Custom vs Stock:  Which Uniform Should I Buy?

 

Team identity is integral to school spirit, and having uniforms that look good and will last is important to every program. It’s a fun decision but an important one as well – many schools get new uniforms every three or four years, so they’ll be around for a generation of players. 

So, do you go for some custom-designed uniforms or pre-made stock kits? The answer will vary based on the financial situation of every athletic department, but there are three key metrics to take into consideration before your organization’s purchase: 

  • Turnaround
  • Quality
  • Price

Turnaround

The general rule is that you’ll be able to have stock uniforms in locker rooms more quickly than custom ones. Of course, with proper planning, delivery time might not be the biggest issue for your school. 

Stock uniforms generally have a turnaround time of 3-4 weeks, but can be quicker if seizing special deals or overstock availability. Custom designs could take up to 6-8 weeks, but many companies have begun making timeliness a priority and offer a 4-week turnaround. Make sure to consider your options and particularly weigh delivery times if you’re looking for custom uniforms.

Quality

Uniform quality is important – no athletic department wants to be replacing torn or peeling jerseys within the first year or two. It’s no secret that custom uniforms will usually be of a higher quality, but there are plenty of stock options out there made with durable materials and stitching. Moisture wicking properties and stretch are two things more likely to be found in custom uniforms as well.

The main difference in quality will be the decorations or “little touches” that make a uniform unique to your program. Many stock uniforms are produced through screen printing, while custom jerseys are more likely to be made through sublimation. Sublimation adheres the dye using heat for a final product that’s more resistant to color bleed, fading and peeling.

Price

For many athletic departments, price is the bottom line. Custom designs will always be more expensive than stock options from the same brand. That doesn’t mean you have to buy from one of the top players like Nike or Adidas – if having custom uniforms is important to your program, getting them from less recognizable brands may be within your budget. 

Customs are more expensive for a reason. They’ll typically have higher-quality construction and can capture the essence of your school spirit in ways stock designs might not be able to. Sometimes a more expensive up-front cost is worth it in the long run, too. Low-quality uniforms that deteriorate after a few years can end up costing more than custom outfits that last longer. 

At the end of the day, what’s attainable within school budgets is usually the decision-maker. Whether you opt for custom or stock uniforms for your school’s programs, there are plenty of quality options out there to fit your needs and ensure athletes can perform at their highest level!

For more questions on the differences between stock and custom uniforms, please feel free to contact us using the form below or by phone at 800-340-8958.

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