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How to tell if sneakers are fake?


If you’re going to be SERIOUS about being in the "Shoe Game" you must watch out for FAKES, because the market for FAKES is at a all time high. The FAKES market is hurting the "Shoe Game" and there are more FAKES than authentic shoes, so you have to be extremely cautious. Never ever wear or attempt to sell FAKES in the "Shoe Game", and if you’re one of those that say you don’t care then the "Shoe Game" is NOT for you. We’ll try to help those that really want to avoid buying FAKES in this section, and we’ll provide a list of things to watch out for and things to do so you don’t have to experience buying FAKES.

When we say FAKE, we simply mean not an Authentic product!

Signs to look out for when spotting FAKES

1.) Always check the inner tag in shoe that shows the size. Many times the tag has the wrong production year and the font style is off from an authentic tag.

2.) Smell the shoe, we know this may sound weird but the shoe should have a certain smell. The factories where the authentic shoes are made have a smell that you should recognize, and it’s mainly because of the material and glue they use. Basically, it’s like the smell in a new vehicle. It’s distinct, hard to describe, but uniquely REAL...The FAKES are made with a very cheap quality material and you can tell the materials used are not the same as the authentic shoe manufacturers . Keep in mind the smell you get when you buy a fresh pair of shoes from Footlocker, Champs, Finishline, or etc. The smell of the cheap Air Force 1's, Jordans, Bape’s at your local Flea Market or your favorite website that offers all these for $75 will have a totally different smell.

3.) Always look at the tag on the box. On most FAKES the box tag will be too big or labeled in the wrong place. The font size and style will be off (too big or too small). Also, the name of the shoe listed on the box tag may be missing key words. For example, you’re buying a retro Jordan 4, and the box tag reads Air Jordan 4, but notice the word "retro" is missing. The section on the tag that tells the color of the shoe is usually missing words or states the wrong color from the authentic box tag.

These are very important signs to look for, and FAKES are different sometimes so not all of them will have the same signs. This may also be applied to Air Force 1, Dunk SB, Air Max, and other shoes known to have FAKE versions. Although box tags may change over time or may be different on certain shoes they pretty much use the same format. Look for these signs and this should help if you already know what the authentic box tag looks like or if you can compare the authentic tag to the one’s you’re considering buying.

4.) Check the original box, most FAKES boxes will be very thin and have lots of damage. However, just because the box is damaged doesn’t mean the shoes are FAKE. Sometimes FAKES will come in odd color boxes, box with no labeling or box tag, no box at all, box that doesn’t belong to the model for sale (wrong box), or the box is to small for the size (ex. size 12 in a size 9 box). The bigger sizes have wide boxes so there’s room for the shoes to fit properly. The shoes should never have to be forced or bent to fit in the box.

5.) If possible take the shoes to an authorized dealer for a legit check. Also, if you have detailed pictures of the shoes online or a pair you’ve already bought and you want to get a legit check, you can go to or and go to the "Legit Check" post. You will be able to get tons of information from people in the "Shoe Game" that know FAKES with their eyes closed, but before you’re able to post on the forums you must register (it’s FREE).

6.) When buying online get a legit check on the seller or website. If buying on eBay check the sellers feedback and other items for sale. Also, if the seller or website is offering a full size run at a very cheap price way under retail don’t risk it. If they offer bulk orders on any Air Force 1, Air Jordan, Dunk SB, Air Max, Bape and etc DON’T BUY. It’s impossible to get ANY one of those styles all the time, and offer BULK orders. Just think if there were ONLY 150 pairs made, and the seller or website offers bulk orders and they tell you they have 700 pairs in stock. Then do the math and think about it.......they’re FAKES. In most cases the websites have every Air Jordan style in every size for $75-$85. That’s a dead give away right there, and the average Jordan retail price is $110+. Also, some shoes have too much extra or too less. For example, the Air Jordan 3 with the Jordan key chain, this let’s you know right away the Jordans are FAKE. How about the "NIKE AIR" missing on the back, the real 2001 retro pair should have the Nike Air NOT a jumpman.

7.) If you have a bad feeling don’t purchase!!!!!!

8.) When shopping online if the seller or website only takes Money Orders this doesn’t mean the shoes are FAKE. However, if you’re unsure it’s always smarter to pay a seller or website that accepts Paypal or Credit Card Payments. If you’re buying from an eBay seller and they live in your local area they should be willing to do a local meet up.

9.) Variants is another word for FAKE, it just sounds better to the customer.

10.) If the seller or website states that shipping will take 10+ days to ship, this is a nice HINT that the shoes are FAKES, and they don’t have the product in stock. Most of the time the product is being shipped from overseas from a factory where FAKES are made.

A legit seller or website should have the product in stock and the item should be shipped 1-3 business days after it has been paid for, but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER 10 days or more.

11.) You should be able to contact them via e-mail, and get a reply in 1-2 business days.

12.) When shopping on eBay ask the seller for more pictures to prove it’s AUTHENTIC, and it’s always safe to ask them to include their user id and date on a piece of paper in the pictures. You can’t always go by the sellers feedback because some people get FAKE shoes and leave positive feedback just because they don’t know the item is FAKE. Some people honestly don’t care and still leave positive feedback, but always ask any questions if you’re unsure.


If you follow these tips this should help you to determine if the shoes are AUTHENTIC or FAKE. Although if you’re buying the shoes online you never know until the shoes get to your house or business. The seller or website may have pictures of AUTHENTIC shoes as a cover up, but ship you FAKES. This is why it’s so important to get legit checks and listen to that little voice on the inside of you. Those that have the opportunity to see the shoes in person like in a Flea Market, local meet up, or other places. You have the advantage and PLEASE use these tips, and who cares if they look at you like you’re crazy...........bottom line, it’s your money.

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