Nike Air Max 90: Counterfeit vs. Real
How can you tell if your Nike Air Max 90 shoes are real or fake? We are going to study two pairs of the classic style Air Max 90. One pair is real and made by Nike, the other is a Nike Air Max 90 counterfeit: 100% fake. How can you spot the fake Air Max? What are some of the differences in the real shoe vs. the fake shoe?
Let’s check out a Nike Air Max 90 Counterfeit
#1. Check out the shoe bottom.
The outsole on the red pair of Air Max ’90s is made of rubber while the blue pair’s outsole is made of PU foam that has been painted! I also noticed the blue sneaker weighs much less than the red Nike sneaker. Look closely, the blue shoe is even missing the “Nike” logo. The blue must be the Nike Air Max 90 counterfeit!
That was just too easy!
Fakes are made by many fraudulent companies, some are better imitators than others. Let’s look at a few other construction details that will help you tell the difference between the original Nike and the counterfeit Air Max 90.
#2. Examine the tongue logo.
Our real shoe has the “Nike+Swoosh” label sewn down on all four sides. The fake is turned and stitched into the tongue seam. While this is a nicer way to attach the tongue logo, it’s off from the original Nike construction. Take another look at the artwork. On the real patch, the tail of the swoosh overlaps the “E” of Nike and the head of the swoosh almost touches the “N”. Notice the fake label has the “Air” logo twice.
Fake Nike shoes will have the circle “R” mark on them so that is no evidence the shoe is real or fake. There is nothing to stop the fake shoe factory from adding the “™” logo also.
#3. Check out the heel logo.
On our fake Air Max 90, the stitching groove interferes with the “A” and the “R” of the Nike Air logo. Also, the counterfeit shoe “Air” logo is missing the molded ribs below the letters. Additionally, the top shape of the OG Nike patch has a significant dip in the middle.
#4. Let’s examine the side “AIR MAX” logo.
Our counterfeit Nike has a two-tone logo, while the real deal Nike has a single color. When you feel the logo, the OG Nike Air Max logo is made of stiff plastic, due to its location on the shoe being just above the outsole. The fake logo is a softer material that was distorted during the shoe assembly process. The original logo is made by plastic injection in comparison to the soft PVC logo on the fake shoe.
#5. Check out the paint around the airbag in the heel. While the Air Max original paintwork isn’t perfect, the fake Nike paintwork is a mess with paint outside the lines.
#6. Look inside at the footbed. The original Nike shoe has a 3D compression molded EVA footbed with the outsole design pattern and printed logo. The counterfeit Air Max 90 has a super cheap die-cut foam sheet.
Let’s look inside a Nike Air Max 90 Counterfeit
Some of you may be saddened by this next step, this is when we get out the knives and take a look inside the real Nike vs. the counterfeit Nike Air Max 90. This is a good time to look at the Bar code and SKU numbers. Every pair of real Nike shoes has an SKU (SKU (pronounced “skew”), short for Stock Keeping Number) that is identical to the SKU number on their box. If the numbers are missing or do not match, you may have a fake shoe. Check the tongue label. Often, the counterfeiting shoe factory will put outdated sizing labels on the inside of the shoe.
#7. Let’s feel the tongue of the shoe. Inside the OG Nike, you find an extra layer of foam that’s missing from the fake shoe.
#9. Let’s compare the midsole construction of the two shoes.
The real Nike midsole is made of supple, solid, but flexible PU foam. The fake Nike is cored out to save material and allow the cheap, stiff PU to bend. Look at the Strobel bottoms. The official Nike Strobel sock is well bonded to the midsole while the fake is barely glued at all!
#10. While we are looking at the midsole, let’s examine the airbag. The OG Nike shoe has a thin film blow molded airbag with 3 cells. The fake Nike has a thicker walled, stiffer airbag. Notice the different colors of the airbag materials. Nike uses a special formula to help hold the air in, which creates a yellow tint. The fake is made of clear PVC plastic.
#11. Now, peel back the lining to reveal a few more differences between the real and fake shoe. While both shoes use a similar plastic infused paperboard for the heel counter, you can see the fake one does not fit well and the edges have not been skived down. Look at the midsole heel of the fake – what a mess!
#12. Look at the toe tip area inside the shoe.
The fake shoe was not carefully made and the toe lasting operation has left a junk show inside. Look at the spacing of the Strobel stitches that hold the upper to the bottom. The original Nike shoe has even, closely spaced stitches, while the copy has loose, uneven, and widely spaced stitches.
Do your research
In this case, our Nike Air Max 90 counterfeit is really a rotten shoe, you can see that not only are the design details of the fake incorrect, the internal construction is really terrible. So, while the fake shoe may look pretty good on the outside, the inside is a horror show of low-quality shoemaking.
When shopping for shoes, especially classic Nike sneakers, do your research. If the price looks too good to be true, or the store looks suspect, then you may be looking at counterfeit shoes.
Nike Air Jordan Counterfeit vs. Real
Next, we have two pairs of the Air Jordan 1 and are going to spend time dissecting and researching what is behind the real Nike model, to contrast with a fake shoe imported from Southern China. This fake is of much higher quality than the Air Max 90 we found here, and can be used to teach about many more aspects of well designed Nike shoes that can be looked for to spot the difference between real and fake shoes.