We've been in the jersey business since 2014 and Kobe Sportswear has been by our side from the beginning
Examples of products we've created for hockey teams across Canada and the United States
At the time of writing this post, we deal with several dozen different suppliers to pull together whatever custom products you can dream of. Many of them still haven’t had their products make their way onto our website yet, so if you think of something you can’t find, just ask by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 1-888-352-7999, or chiming in our live chat.
Today, we want to feature one of our favourite suppliers. I mean, they’re all our “favourites”. There are hundreds of suppliers out there, but we do the hard work of picking the best-of-the-best out for each product to reliably/consistently bring you high quality products, on-time, and within your budget. So, before you criticize us saying all of our reviews are “positive” reviews, consider how many suppliers we choose to not deal with 😊
Our roots are in hockey and there’s no one who understands rec hockey jerseys better than Kobe Sportswear. And yes, that includes the big name brands like Adidas, Bauer, Reebok, Nike, and Warrior. Kobe has always been one of our largest suppliers/manufacturers and their reliability is a big reason for our continued success as a company here at JerseysMadeEasy.com.
Top Reason We Love Kobe Sportswear
Reason #1: Made in Canada Production
And no, it’s not why you think. A lot of people think about a Made in Canada pitch as a patriotic one; one that keeps jobs in our country and guarantees better quality (and it's a hot topic as of late).
No, the real reason is timelines. Many of our customers have little time to spare (often, we deal with customers whose hockey seasons have already begun!). When we first started our business, we dealt with a supplier who used overseas-made blank jerseys. Problem was, when they were out-of-stock, it would up to 3 months to see more inventory!
The great thing with Kobe is that if something goes out-of-stock, they re-stock it in a maximum of 2 weeks (3 during peak season). If you’re ordering custom jerseys, that’s how long they need to wait in our queue anyway to be printed/sewn, so by the time you’re up-to-bat your jerseys are always back in-stock!
Reason #2: Large Operation (i.e. lots of production capacity)
Kobe is one of the largest operations when it comes to rec hockey jerseys and that has a number of benefits.
First is a wide selection of in-stock patterns ready to ship immediately. Few other manufacturers even come close. Even this big name brands don’t carry the inventory they do and back to point #1, they wouldn’t be able to re-stock it very quickly.
Second is production planning. Occasionally, there can be hiccups in the supply chain. More-or-less all domestic manufacturers are bringing fabric from overseas. Some smaller manufacturers have trouble weathering spikes in production demand or issues with overseas suppliers. They can, at times, run out of certain materials. Kobe being a much larger operation with such a long history can both anticipate and stockpile materials better than their smaller counterparts. This means they’re less affected by supply chain hiccups.
Third is capacity. If we need to fill large orders for leagues or special corporate events we know there are few suppliers as capable of reliably delivering on-time.
Reason #3: Fast, Efficient Shipping
We have thousands of Kobe shipments every year. Some come to us first for custom orders (for us to screen print or sewn patches on). Others go directly to customers who are ordering individual stock items or team sets to print locally instead of with us. Kobe often ships same or next day (depending on when you order) with the exception of peak season (Sept/Oct), where it occasionally takes 1-2 days (not sure if this even happened at all in 2019, the last peak season before writing this).
Our shipping error rate from Kobe is below 1% as well, lower than any other supplier we deal with.
Reason #4: Good People
Okay, you’ll have to take our word on this one. They’re the types of folks you’d like to have a beer with though. They’ll always have your back if something goes awry and genuinely care about delivering you a fantastic uniform rather than just pumping out as much product as possible.
Enough with the general back-patting and on to specific product details. Below are our favourite products from Kobe Sportswear, our recommendations on when to use them (and when not to use them), and links to said products on our website.
If you’re looking to order custom products from Kobe Sportswear instead of blank products, please visit our custom jersey page.
Before starting, note that Kobe uses 3 different fabrics:
- Midweight knit: think a light, practice jersey-like fabric (not recommended for sewn-on logos, only screen printing)
- Heavyweight knit: think the standard air knit jerseys from the early 2000s
- K3G: Kobe’s flagship fabric that’s both durable and breathable
Kobe Hockey Jerseys
Kobe 5400 (fabric: midweight knit)
Kobe 5450 (fabric: midweight knit)
This practice jersey utilizes a second tone to accent the jersey. If we’re being honest, we don’t sell many of this jersey. Reason being is that the Kobe XJ5 and 5200 (outlined next) come in at the same price while having a 3rd colour and much more of a “team” look.
If you’re looking for cost savings, then you move to the 5400. This jersey has kind of become “stuck in the middle”.
Kobe XJ5 (fabric: midweight knit)
This game jersey uses 3 colours and comes in at a great price. A really good choice if you don’t want that practice jersey “look” but want to keep costs down as much as possible.
