The fake sneaker market is, unfortunately, a massive one, and resellers need to know how to navigate it. Millions of fake sneakers are manufactured and illegally sold every year, and that̵7;s a trap that you do not want to fall into. Today we’re taking a look at the top tips to spot fake sneakers!

Image of FAKE sticker via Unsplash.
Image of FAKE sticker via Unsplash.

How to Spot Fake Jordans

The Jumpman

The Jumpman is the easiest way to tell if you are dealing with a fake pair of Jordans. The iconic Jumpman logo has been the face of the Jordan brand for years, yet replicas tend to get it totally wrong.

If you are purchasing a pair but are concerned that they may be fake sneakers, ask for a photo of the Jumpman logo is very good, with clear lighting.

You should always be asking for photos of shoes before you purchase, but make a special effort here.

Image of Jordan logo comparison via
Image of Jordan logo comparison via

From the image above, you can clearly see that the hand of the Jordan Jumpman is facing the wrong way on the fake slide. Manufacturers use the small, simple changes like this to try and save themselves if they get caught.

Manufacturers can argue that they are not making counterfeit sneakers because the logo is different, although they are clearly trying to illegally replicate Jordan sneakers.

The Tag

The tag is a great spot to check for almost every fake item because it’s the toughest to replicate. It is always important to remember and note that brands like Nike and Adidas have really high-quality manufacturing.

Their tags, for example, are always going to be centered and even, with consistent font throughout.

If you don’t already have a pair in hand, which is by far the best way to authenticate, we recommend doing a ton of Google research on legit tags. The smallest difference can genuinely be the determining factor in this case.

Image of Jordan tag comparison via
Image of Jordan tag comparison via

You can see from the fake image that the fonts and text on the tag are not centered and are pushed to the right. You can see the furthest right side of the tag is off the raised part of the tag.

You need to inspect photos/the sneakers extremely carefully to find even the smallest adjustment errors when you are trying to determine fake sneakers.

When it comes to authentic sneakers, the labels are usually made with high-quality materials. In contrast, the labels on fake sneakers are often made with lower-quality materials.

In addition, the labels on fake sneakers are often not as securely attached as on authentic sneakers. So if you notice that the label on a pair of sneakers is loose or seems like it might fall off, that’s a good sign that the sneakers are fake.

How to Spot Fake Yeezy’s

The Obvious

You’ve probably seen the “Yeezys” that light up and glow in the dark with electronic buttons on the sole, and those are completely fake.

Due to the massive price increase that Yeezy’s has seen over the last few years, people have taken it upon themselves to find a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, that alternative is a low-quality, illegal way of wearing sneakers.

Not much needs to be said here in terms of how to spot fakes, but you have to know your product. If you are trying to buy Yeezy’s to wear or resell, you must know what the replica sneakers look like.

You have to do your research and understand what you are buying so you don’t become a victim of sneaker fraud. Here we have an image of an obviously fake Yeezy sneaker.

Image of fake Yeezy sneakers via Yahoo News.
Image of fake Yeezy sneakers via Yahoo News.

Obviously, this pair was never an official colorway, and you can even tell from the image how low quality the upper is.

This is a pretty clear ripoff of Yeezy sneakers, and you should stay away from these at all costs.

The Laces

The laces can be a very clear sign that you are dealing with fake sneakers because it’s an easy way for factories to make sneakers even cheaper.

It is important to remember that people are selling fake sneakers for way less than regular retail, so they find the cheapest possible materials.

Laces can be a very important sign of high-quality sneakers, especially after use. If laces are fraying after the first wear, you could be wearing a pair of fake sneakers.

Image of Yeezy lace comparison via
Image of Yeezy lace comparison via

You can clearly see that the verified authentic pair of Yeezy’s in the photo has a lace cap on that protects the ends of the laces from being ruined or showing wear.

The fake pair has a clear, probably plastic coating that costs almost nothing to add and looks cheap.

Even though we are putting specific items to look for under specific sneakers, like Jordans and Yeezys, it’s important to know that the same principles go for any sneakers.

The Quality

This is a big one for any sneaker, but particularly for Yeezys. Of course, quality is always going to be off for any pair of fake sneakers, but sometimes it can actually be quite hard to tell the difference.

With Jordan’s, the leather is going to be the big one. Fake leather is something that you really need to feel, but not impossible to tell from photos.

