Choosing the Right Football Shirt: A Comprehensive Guide

What types of football shirts are there? What are differences? Which football kit should I buy?

These are important questions when selecting the right football shirt type for you. After all, every football kit variation comes with its own unique features and benefits.

In this blog post, we delve into the differences and explain the terminology commonly used in the world of football shirts. By the end, you'll have all the information you need to make an informed choice to grow your kit collection. Use this guide as a quick reference to:

  • Identify the type of football shirt you're interested in.
  • Familiarise yourself with the terminology used in the market.
  • Understand the key differences in terms of price and quality.

Let's begin. There are three main types of football shirts: Replica, Player Version, and Player/Match Worn. First, let's address the term 'Replica'. You might be wondering, are Replica Football shirts real? The short answer is YES! This is the commonly used term to describe officially manufactured kits. Let’s take a closer look…

Original football shirt replica kits


Also known as: Original, Official, Stadium, Fan Version, Standard

On our website we refer to these as "Official & Original", as they are officially license and manufactured by the brand (for example Adidas, Nike, Umbro). 100% genuine these are standard versions of the shirt manufactured for a club for a specific season. Replicas are the most common kits on the market and are typically sold in high street stores. In short they are supporters shirts designed for regular wear, they provide longevity and a comfortable everyday fit. Typically, these kits feature a fully embroidered club crest, thicker material, and larger sponsor logos.

Authentic Player Version Football Shirts

Player Version

Also known as: Match, Authentic, Player-Spec, Pro

Player Version football shirts offer an enhanced specification at a higher price point. They are perfect for those seeking a premium-quality kit. These shirts are lightweight and have a tighter fit, often featuring mesh breathability, cooling technology, and printed badges. Originally, they weren't commercially available, but since 2020, they have been sold alongside the Replica versions. Designed for peak performance, they may not be as durable in the long term but offer increased comfort for playing. Essentially, player versions replicate the style and quality of the shirts worn by players on the pitch.

Match Worn Football Shirts

Player Issue/ Match Worn

Though similar to player version kits, these football shirts have been specifically issued to a player for a professional football match. They may have been used/worn on the field or issued as a spare. So, how can you spot a Player Issue shirt? Well the differences are more subtle, but they typically they have unique sizing and smaller sponsors (to comply with competition sponsorship regulations). Some may even have printed match information, personal modifications, and signs of wear. Keep in mind that these shirts are highly valuable and require conclusive provenance. Without the right authentication, photo matching or historic information, their value can plummet. We always recommend buying from reputable sources, conducting your own research, and verifying the kit with a professional authentication service.


Now, let's explore some other kit types and terms you might encounter online. Some of these shirt types you might find in our Signed Memorabilia category, as they are more suitable for private signing sessions with players.

Retro Football Shirts

Official Retro

Also known as: Re-issue, Re-release, Retro kit

These kits are re-releases of older football shirts. Created to mimic the style and design of vintage shirts. They are usually brand new and manufactured decades after the original shirt launch, making them popular choices for festivals and pubs if you're aiming for that retro vibe. Official Retro kits are typically produced by brands like Scoredraw and Toffs. Widely available they are easier to find and cheaper to buy than the original versions. Though similar to the original version, they will have different labels, sizing, and even branding/sponsors in comparison.

Fan Shirt

Club T-shirts for fashion purposes, officially manufactured under the club/brand license. These shirts allow supporters to proudly display their club branding at a more affordable price point. Made from cotton with a printed design, they don't resemble standard football kits. Instead, they have their own unique style for everyday wear.

Retro remake

An increasingly common term used to describe unofficial football shirts found on sites like Ebay. These shirts have been reproduced by third-party manufacturers to resemble genuine kits. As a result, the quality, sizing, and colours may not match those of officially licensed items. The easiest way to spot a retro remake is to type the product code, found on the inner label, into a search engine.

Our Conclusion

Choosing the right football shirt is more than just selecting a style. It's about understanding the nuances of each type and what they offer. In this comprehensive guide, we've explored the three main football shirt types: Replica, Player Version, and Player/Match Worn, shedding light on their unique features.

As you embark on your football shirt collecting journey, remember to do your research and try buy from reputable sources. When in doubt why not send us a message? We'd be happy to answer any questions or even help authenticate your item.

The world of football shirts is vast and exciting, and with this knowledge at your disposal, you're well-equipped to make informed choices to build a collection that reflects your passion for the beautiful game.

So, go ahead, explore, and proudly wear the emblem of your favorite club, whether you're celebrating past glories, sporting a modern masterpiece, or holding a piece of football history in your hands. Your choice of football shirt is a statement of your allegiance and love for the sport, and with this guide, you're ready to make it with confidence.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the world of football shirts. We hope you find the perfect shirt that resonates with your unique connection to the game.


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