This pattern, along with the Kobe 5200 and Kobe XJ6 are deliberately designed for leagues. What does that mean? It means the colours are selected to minimize colour clashes.
The only downside is that very few colours offer a home/away look (i.e. there isn’t a white version available for most colours).
Kobe 5200 (fabric: midweight knit)
Very similar to the XJ5: same fabric, similar colours, just a different striping pattern. As mentioned, we have a slight preference to the 5200 over the XJ5 because it doesn’t have contrasting shoulders. For some people, the XJ5’s Royal/Red/White can be confusing against red teams (despite being a primarily blue jersey) since the shoulders are red.
Kobe XJ6 (fabric: heavyweight knit)
A JerseysMadeEasy.com staff favourite!
Quite possibly the most popular jersey we sell for men’s league hockey jerseys. The reason being is that it balances cost and quality extremely well: for an extra $5 it’s a big upgrade from the XJ5 and 5200. Similar to the XJ5 and 5200, it has minimal colour clashes (great for leagues) but has few options to have a home/away set.
Kobe 6200 (fabric: heavyweight knit)
Same price as the XJ6 and although the striping is a touch more boring, there are 2 reasons you may choose it over the XJ6
- It matches NHL colours more closely (since many teams base their logo design around NHL team colours)
- Most jerseys offer a home/away (white/dark) if you’re looking to have an economical home/away set of jerseys
Kobe K3G Amateur (fabric: K3G)
This one is a great jersey, but isn’t super popular since it comes in at the same price point as the XJ6 and 6200 which have more of a design to them. Often we get teams choosing this jersey though when their priority is a nicer-feeling jersey without overspending.
Kobe 6100 (fabric: heavyweight knit)
Similar to the 5450, we’re going to be honest: we don’t sell a lot of these. Here’s why: the 6100 was Kobe’s former flagship model. When they released the K3G jersey, they stopped adding new patterns. It’s not that this isn’t a nice jersey, it’s just that we only find a use for it when customers want striping patterns unavailable in the K3G model. Oh, we should mention it has double-stitched shoulders and elbows!
Kobe K3G (fabric: K3G)
The best jersey in Kobe’s lineup used by minor hockey associations and Junior B and C hockey teams all over Canada and the United States. Double-stitched shoulders and elbows, impeccable designs meant to match the NHL striping patterns from the time they were released: we’ve can’t think of anything to complain about. Virtually the only time we steer away from the K3G when customers want higher-end sewn twill jerseys is when there’s a striping pattern than Kobe doesn’t carry.
The only thing we’ll note is that these are NOT meant to be authentic, replica fan jerseys. Kobe’s business is rec hockey jerseys, not souvenir jerseys. Kobe will use the same shade of red, blue, etc. across multiple jerseys. This isn’t a “defect”, but rather a “feature”. If you see the odd lukewarm customer review on this product, this is usually the case (which, in our opinion, is really a misunderstanding of this product's purpose, not an issue with the product itself).
By stocking fewer shades of fabric, Kobe can stock more of each colour. This is how it makes it so easy for them to stay in-stock all the time.
Find the blank K3G jersey here.
Kobe Hockey Socks and Accessories
Kobe K3G Socks (fabric: K3G)
Once people use the "new style" dry fit socks, they can't go back to knitted socks.
While knitted socks are fairly consistent from brand-to-brand, mesh polyester hockey socks tend to vary a bit more: each brand as their own take.
There's always a trade-off between form-fitting and durability. It seems that the more tightly a sock wraps the shin pad, the less likely it is to hold up.
Compared to other brands the Kobe K3G sock (which uses the same fabric as the jersey) is a slightly looser fit, but we've sold thousands without a durability complaint that seems more common with other brands of mesh socks. The extra cost vs. knitted socks definitely pays itself off in the long run.
Find the in-stock K3G socks here.
Kobe 9800 Knit Socks (fabric: poly/cotton yarn blend)
While "new style" socks may appear to have taken over we still see half of our customers wear knit socks.
Most commonly, it's a price point thing, but there are still a number of hockey players that flat out prefer them.
As mentioned above: knit socks don't vary a ton by brand, but that said, we haven't found anyone who can match Kobe's price and stock availability. They whip custom patterns out pretty quickly and inexpensively too when we can't find something in their catalog.
Kobe "Sin Bin" Pro Style Carry Hockey Bag
Carry bags are back! Not sure if they ever really "went away", but wheeled hockey bags appear to be falling out of favour to some extent between the price point, fitting them in limited trunk space, and all of the components capable of breaking (wheeels, handles, etc.).
The latest wave of carry bags, however, look a bit different than those of old. They're not as wide, but they are taller. At first glance they look smaller than more traditional bags, but they generally have more volume!
At JerseysMadeEasy.com, we're not super fussed on big name brands. Kobe's Sin Bin bag comes in at a more competitive price point, but doesn't sacrifice quality in the slightest. And hey, we can customize them too.