How to detect a fake Adidas football shirt

Adidas has been a pioneering force in football since its inception, providing innovative gear and sponsoring major events. The brand made history by supplying the official ball, TELSTAR, for the 1970 FIFA World Cup™, marking the beginning of a long-standing partnership with the tournament. Over the years, adidas has been synonymous with football culture, outfitting legendary players and national teams, and introducing iconic products like the Predator boots, which revolutionized the game since their debut in 1994.

So, how do you stay safe when buying an Adidas football shirt. Let’s dive into it.

Start with product codes

Product codes are a key factor to examine when looking to authenticate your Adidas football shirt. These six-character codes, usually found on the collar tag, should reference the item in question when searched online. Counterfeits typically use incorrect or unrelated product codes, leading to different or random Adidas products.

The Adidas product code is usually the 2nd line of the tag, found under the date on the first line. In the example below, the style code is HY3375.

Your first step should be to use a search engine to check this product code. However this is not full-proof, as counterfeiters are getting better – even product codes can lie. So what’s your next step?


Swing tag details

Genuine Adidas tags will reference the specific team or country, while fakes often use generic terms. If the tag reads “ADIDAS JSY” on a team jersey, it’s likely not authentic. There will usually also be a reference to the style code found on the collar tag. A real barcode is also mandatory, if not present – time to get suspicious.

This is not always possible if the shirt is used or the swing tags are damaged.


Authenticity tags

Authenticity tags, which are usually found on the reverse of the Style Code tag on the collar are another great way to authenticate your Adidas football shirt. This is usually in the form of. QR code with numbers present on the top and bottom of the tag. Some fake Adidas Football shirts may lack these tags. The numbers on these tags are usually unique so it is a harder element to confirm, but ensure that at the very least, this is present on your shirt.


Inspect the care label

The care label is usually found on the inside of the shirt, around the waist area. It’s purpose is to give consumers specific instructions on how to care for your Adidas football shirt. For our purposes, it also doubles as a great way to identify a fake.

Double check that the country of manufacture is present on this label (this is required by law), and if you’re really good – that it matches with the actual country of manufacture for this shirt and season.

Another great way is to look at the label for any spelling mistakes or inconsistencies. Counterfeiters often cut corners, and this is a big giveaway when trying to detect a fake football shirt.


Check the logos, crest and stitching

Counterfeits often betray themselves with flawed logos. Common errors include incorrect stitching, typeface issues, and misshapen stripes. For example, a counterfeit soccer jersey might exhibit connected ‘d’s and an oddly shaped stripe, which are clear indicators of a fake.

Other places to look is general stitching and placement. Is the crest in the correct place, does the stitching look professional? Also look at the size, does the medium actually fit like a medium?

These are subjective analyses but when combined with the above indicators, can generally give you a good idea of what you’re working with.

Look for other red flags

When assessing an Adidas football shirt’s authenticity, consider other factors like price, source and availability. You generally won’t find the latest season shirt for very much under the asking price, if it’s being sold for £19.99 – this is a key red flag to consider. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

If you’re buying a retro, is it likely that it would come brand new with tags? Unlikely.

KitLegit - detect fake adidas football shirt

Use KitLegit

Coming summer 2024, KitLegit is the authentication app for football shirts – designed to digitally detect counterfeits in seconds. Just upload or snap a few photos of your football shirt and the technology will authenticate it for you.

Be sure to join the KitLegit waitlist to get early access, bonus features and free credits!

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