Size Guide 2021: Do NFL Nike Football Jerseys Run Big or Small?


In this article we discuss NFL jersey sizing, using photos. There are 5 main jersey types, and they all fit a bit different. In general, some NFL jerseys fit big, but it depends on jersey type.

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Here’s how I would rank the fit of the different NFL jersey types, from slimmest fit to loosest fit:

  1. Nike Elite Jersey – Athletic Fit – (click here to view)
  2. Nike Limited Jersey – Regular Fit – (click here to view)
  3. Nike Legend Jersey – Regular Fit – (click here to view)
  4. Nike Game Jersey – Relaxed Fit – (click here to view)
  5. NFL Pro Line Jersey – Loosest Fit – (click here to view)
  6. NFL Jerseys available at Amazon (click here to view)

Not only do the 5 NFL jersey types not fit the same, they also have different details. Some are stitched, some are not. Only one type is an authentic jersey.

Quickly, here’s what you need to know about each jersey type:

  • Nike Legend – The Nike Legend is unique compared to other NFL jerseys. It fits almost like a standard t-shirt, and is more affordable than other jerseys. I was a bit shocked how much I liked the fit. True to size. Lightweight, and easy to wear. Click here to view the Nike Legend jerseys at NFLShop.com. NFLShop.com is the official online shop of the NFL.
  • Nike Game – The Nike Game jerseys are popular fan jerseys due to price point. They have the true look of a jersey, but are replicas, which means they are a bit more affordable than premium jerseys. Relaxed fit, but true to size. These jerseys are a good option if you are looking for a Nike jersey on a tight budget. Click here to view the Nike Game jerseys at NFLShop.com.
  • Nike Limited – The Nike Limited Vapor jerseys are my favorite jersey. Vapor style has clean front with seams converging in back. Sits flat against body. This jersey has stitched numbers and graphics. Awesome jersey, with a great fit and some premium finishes. More affordable than the Elite authentic jerseys. True to size. Click here to view the Nike Limited jerseys at NFLShop.com
  • Nike Elite – These are the authentic NFL jerseys, and the closest you can get as a fan to wearing what the players wear on the field. The fit will be slimmer than other jerseys, mimicking the athletic fit of the players’ jerseys. The Elite jerseys have all the premium finishes, including stitched graphics and authentic paneling. Click here to view the Nike Elite jerseys at NFLShop.com.
  • NFL Pro Line Jersey – The NFL Pro Line Jersey is not made by Nike. It is a more affordable replica jersey, which might be a nice option if you are on a tight budget. This jersey has a baggy, loose fit, and you may need to size it down. Click here to view Pro Line jerseys at NFLShop.com.

As I said earlier, this is the jersey from NFLShop.com that I recommend as best fan jersey (Nike Limited Vapor) – in my opinion it has the best combination of fit, comfort, style and price (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). I hate to make it sound simple, but those Nike Limited Vapor jerseys were the easy choice for me for best fan jersey for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s the best looking NFL jersey (in my opinion)
  2. Its sizing was perfect for me (not too loose or too tight)
  3. It has premium finishes but is more affordable than the Nike Elite authentic jerseys

They have that perfect fit that isn’t too tight or too loose. It’s not super baggy and almost has a tailored feel to it compared to the other jerseys I own, but it is still comfortable enough that I can layer a hoodie under it for cold-weather games. Here is mine layered:

nike-limited-jersey-layered

The Nike Limited Vapors also have the clean Vapor cut, which means all the seams converge in the back of the jersey so that the jersey lays flat against your body. If I had to buy only one NFL jersey, it would be the Nike Limited Vapor jersey for sure.

This is where you can shop for the Nike Limited Vapor jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com which is the official online shop of the NFL).

nfl-jersey-comparisons

If you are looking to buy an NFL jersey, you have several decisions to make based on size and what quality of jersey you want to buy. Nike is the official provider of NFL jerseys and they offer several types of jerseys for fans to choose from:

  • Legend
  • Game
  • Limited
  • Limited Vapor
  • Elite
  • Elite Vapor

But perhaps the most important thing at first is how can you expect these jerseys to fit. Do NFL Nike football jerseys run big or small or do they run true to size?

