Arsenal fans, I bring good news. You have the best football shirts in England.
I know, I know, it’s a bold statement to make, but I can honestly say hand on heart that Arsenal are my pick for the best English team purely when it comes to football shirts. The Gunners back catalogue is extensive, with a host of adidas classics and dashing of ridiculous but cult classic looks.
In the 00s, Nike stole the show clothing the Invincibles and rolling out the red carpet in the form of the maroon Highbury tribute shirt. Although we can largely skip over the Puma era (nobody's perfect), adidas part 2 has already been a resounding success. Whatever happens, Arsenal have the best trio of shirts in the Premier League this season.
Enough gushing about Arsenal though, we’re here to talk about fake Arsenal shirts. How do you avoid buying a fake Arsenal football shirt, in what is becoming an increasingly difficult market to navigate. We’ve looked at fake shirts from various brands in the past, but this guide will focus exclusively on Arsenal covering shirts from different decades.
The Arsenal crest is one of the most recognisable in all of football, and though it’s undergone a series of iterations over the decades (see the image below), you’ll immediately recognise the design.
For any shirt post 2002 (apart from the 2011/22 season), the following Arsenal crest will be seen on any genuine shirt. Everything from the crispness of the lettering to the shape of the cannon should be spot on, and though there may be some material differences across different shirts you’ll want to pay extra attention to this area when trying to spot a fake Arsenal football shirt.
To understand what a fake Arsenal logo looks like, see the following comparison image. When placed side by side, it’s clear which crest is fake. The inconsistent spacing around red portion of the inner shield, the warped text and jagged edges around the white lines in particular are giveaways, and the majority of fake crests aren’t even as ‘good’ as this one.
Most crests on fake Arsenal shirts look more like this, and can spotted from a mile away.
Manufacturer logos on Arsenal shirts
As discussed, Arsenal have enjoyed each of the ‘big 3’ manufacturers over the years, and for any adidas, Nike or Puma Arsenal shirt you can use the brand logo as a reference point when deciding if something is fake or not.
If you simply compare photos of a shirt you know is genuine, or a picture of the manufacturer logo, with the shirt you’re looking at, you’ll be sorted. The following logos all come from popular Arsenal designs of the past, but each logo is a fake. Things like the straightness of the Nike swoosh or the thickness of the Nike wordmark are giveaways.
Not all fake manufacturer logos are easy to spot though, and the below comparison shows just how tricky it can be. Although the fake logo on the right does look a little suspect, if you saw this in a crowd you’d struggle to pick it out as counterfeit. In this example, I wouldn’t be able to confidently rule out a shirt on the manufacturer logo alone, and would want to look at other areas as discussed in this piece.
Arsenal shirt product codes
When buying modern Arsenal shirts, always check the product codes. A quick google of a product code will immediately tell you if a shirt is fake or not.
Check out the comparison image below. On the left, you can see the product code of the real shirt in the middle of the small white label on the inside neck. Search the code “EH5635” and you’ll see pictures of the corresponding Arsenal shirt, but by contrast if you google the code on the fake shirt (right, CW1526) you’ll end up with pictures of a Colombia shirt, amongst other kits.
Whilst we’re on this photo, notice also the difference on the swing tags. We’ll cover them again in the next point, but see how the tags on the right shirt states a generic “ADIDAS JSY”, rather than any mention of Arsenal. Fake tags will always go down this generic route, so keep an eye out for that.
Returning to product codes, see the following Arsenal shirt. It’s quite battered, and the almost complete lack of sponsors gives the impression that this might be a fake. However, if you identify the product code and search the number (on Nike shirts, this is found near the bottom, inside of the shirt on a similarly small white label to the adidas ones above), the correct Arsenal shirt appears, indicating this is actually a real shirt. Don’t let a knackered shirt immediately put you off.
Swing tags and inside neck
Briefly touching on swing tags again, avoid any tags with years that are drastically different to the shirt you’re supposedly looking it. The shirt below claims to be the legendary 1995 away as worn by the likes of Denis Bergkamp, but if you zoom in on the tags you’ll see a modern and generic looking tag with the year 2015 clearly printed on it.
Here’s another similar example of a fake 90s classic. As with the above, you can also spot the inside neck detailing which looks more like a modern shirt than anything from the 90s. All these signs should set alarm bells ringing.
Speaking of the inside neck area, always check the spelling on labels here or indeed anywhere else on the shirt. Fake Arsenal football shirts can spew out all sorts of hilarious typos, like this one which is peak fake “peafoodmance”.
Finally, a word on printing. Player printing is popular, especially on older shirts, but avoid any shirts with thin and overly creased name and numbers. Styles have varied over the years, but fake printing is easy to spot in the majority of cases.
As a bonus point to end on, this fake Arsenal shirt is incredibly shiny! Colour and material integrity can be faked easier than other areas, but when fakers get it wrong they often get it really wrong.
Hopefully this article has given you yet more ammunition to use in the fight against fakes. We’ll be covering more teams in the coming weeks, so check back for more tips, tricks and picture comparisons.
And finally, a huge thank you to members of the football shirt community who provided pictures for this fake Arsenal football shirt piece. We couldn’t have done it without you, and it’s hugely appreciated.
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