Shopping for Arsenal in Canada

barriecuda-120Looking for official team gear or gifts? It’s not always easy to buy Arsenal merchandise locally and there’s plenty of counterfeit stuff out there. For that reason, and because I’ve had a few people ask me “Where can I get a kit?” or “What’s the best place to buy Arsenal stuff?” I decided to put together a mini-guide for shopping for Arsenal stuff from within Canada. This guide is 100% based on personal experience and opinion; CanadianGunners has no affiliation to any of the following sites.
Latest update: May 2014
Quick Rankings (click for details):
5/5: Subside Sports
4/5: World Soccer Shop/Arsenal Store USA, Arsenal Direct
3/5: Kitbag
2/5: UKSoccerShop

Detailed Reviews

Subside Sports (US)
Rating: 5/5
Pros: Passionate and attentive to detail/accuracy
Cons: Slightly longer shipping times, less availability on some products
Review updated: July 2013
Subside is a favorite of mine and probably my most relied-upon site for football kits in general. The team there is extremely attentive to detail and if you email/call, will respond within a very short timeframe with detailed answers regarding your inquiries. They also have an incredible stock of older products; for example, just a few weeks ago they had a re-release of some 1999 Nike Barcelona kits for sale, a real gem of a find.
I love the personal touch they provide and as a real stickler for accuracy and authenticity when it comes to my kits, Subside is often my first choice. Only downside is they are a third-party, so they don’t carry as wide of a selection as the ‘official’ avenues, and their shipping times/rates are good-not-great, as they are based out of the UK. Worth the wait if you are very concerned about the details of an order – another high recommendation.
One other big plus is that Subside sells kit authentic printing packages (names/numbers) as ‘loose’, which few sites do. If you have access to a heat press machine, and trust yourself (or a local business) to do your press properly, this is a tremendous plus.
WorldSoccerShop/Arsenal Store USA (US)
Rating: 4/5
Pros: Best shipping rates & times, official connection to club
Cons: Consistency/quality
Review updated: July 2013
WSS is who the official Arsenal USA’s store is run through, and as such it retains that first-party connection to the club. This means they carry a variety of Arsenal products that some other sellers may not have. As they are based in the United States, they often offer the cheapest and fastest methods of shipping for products if you’re ordering in Canada.
I only have one complaint/concern, which stems from an order of two Arsenal kits I got back in approximately 2008. A friend and I ordered two kits; one with Fabregas 4 and another v. Persie 11, with two EPL patches each, on a special sale price. The RVP kit came with no EPL patches (loose or applied), and the Fabregas 4 kit came with a letter E that was very slightly peeling. Their customer service phone line was brutal, and only offered an explanation that “the van Persie jersey didn’t include the EPL patches on the sale price” despite being the exact same sale item as the Fab one. It was such a painstaking process just to get that out of them, that we opted to drop the issue.
I have purchased other kits from them which have been done properly, including my Ramsey 16 away kit from 2010. But that one bad experience has always left me a little worried. That being said, I would recommend them.
Arsenal Direct (UK – Official Club Store)
Rating: 4/5
Pros: Access to ALL Arsenal licensed apparel, official connection to club
Cons: Shipping is expensive
Review Updated: July 2013
Of course, the ideal place to purchase Arsenal stuff is at the Armoury stores in the UK. For those of us who don’t have any plans to visit, the Arsenal official online store is the next best thing. A huge array of Arsenal themed gifts and products are available, the stock is plentiful on most items, and you know the quality and accuracy of any kit printing work done by them will be proper. I have a 2011 home ‘v. Persie 10’ kit from the official store, along with a flag and some other goodies.
The unfortunate drawback of the official UK store is the shipping. The rates get pretty high, as much as £20 ($31 CAD) which can really add to the cost of an order, and obviously being based overseas the shipping time won’t be the fastest either. If you’re after widest possible selection and/or don’t mind paying extra on the shipping, check them out.
Kitbag (UK)
Rating: 3/5
Pros: A good alternative for some products, aggressive sales on occasion
Cons: Doesn’t stand out much, poor customer service, no authentic kit printing
Review updated: Dec 2013/May 2014
I’ve used Kitbag thrice, but their recently upgraded shipping options to Canada finally makes them a competitive player. (On my second order) I was able to finally purchase my long-desired ‘1979 FA Cup Final Track Jacket’ from AFC’s retro range through Kitbag, and found the shipping times to be appropriate for a UK order. Perhaps most promising about Kitbag was the sale – I got a small discount on the jacket due to a promotion (which was already cheaper than the UK official store and unavailable from WSS and Subside) and on top of that I got free shipping that weekend too. Nice!
The only downside of Kitbag to me is that they don’t really stand out amongst the other options. They’re a quality site to order from, but personally I find I only use them to compare prices when there’s an item I really want that I can’t get easily.
December 2013/May 2014: I recently received my 2013-2014 Ozil jersey. I originally panned KitBag for not using the ‘authentic’ Sencilia (felt) printing on my kit. However, after doing some research, I realized that the PL no longer uses the Sencilia brand and now only uses PU printing (from 13-14 onward). This does not change the fact their customer service was slow to respond, was disinterested, unsympathetic, and was unable to explain this change to me. But I do owe them an apology as the kit itself was totally accurate to the on-the-field product, as intended.

Furthermore, one of my good friends ordered an in-stock Premier League kit at the beginning of November 2013 with customization. As of January 3rd 2013, he had not received his item yet. Needless to say, the person he was buying for did not receive their Christmas present on time. Disappointing. Would recommend above options over KB for now. Updated: With some difficulty, this friend of mine finally got in touch with the right people at customer service and was sent a different kit as a replacement, as his original order was no longer available. The replacement item did arrive.

May 2013: They have been upgraded to a 3/5 to reflect the above notes.

UKSoccerShop (UK)
Rating: 2/5
Pros: Stock on older items
Cons: Quality/authenticity concerns
Review updated: July 2012

An order placed with these guys for a Sampdoria kit back around 2007 was totally botched. I was incredibly disappointed, especially after I had been adamantly detailed about what I wanted done with the kit (authentic printing, instead came as generic, cheap printing that ruined the kit and made it nonreturnable). Their customer service offered me free printing on a kit in the future, an offer I never felt comfortable enough to take them up on. Their site looks to be improved over the years, but I’m still wary and haven’t tried again.

Also check out our FAQs for commonly asked questions regarding buying and care tips for kits and other products!


2 Responses to Shopping for Arsenal in Canada

  1. Pingback: Holiday Season Arsenal Gift Suggestions | CanadianGunners

  2. Randy says:

    hey, are there any duty taxes if u buy from subside sport

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