The size and fit of Nike NFL football jerseys will differ depending on what type of jersey you buy – some fit loose and some fit snug. In this article we will discuss how each type of jersey fits.

Take a look at the picture below. This is proof of just how much difference in size and cut two different Nike fan jerseys can have. This is my medium Nike Legend jersey sitting on top of my medium Nike Game jersey (yes, both mediums):

nike-game-legend-jerseys

As you can see there is a significant difference in how those two jerseys are sized, even though both are “mediums”.

In this article I will give you the fit description of each individual jersey type based on my own personal experiences, and whether or not I would recommend sizing up or down. I will also provide size guides for the 3 most popular types of Nike fan jerseys: Game, Limited, and Elite.

We also have a buyer’s guide that will help you determine which jersey is right for you. Visit our article: Best NFL Jersey to Buy. We also have a size guide for NBA jerseys: How Do NBA Jerseys Fit? – and a size guide for NHL jerseys: How Do NHL Jerseys Fit?


How Do Nike NFL Jerseys Fit?

Again, as mentioned above, there is no blanket way to describe the fit of all fan jerseys because they differ significantly depending on jersey type.

In this section I will cover the main types of Nike NFL jerseys, give you a brief description of what to expect as far as fit, and then link you to other resources (like my jersey review for each type of jersey).

In the sections below I include photos of the NFL jerseys that I own. For comparison, here I am wearing a medium t-shirt:

(6’3″ 200 pounds)

medium-t-shirt

Nike Legend

How Do Nike Legend Jerseys Fit?

The Nike Legend fits true to size and will fit almost exactly how a regular t-shirt fits you. There is no need, in my opinion, to size up or down.

The Nike Legend is one of the most affordable fan jerseys on the market, and it is also one of the most unique. This is the current price of the Nike Legend jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com)

I was actually shocked at how much I liked the Nike Legend because I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was actually one of my favorite fits of all the fan jerseys. It laid clean and smooth against my body and was comfortable (made with Nike Dri-Fit technology).

Here is what you need to know: the Nike Legend is more of a jersey/shirt hybrid, sorta like a shirsey. I hesitate to call it a shirsey because it is made with polyester and most shirseys are made of cotton.

If you are just looking for a simple way to rep a player and team, I would recommend giving the Nike Legend a serious look. It is affordable, comfortable, and has a unique design compared to typical fan jerseys.

Here is a look at my medium Nike Legend jersey (I am 6’3″ 200 pounds):

nike-legend-front-back

Click here to view the Nike Legend jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). Again, expect a regular, true-to-size fit. To read more, view my Nike Legend Jersey Review.


Nike Game

How Does the Nike Game jersey fit?

The Nike Game jerseys are a looser, more relaxed fit. I like to describe the Nike Game sizing as a relaxed fit that runs true-to-size. Yes, that’s another way of saying it runs slightly loose, but I didn’t size down.

But going from the Nike Legend above to the Nike Game is a perfect example of just how much difference there can be in fan jerseys.

I know I already posted the picture earlier in the article, but I will post it again here so that you can see the significant difference. This is my medium Nike Legend jersey sitting on top of my medium Nike Game jersey:

nike-game-legend-jerseys

That is quite a bit of difference and might drastically affect your buying experience if you are expecting a certain type of fit and get an end result that is much different.

Here’s what I would say regarding the Nike Game jersey fit: expect it to fit looser and more relaxed that a regular t-shirt. As you can see in the picture above, the Nike Game jersey is wider, longer, and has baggier sleeves than the Nike Legend jersey.

Now, again, I did not size down. Just don’t expect this jersey to fit snug or slim. It will be baggier than a t-shirt.

If you are wanting a slim fit you will either need to size down or pick a different jersey type. But many people like a relaxed jersey fit, and in some instances, the extra space allows for more room to layer for cold-weather games.

Many people like the Nike Game jersey due to its affordable price point. This is the current price of the Nike Game jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com).

