As a vintage clothing store, we have seen fakes, ripoffs, and bootlegs of every variety. While we do some brand recreation and make some imitations of our own, like these custom Nike patch hats that we dropped, we are always forthcoming with the authenticity and origination of our products, designs, and reseller inventory.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for all clothing and apparel resellers.
One particular product that has a notoriously bad problem with fakes is Nike Jordans. In 2018, five individuals were charged with trafficking over $70 million worth of Jordans from China to the States. Since then, the problem has only grown worse.
Being a vintage clothing store that believes in full transparency and fair trade, we hate seeing people get ripped off. Especially when it comes to high-ticket items like Jordans. So to help make sure you don’t end up on the receiving end of a sneaker scam, follow these rules to spot fake Jordans.
This is probably the easiest way to spot if Jordans are fake. Below is the official logo and should be the only version found on your Jordans.
Our recommendation is to start from the left shoe on the logo and go clockwise around the outside making sure every dimple, finger, crease, and line is exactly the same as the one shown above. The obvious errors to look out for are missing fingers, shoelaces, and directional issues.
As for the winged basketball logo, a similiar strategy can be adopted. In this case, however, you should know that the logo is always embossed or designed in a way that is slightly raised off the surface of the shoe. If the winged basketball logo is flat on the surface, you’re dealing with a fake pair of Jordans.
While it’s not uncommon for shoes to be resold in different boxes, if you don’t want to get ripped off we suggest you place high importance on the original packaging. But even when it comes to packaging, bootleggers can still fool you.
Original Jordan packaging is sturdy, the lid should fit tightly, there should be a consistent texture, and all colors and logos should be printed clearly with no fading or extra colors.
Since Jordan shoe boxes differ from model to model, we always suggest looking up the original design online to compare.
The manufacturing label is key to spotting a fake pair of Jordans. First of all, the manufacturing sticker on the box should have the name, style, size, color, and country it was manufactured in.
Additionally, the text should be evenly spaced and the sticker should be firmly stuck to the box with no air bubbles. Any odd spacing, inconsistent text, or peculiar formatting should all raise alarms when you’re shopping for Jordans.
Another way you can use the manufacturing label to ensure your Jordans are authentic is by comparing the style number on the label to the one on the shoes. Every pair of Jordans come with a nine-digit style number which you can find below the country of manufacture on the sticker and on the small tag on the shoe.
Additionally, you can find the style number for every pair of Jordans on the Nike website. Before making your purchase, make sure the numbers on the website, sticker, and tag are all the same!
Believe it or not, a lot of the places that make fake Jordans aren’t in English-speaking countries. This being the case, typos are bound to happen. If you notice any spelling errors or issues with spacing and typing anywhere on the box or shoe, that should be an immediate red flag.
Check the Lace Holes
At SNAG, consistency is the name of the game. As is the case with Nike and Jordan. This being the case, you should know that the shoelace tabs on their shoes will always be uniform and evenly arranged.
Check each hole and tab to make sure they are the same size and not crudely punched. Every shoelace tab should be attached firmly and have the same amount of tension with fake ones having varying degrees of looseness.
Examine the Stitching
The stitching on Jordans should always look professional. Any sign of fraying, unfinished edges, or inconsistent spacing between threads points toward a pair of Jordans being a fake. While wear and tear is normal, it should never get to the point where the shoe is becoming unthreaded. In any case, a pair of Jordans in that state shouldn’t be resold anyway.
Research Known Colorways
If it isn’t apparent already, the internet is your friend when it comes to figuring out whether or not Jordans are real! As is the case for boxes, we always recommend looking up the colorway for the Jordan you’re selling.
Even if it is an extremely rare pair there should be some form of digital verification of the shoes you’re buying. One great online app you can use to verify if your Jordans are real is CheckCheck!
Beware of Sketchy Sales Tactics
These bootleggers and people trying to move fake products tend to be desperate. If you see a price that’s too low or someone who turns over a bit too easily during a negotiation, proceed with caution.
Other sketchy sales tactics that signify a pair of shoes might be wrought are overly aggressive sellers, blurry photos, and unreviewed sellers. When you can, always try to find verified resellers and avoid shopping online.
Confer with Forums and FB Groups
Shoe heads and sneaker freaks are some of the most passionate groups of collectors. They know their stuff and are always willing to share their knowledge with those looking for it, especially in online forums and Facebook Groups. Some examples include Sneaker Check Worldwide on FB and LegitCheck on Reddit.
With the prices that people pay for Jordans, everyone should get what they deserve. As the bootlegging problem continues to rise, we encourage all shoppers and vintage hunters to stay armed with the information and knowledge needed to spot fakes.
Keep up with the SNAG blog for more shopping secrets, vintage culture, and insights into the worlds we know and love!