For Yeezy’s, there is a lot of intricacy in the design of the upper, including the font. You can usually tell the difference a little bit easier with Yeezy’s because of that.

Fake Yeezy comparison via
Fake Yeezy comparison via

Here is an incredibly obvious difference when you see the two photos side by side, but maybe not as obvious if you were only receiving photos of one.

You can see on the right that the font is much bolder and doesn’t blend into the design of the sneaker as it does in the first pair.

Another key difference in these photos, which you may have missed, is the lace hole. In the first pair, the hole is cut to perfectly fit the laces, which gives the effect that the laces are truly part of the sneaker.

In the second photo, you can see the lace hole is larger and doesn’t fit the shape of the laces as well. These small differences can totally change your perception of what a fake sneaker is and how you can identify one.

Why You Need to Know Fake Sneakers

We’ve talked about a lot in this article, but it’s time to know why you need to know all this information.

As of right now, Instagram is the single biggest reselling platform online. People can buy and sell with a few simple messages and skip out on the big company fees. It’s truly a great thing for reselling, but it has its dangers.

There are no authentication services for Instagram reselling, and that means you genuinely have no idea what could be in a package being shipped to you.

People find all kinds of ways to scam and cheat you out of any amount of money possible. Here are some things that you should look out for and be weary of:

  • Asking for money before shipment – This is a tough one because when you are selling or buying on Instagram, there is no safe place to keep the money. On StockX or GOAT, they hold the money and pay the seller directly, so it’s 100% safe.
  • Asking for money to be gifted – When money is sent through PayPal gifted, someone cannot charge back if they did not receive the item or did not receive the correct item. We recommend always sending money with buyer protection.
  • Refusing to send photos with authentication – One thing you can do to make sure the seller actually has a pair of shoes is to ask them to send a photo with a piece of paper with today’s date or something obscure on the paper. This will ensure that the sneakers are actually in the possession of the seller but won’t tell you if they are fake or not.
  • Refusing to send photos in good light – If a seller is getting annoyed by you asking for higher quality photos, this could be a tell that they are selling fake sneakers. They do not want you to see the sneakers up close because there could be obvious signs that they are dealing with replica sneakers.

What if You Unknowingly Sell Fake Sneakers?

This is a tough question to answer, and it really comes down to you and your buyer. Obviously, it’s illegal to knowingly sell fake sneakers, but the line gets blurry when you truly had no idea.

It’s going to be incredibly tough to convince your buyer that you didn’t know, but at the end of the day, it’s your fault. The responsibility is on you to legit check every pair you send out.

PayPal will not side with you and will instead say that the person who bought the fake sneakers under the assumption that they were real is deserving of a refund.

This is obviously a tough situation and one that we hope nobody has to deal with, but one that is very possible to occur. The best advice we can give is to ensure that every pair you send out meets the qualifications.

Look up YouTube videos and photos, find people with the actual sneaker, and look at every inch of the sneaker. You are only doing yourself a favor if you find anything irregular.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to sell fake sneakers?

In the U.S., it’s illegal for a person to sell counterfeit merchandise. Both state and federal laws prohibit this type of conduct. If you knowingly sell or intend to sell a fake item, you could be sentenced to years in prison and/or be ordered to pay steep fines.

Why do people wear fake shoes?

One of the biggest reasons shoppers turn to fakes shoes or any designer goods is to save money. Designer brands can set you back hundreds, if not thousands, for a single pair of shoes.

Is Goat a legit website?

One of the most popular and trusted websites by sneakerheads is GOAT. In a Business Insider report, GOAT is named the world’s largest marketplace for high-end sneakers and was valued at $3.7 billion in the company’s latest funding round in 2021.

Are fake shoes comfortable?

Counterfeit shoes are often uncomfortable and have caused injuries due to the materials they are made from. Part of the reason why designer brands are more expensive is that they are made to last with the highest quality of materials.

Is StockX second hand?

Shoes sold on StockX are considered deadstock, which means that they’re authentic, new, and unworn at the time of sale. Deadstock sneakers are also sold with the original box including the box lid and the box label indicating the shoe size, as would be acceptable for sale at a retail location.

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Jimmy McPherson

Jimmy McPherson

Jimmy is the former founder of Midwest Soles, a sneaker and streetwear reselling company. He's a current business student with a continued passion for sneakers and sneaker reselling.


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