Here is a look at my medium Nike Game jersey (6’3″ 200 pounds):

nike-game-front-back-layer

Click here to view the Nike Game jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). Again, expect a relaxed fit. If you want to read more, visit our article about Nike Game Jersey Sizing, or visit our Nike Game Jersey Review.


Nike Limited

How Does the Nike Limited Jersey fit?

When you transition from the Nike Game to the Nike Limited (and beyond), you begin to transition into more premium fan jerseys that have more detailed finishes like sewn on numbers, letters etc.

I prefer the Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable jerseys. The Vapor Untouchable version was designed, in part, to reduce the amount of panels on a jersey to limit the amount of grab points for football players.

From a fan’s perspective, this allows the jersey to also lay flatter against our bodies because the paneling on the Vapor versions is designed in a way that allows the paneling to converge in the middle of the back (more on Vapor Untouchable in the next section).

For full disclosure, I currently do not own a regular Nike Limited jersey because I like the Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable jersey much better (see in the next section). But I have tried on a Nike Limited jersey in the past, so let me say this: expect it to fit true to size.

The regular Nike Limited is going to run bigger that a standard t-shirt, but not so much so that it will require you to size down. Expect the Nike Limited to run a bit slimmer than the Nike Game pictured in the section above.


Limited Vapor

How Does the Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable Jersey fit?

The Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable is my pick for best fan jersey on the market today. Expect the Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable jersey to fit true to size.

It has a regular fit that runs true to size. It is a fit that works for most everyone because it isn’t too slim or too baggy.

To me it is the best combination of fit, comfort, quality, and price point. It gives you the feel of a premium jersey with the sewn on numbers and letters and patches, but it allows you to save a little money instead of spending up for a Nike Elite jersey.

This is the current price of the Nike Limited Vapor jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). The Limited Vapor Untouchable is made with Nike Dri-Fit technology and fits in a way that it is not too loose but also not too tight. It has my full recommendation.

To read more, visit my Nike Limited Vapor review. I think only the Nike Legend (pictured above in article) would I say possibly has a better overall fit than the Limited Vapor (it’s close).

Both the Nike Legend and Nike Limited Vapor are great-fitting fan jerseys, but the Limited Vapor is my top choice for best fan jersey (over the Nike Legend) because the Legend is more of a shirsey and the Limited Vapor is a true fan jersey. Here is a look at my medium Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable jersey (I am 6’3″ 200 pounds):

limited-vapor-front-back

Click here to view the Nike Limited Vapor jerseys available at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). Again, this is my favorite type of fan jersey. True to size fit.


Nike Elite

How Does the Nike Elite Jersey fit?

Now we are reaching what is considered to be true authentic fan jerseys. The Nike Elite jersey (regular and vapor) are considered on-field replicas – Nike Elite jerseys are designed with the exact specifications of the jerseys the players wear on the field. In short, this means premium finishes and premium details.

But as far as fit, this also means a more athletic, snug fit (especially in the Vapor version). On the product page at NFLShop.com, you will notice that it describes the fit in this way: “Men’s Nike Elite Jerseys have an athletic cut that fits snug in the chest and shoulders.”

This is where owning the jersey helps, because I would actually disagree with this description a little bit.

To me, the Nike Elite jersey does have an athletic fit due to the stretch fabric used to mimic the real jerseys of the players, and it does fit tight around the waist. But, in my experience, it actually can be a little loose through the chest due to the paneling.

I say all of that to say this: in my opinion the Nike Elite jersey runs true to size. Expect a snug fit near the waist line, and a relatively standard fit through the shoulders. The chest panel can push out and cause a bit of extra space in the chest area.

The Nike Elite is one of the more expensive jerseys on the market since it is a true replica. This is the current price of the Nike Elite jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com).

It is great addition to a fan collection due to its authentic finishes. The Nike Elite jersey is for serious fans who are looking to add a premium piece of fan apparel to his or her collection.

To read more, visit my Nike Elite Jersey review. To read more about fit, visit our Nike Elite Jersey Sizing Guide. Here is a look at my regular Nike Elite jersey (I am 6’3″ 200 pounds).

elite-front-back

Elite Vapor

How Does the Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable Jersey fit?

