Adidas shirts come in 3 types as standard. Here I will show you how to identify true player issue shirts, what to look for and common fakes.
The 3 types of Adidas football shirts
- Standard Football shirt
- Premium -
These are now being called "authentic" versions when you buy them from Adidas or other retailers. These are commonly referred to as "player spec" shirts, but they are NOT player issue. These are shirts made with the premium player fabric and have all the badges printed on to look like the player's shirts. These are not to be confused with player issue shirts - although some sellers price them like they are.
- Player Issue - Produced in small runs only for the players to wear
Player Issue Shirts: The Differences
This is by far the easiest way to spot a player issue shirt. With Adidas shirts they don't have lettered sizing (S-M-L etc) they have numbers from 1 to 13. These shirts are a closer fit than the standard shirt as the players like them to be a tight fit.
Here is how they should look -
Here is a rough guide to the sizes -
Adidas Player Issue Football Shirts Size Guide
- Size 2 XS - 30-32 Inch chest, 27 inch length
- Size 3 XS/S - 32-34 Inch chest, 27-28 inch length
- Size 4 S - 34-36 Inch chest, 28 inch length
- Size 5 S/M - 36-38 Inch chest, 28-29 inch length
- Size 6 M - 38 Inch chest, 29 inch lenght
- Size 7 M/L - 40-42 Inch chest, 29-30 inch length
- Size 8 L - 42-44 Inch chest, 30-31 inch length
- Size 9 L/XL - 44 Inch chest, 31 inch length
- Size 10 XL - 44-46 Inch chest, 31-32 inch length
- Size 11 XL/XXL - 46-48 Inch chest, 31-32 inch length
- Size 12 XXL - 48-50 Inch chest, 33 inch length
- Size 13 XXL/3XL - 50-52 Inch chest, 33 inch length
As mentioned above they have more sizes for shirts than the standard shirts. As a guide, I'm 6 foot and slim build and usually take a large in a modern Adidas shirt, a 7 fits me well in player sizing.
The detailing on the shirts is different from the standard version of shirts too -
- Adidas stripes
On player issue shirts the stripes will be printed on rather than embroidered. They have an extra florescent in them to make them stand out in the floodlights. This is especially noticeable when the 3 stripes are white against a darker-coloured shirt.
- All printed
Everything on these shirts is printed. There is no embroidery. This is a big switch from the 90s when the fan's shirts were all printed and the players embroidered.
Identifying Match Issue Adidas Shirts
A match-issue shirt would be one that has been prepared for a player for a specific match. These should have the correct official player print on the back and the approbate patches and sleeve sponsors. If you are looking at buying one it is well worth doing some research for the specific match, or season to make sure it has the correct patches and sleeve sponsors.
There is a trend for people taking player issue shirts and getting them printed up to sell as "match prepared". A Ronaldo shirt, for example, would go for a lot more than a blank player issue shirt.
A good way to check this is to look for other shirts from this player from the same season. Check it's the same size. Players may have shirts in 2 sizes at times but in general, they will stick to the same size.
This shirt is for Muller, if you search for Muller player issue shirts you'll find they all come up as a size 8.
How To Spot Fake Player Issue Shirts
Whilst in general fakes are mass-produced there is a number of fake player-issue shirts around. These are much better than the standard fakes as more effort goes into them. Because of the premium price they can get for them, it is worth the extra work to get them right.
I've noticed a lot of them are done for specific matches, like finals, where they command an even higher price.
Tips on spotting fakes
- Look for anything embroidered.
- Compare the size and neck print to other player issues shirts from that season. You need to be really picky here, an authentic shirt won't have any issues at all.
- Check the patches are right and in the correct place if it is for a specific match.
- If there is embroidery for a match check its right compared to a photo from the match. Everything from the lettering size to the gaps between the letters/ words/ rows should be the same.
- If you are struggling head to Facebook and search for the group "football shirt authenticity check" and upload the photos. This is a friendly group and people will check them over for you, as long as you don't post loads all the time!