For sneakerheads, terms like authentic, unauthorized authentic, fakes, and knockoffs are prevalent. You may or may not be familiar with B grades and factory variants as well but all these terms are similar in some way with some distinctions.

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Authentic and Unauthorized Authentic

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Unauthorized Authentic Nike Jordans
Unauthorized Authentic Nike Jordans

Can’t tell the difference right? Well, it’s hard to distinguish between Authentic and Unauthorized pairs of sneakers because they are really not that different and we will discuss why.


Authentic pairs of sneakers are the easiest to define. Nike for example will develop legitimate designs and use official mediums to market its product. You’ll know the product is authentic because Nike uses approved and legit retail channels which means the sneaker you’re purchasing from them is fully genuine and has passed the quality test.

Unauthorized (UA) or Factory Variant

Major companies give contracts to multiple factories to create shoes for them. Usually, if their demand is 40,000 they will order another 20,000-30,000 in case they don’t make the cut while going through quality control. This could happen because of multiple reasons like crooked stitching or material damage and many other things.

This tells us that Unauthorized (UA) variants of sneakers are usually made in the same factory with the same materials by the same workers but somehow they are not available for sale because of some defects or the company didn’t need them anymore because their quota was fulfilled from another factory.

So, UA variants are actually originals with some defects and minor changes. If you’re not able to purchase the Air Jordan 1 because they are too costly on the aftermarket you can simply go for the Unauthorized version.

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Unauthorized Authentic Nike Jordans

If you’re not willing to pay thousands of dollars for your favorite sneaker you can always opt for the Unauthorized authentic route. This way you’ll manage to get something that was is extremely close to the original version with some minor changes that won’t even be visible unless you compare it with the original.

Air Jordan 1 “Off White” for example is going for $5000+ on StockX and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to spend this much on a sneaker that you’re not going to wear and keep it as a showpiece because of course, you spent $5k on it.

As shown in the picture above you can easily get an Air Jordan 1 “Off White” UA for $160 and maybe even cheaper on other sites. This way you’ll have something that is very close to the original without breaking the bank.

Where To Buy UA Jordans
Where To Buy UA Jordans

Where To Buy UA Jordans?

It is incredibly easy to copy sneakers and manufacture false replicas in today’s period therefore you might have a tough time differentiating if they are fake copies or UA. Therefore, only buy UA sneakers from trusted sellers.

You can check out some of the websites listed below:

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Make sure you do some research before purchasing UA sneakers from any website. Also, to keep it fair for everyone DON’T SELL unauthorized authentic versions of your sneakers as originals on the internet.

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Sarim A

Thanks to sports, Sarim's love for sneakers began and has grown ever since. He's been part of the sneaker culture for many years, seeing it evolve and grow more serious over time. A particular favorite pair of sneakers for him is the Air Jordan 3 'White Cement'


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