Just like the Nike Limited jerseys we discussed earlier in the article, the Nike Elite also has a Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable version. I am a fan of Vapor Untouchable, so whenever you have a choice, I personally would recommend choosing Vapor over regular (for both the Nike Elite and Nike Limited).

We discussed it earlier in the article, but again, one main difference in the Vapor version is the design of the jersey reduces the amount of paneling so that the jersey lays flat against your chest and shoulders. This is a good thing.

Now in regards specifically to the Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable – it has an athletic, slim fit. The Elite vapor has the slimmest fit of all fan jerseys.

It is also made with a stretch blend of material, so although it fits snug, it doesn’t restrict you like a straight jacket because the material can stretch. In my opinion, it runs true to size, but just expect an athletic, slim cut.

Also of note, the sleeves on the Nike Elite are fitted and have an elastic cuff to mimic those worn by the players. Make sure this is something you are comfortable with.

The Elite Vapor uses numerical sizing. Here is a look at my size 40, which is comparable to a medium (6’3″ 200 pounds):

nike-elite-vapor-untouchable-jersey-layered

Click here to view the Elite Vapor jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). Again, expect a slim fit. To read more about the Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable jerseys, you can view my Elite Vapor review.


Nike NFL Jersey Types and Comparison

As we’ve discussed above, the three main types of Nike NFL jerseys are:

  • Game (Least Expensive)
  • Limited
  • Elite (Most Expensive)

There is of course also the Nike Legend (which is more of a jersey/shirt hybrid) and there are also Vapor versions of both the Limited and the Elite. If you want in depth reviews and comparison articles of all these jerseys, you can visit our football jersey resource page.

These three main jersey types (Game, Limited, Elite) are structured at three different price points so that fans have an option to match with their budget. Of course, the quality of the jersey increases with the price. The Nike Elite jerseys are the closest to what they players wear on the field and are based off the NFL Elite 51 jerseys, which is the uniform style that most teams use.

Nike ‘Game’ Jersey Size Guide

If you are looking for a jersey but don’t want to break the bank, the Nike ‘Game’ jersey is your best option. Yes, it has less premium finishes than the Limited or Elite jerseys, but it still offers you the opportunity to rock the jersey of your favorite player, while also saving a few bucks.

Features

Okay, here are the main features and differences that the Nike Game jersey has in comparison to the more expensive jerseys:

  • Screen-printed name, numbers, and logos instead of stitched graphics.
  • NFL logo stitched to front collar.
  • No flywire to strengthen collar to prevent stretching (but collar is well made anyway in my opinion).
  • Longer, loose sleeves, that will hit near your elbow.
  • Fabric that lacks the stretch material blend or Dri-Fit technology of the more expensive jerseys.
  • Standard sizing (small, medium, large etc) instead of number-based sizing used in Elite jerseys

Nike NFL Game Jersey Size Chart


Nike ‘Limited’ Jersey Size Guide

As I’ve discussed, the Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable version is my personal favorite fan jersey. It is a better quality jersey than the Nike ‘Game’ jersey and has a lower price point than the Elite jerseys. To me it is the perfect combination of fit, comfort, quality, and price.

Remember, there is a regular Nike Limited jersey and a Nike Limited Vapor Untouchable jersey.

Features of Nike ‘Limited’ Jersey

  • Stitched-on names and numbers (‘Game’ has screen-printed names and numbers)
  • Mesh Grill panel at the front neck line (to mimic real on-field jerseys) with NFL shield metallic logo in Vapor version.
  • Nike Dri-Fit Technology (Vapor versions)
  • Stretch-resistant, tagless collars
  • Longer, loose sleeves, that will hit near your elbow (the Limited Vapor has semi-fitted sleeves that in my opinion are the perfect length for sleeves.)
  • Medium-fit (not extremely loose, but not as fitted as the Nike ‘Elite’ on-field jerseys)

Nike NFL Limited Jersey Size Chart


Nike Elite Jersey Size Guide

The Nike Elite jersey is the premium fan jersey. It is made with the exact specification of what the players wear on the field.

