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The Science Behind A Football Shirt

How did we get from wearing baggy, cotton jerseys to lightweight and formfitting shirts that we wear today?

The Science Behind A Football Shirt

What goes into a kit?

Modern football shirts are as comfortable and durable as they have ever been. But how did we get from wearing baggy, cotton jerseys to lightweight and formfitting shirts that we wear today?


There’s no doubt that football isn’t just one of the biggest sports in the world, but also one of the biggest industries. And like any industry, millions of pounds are thrown into the science behind football to improve how it’s played, how it’s watched, even how it is worn. So, let’s take a look at the science behind the modern-day football jersey, to see just how far we’ve come from the days of woollen vests.

Pretty much every football fan has at least one football shirt in their wardrobe and even those who don’t will know that the modern-day football shirt is lightweight and durable. But it hasn’t always been that way. When football first started gaining popularity as a sport, players would step out in a white shirt and a pair of trousers: quite unimaginable when compared to today’s shirts.

As football has boomed into the giant industry we know it to be today, every aspect of a players kit, from head to toe, has been engineered in a lab by a group of boffins wearing white coats and whispering over a smoking beaker, into the most comfortable, durable and performance boosting kits available. But how did we go from the heavy woollen and cotton kits to lightweight and water wicking fabrics of today? Mainly, through man-made fibres like polyester.

What Does A Modern-Day Football Shirt Need?

chelsea-third-shirt-from-nike
Image from Unisport.

Modern football kits are designed to prevent anything from holding a footballer back on the pitch. This means that it needs to be able to resist water in order to prevent players from feeling bogged down in wet attire; it needs to be able to breath to prevent players from overheating and they need to be lightweight to reduce weight whilst remaining strong enough that a heft tackle isn’t going to tear it to shreds.

There is less material used to produce a football shirt compared to 50 years ago, but the material used has been engineered to within an inch of its life, to the point where every fabric of the jersey serves a purpose. Man-made fibres are stronger and more lightweight than any naturally occurring fibres and hydrophobic, or water-resistant, polymer fibres actually move water and sweat away from the skin via capillary action, pulling water away from the body quickly and dispersing it across the outer surface of the shirt.

All your favourite Premier League football kits contain the absolute top tech so top players can continue to perform at the best level imaginable. These kits aren’t exclusively made for the world’s best, you can get your hands on great kits with leading tech, all at great prices, right here at FOOTY.COM.

Writer, watcher, wearer and player of all things football.