What Are NFL Jerseys Made Out Of?

A look at the materials and construction of NFL jerseys, from the outer shell to the inner padding and lining.

What Are NFL Jerseys Made Out Of?


Over the years, the National Football League (NFL) has seen a lot of changes in terms of team logos, uniform designs, and field surfaces. However, one thing that has remained constant throughout the years is the material used to make NFL jerseys.

NFL jerseys are made out of a synthetic polyester fabric that is designed to be both strong and breathable. This fabric is often referred to as “mesh” because of its open weave construction. The mesh fabric is then dyed to the team’s colors and adorned with the team’s logo and player’s name and number.

The use of synthetic fabrics for NFL jerseys was first introduced in the 1960s as an attempt to improve player safety. At that time, NFL jerseys were made out of heavy cotton fabrics that tended to absorb Sweat and body oils, making them very uncomfortable for players to wear during games. The switch to synthetic fabrics helped to alleviate these problems by allowing players’ skin to breathe and their bodies to cool more efficiently.

Today, NFL jerseys are made by a number of different manufactures, but all use similar materials and construction techniques. The most popular brands include Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour, and Fanatics.

The Materials Used in Making an NFL Jersey

Although football is considered a tough sport, the jerseys worn by players are actually quite delicate. They are made out of a special material that is both lightweight and breathable. This material is also moisture-wicking, which means that it will pull sweat away from the body and help keep the player cool and dry.


Polyester is a type of plastic that is used to make many different types of fabric. It was first introduce in the early 1940s as an alternative to cotton and other natural fibers. Polyester is made from long chains of polymers, which are small molecules that are linked together. These polymers are made from petroleum products, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

Polyester has a number of advantages over other fabrics. It is strong and durable, it doesn’t shrink or stretch, it is wrinkle-resistant, it dries quickly, and it is easy to care for. Polyester is often used in blends with other fabrics, such as cotton or wool, to create a fabric that has the best properties of both materials.

The NFL has been using polyester for its game jerseys since the 1960s. The fabric is light-weight and breathable, which helps players stay cool on the field. Polyester is also less likely than other fabrics to absorb sweat and other body fluids, which keeps the jerseys looking cleaner for longer periods of time.


Elastane, also known as spandex, is a synthetic fiber that has excellent elasticity. It is often used in sportswear because it allows for a snug fit that does not restrict movement. Jersey makers use elastane in small percentage – usually around 10% – to ensure that the jersey will stretch and contour to the player’s body.


PVC is a common material used in the construction of NFL jerseys. PVC is a type of plastic that is strong and durable, making it ideal for withstanding the rigors of playing football. PVC is also lightweight, which is important for players who need to be able to move quickly and agility on the field. Another advantage of PVC is that it is relatively inexpensive, which helps keep the cost of jerseys down.

How the NFL Jerseys Are Made

NFL jerseys are made from a variety of materials. The body of the jersey is typically made from a mesh material, which is comfortable and breathable. The sleeves and shoulders may be made from a different material for durability. The name and number on the back of the jersey is usually made from a vinyl material.

The Sewing Process

To begin, the fabric for the jerseys is cut using large cutting machines. Then, the individual pieces are sewn together by hand or machine. After the jersey is put together, it is then sent to a sublimation printer. A sublimation printer is a machine that prints the design of the jersey onto the fabric. Once the design is printed onto the fabric, it is then cut out by hand. Finally, all of the pieces are sewn together by hand or machine to create the final product.

The Printing Process

The first thing that needs to be done is the design of the jersey itself. The team’s colors, logos, and other identifying marks are all designed by professional graphic designers. Once the design is approved, a print file is created that can be used by the printing company to create the jersey.

The next step is to choose the fabric for the jerseys. The most common type of fabric used for NFL jerseys is polyester, which is a strong and durable synthetic material. However, some teams prefer to use natural fibers like cotton or wool. Regardless of the type of fabric used, all NFL jerseys must be certified by the National Football League before they can be worn in games.

After the fabric has been chosen, it is cut into panels that will be sewn together to create the jersey. Once the jersey is assembled, it is time for the printing process to begin. The first step is to print a large stencil of the design onto a piece of transfer paper. This stencil will be used to apply the design onto the jersey fabric.

To apply the design, the stencil is placed onto the fabric and special ink-jet printers are used to print the design onto the fabric. Once the design has been printed onto all of the fabric panels, they are sent to a company that specializes in heat-sealing graphics onto sports apparel. This company uses a large heat press to apply vinyl graphics onto all of the jersey panels.

After all of the graphics have been applied, all of Jersey panels are sent back to the team’s headquarters where they are assembled into finished jerseys. These jerseys are then shipped out to stores and sold to fans all over the world!


In conclusion, NFL jerseys are made of a variety of materials, depending on the team and the style of jersey. However, the most common material is polyester, which is a synthetic fabric that is both durable and comfortable.

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