Again, there is a regular Nike Elite jersey and a Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable jersey. The Nike Elite jerseys have a more athletic fit than other types of jerseys due to their authentic construction.

The Nike Elite Vapor is the slimmest fitting fan jersey. It’s not so slim that I recommend sizing up, but if you are in between sizes and don’t like slim cuts, sizing up may be needed.

The Elite jerseys also run a little bit longer in length than the other types of fan jerseys. The sizing on the Elite jerseys will be a number-based sizing system instead of a general small, medium, large etc. sizing structure.

Tip: If you are looking for a jersey that has tighter sleeves, the Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable jersey is the only NFL fan jersey that has an elastic cuffed sleeve. The baggy, long sleeves is often one issue that fans complain about regarding jerseys. If you cannot stand baggy sleeves, you should at least consider the Elite Vapor Untouchable jersey.

One issue that I have with the regular Elite jersey is the mesh paneling (that mimics the on-field jersey that the players wear) can cause the jersey not to lay as flat against the chest as the Vapor Untouchable version.

Features of Nike ‘Elite’ Jersey

  • On-field premium fan jersey
  • Stitched on names, numbers, and logos
  • Stretch fabric for increased mobility
  • Tighter fit than other fan jerseys
  • Fitted sleeves in Vapor Untouchable version
  • Machine washable
  • Metallic-effect NFL shield at collar
  • Mesh paneling at the front neck line to mimic player jerseys

Nike NFL Elite Jersey Size Chart

Nike Elite vs Limited vs Game Jerseys

So, which jersey is right for you? This answer will be a combination of price, fit, and personal preferences. Here are a list of a few things to consider when making your decision:

  • Fit – Remember, the Nike Elite Vapor Untouchable will be the most fitted jersey of all the fan jerseys. If you prefer a slimmer fit, you may need to spend the extra money. Remember, the Elite Vapor Untouchable also has fitted sleeves. Nike Game is the loosest of all Nike jerseys.
  • Price – If you are on a strict budget, the Nike Game or Nike Legend will be your best options. Although they don’t have the premium finishes of the Nike Elite, these two jerseys are still is a nice way to represent your favorite player and team.
  • Length – If you are looking for a longer jersey, the Nike Elite jersey has the longest fit of all the fan jerseys. In general, the Nike jerseys run about an inch or two longer than standard T Shirts (with the exception of the Nike Legend which fits much like a t-shirt).
  • Finishes – The Elite jersey will have the most premium finishes, including stitched on graphics, stretch fabric for easy mobility, and other finishes that mimic the on-field jerseys that the players wear.

Related Questions

Do NFL Jerseys Run Big or Small?

Again, this is a difficult question to answer because each type fits differently. Expect the Nike Game to fit loose, the Nike Elite Vapor to fit slim, and every other type to generally run true to size.

Do NFL Jerseys Ever Go On Sale?

Yes, there will be times throughout the year that the NFL shop offers unique discounts and offers. This may not apply to all types of jerseys. If you read our article here we cover some of the ways you can save money on jerseys.

You also might regularly check the clearance section at NFLShop.com, which you can view by clicking on this link (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com). Perhaps a jersey you are interested in is on clearance and it doesn’t hurt to check.

Can Football Jerseys Go In The Dryer?

Obviously, check the tag on your jersey, but as a general rule, you should never machine dry your jerseys on high heat. If you are going to machine-dry, make sure you use a low heat setting. Hang-drying your premium jerseys may be the best bet. Some of the Nike jerseys do recommend a line-dry.


Where Should You Buy NFL Jerseys?

Because there are potentially fake jerseys on the re-sale market, I always recommend people to buy from a reputable source like NFLShop.com (which is the official online shop of the NFL). This is where you can shop for jerseys at NFLShop.com (affiliate link takes you to NFLShop.com).

You can also shop at locat retail stores, although not all types of NFL jerseys are offered in local retail stores, so your selection may be limited. NFL pro shops located inside of stadiums will also have a wide selection of jerseys.

Paul Johnson

Paul has been with us from our beginnings. He focuses on a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB and golf.

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