

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