How to Spot Fake Air Jordans
Air Jordans Counterfeit vs. Real
You can find fake Nike shoes in stores all around the world. A counterfeiting ring smuggled thousands of counterfeit Nike Air Jordan sneakers into New York and New Jersey! Five people are each expected to receive 20 years in prison for trafficking copy Air Jordans.
Today we have two pairs of the Air Jordan 1 and we will have a good look at the small details that tell the big story of counterfeit Nikes. We will study the real Air Jordan shoe purchased directly from Nike and the counterfeit shoe imported from South China. You will learn how to tell if a Nike shoe is real or fake. The secret is…quality shoemaking.
The price is right?
When shopping for real Nike shoes you should expect to pay real Nike prices. If you find a rare Air Jordan or a unique color at a price that is too good to be true… then it IS too good to be true. Low prices and beat up boxes are your first clue that you have a fake, counterfeit, or illegally smuggled-in B-grade Nike shoe.
Make any mail-order or E-Bay purchases with trusted retailers. Remember, slightly used does not mean the shoes were real Nikes to start with.
Air Jordon wings logo:
Studying the real Air Jordan and the fake Air Jordan side-by-side, you can see the factory making copies did a nice job on the logo. The artwork on the fake shoe is correct but the real Jordan 1 logo is embossed a little deeper into the leather. In this case, it’s hard to tell the difference until you look at the pattern of the cut parts. The real Nike does not have any stitching guides to help the stitchers locate the panels during assembly. The red logo panel of the fake Nike is loaded with these little assembly guides. These assembly guides are not a sign of poor shoemaking. These marks are very common, just not on the real Air Jordan.
The Jordan 1 heel strap stitching:
The Air Jordan 1 has a tiny heel tab that covers the back seams of the quarter panel and the Swoosh. You can see the back tab on the real (grey) Nike has two stitch lines as the quarter top lines cross over. Also, the black thread contrasts with the grey leather. On the fake Jordan 1, a single stitch line crosses the tab and they used black thread on black leather. The stitching on the fake matches the leather instead of contrasting with the leather. Again this detail is not an indication of low-quality shoemaking, it is just not how the original was made.
You can also see the centering guides on the red leather parts of the fake Jordan 1. The original Jordan does not show any assembly guides.
The Jordan 1 outsole logo:
If you look closely at the Nike logo on the outsole you can see the fake artwork is wrong. The width of the letters is too narrow. Another obvious mistake is that the “K” of the fake Nike logo is not touching the tail of the Swoosh. Additionally, when you look closely at the tread patterns you can see the fake (red) tread has glossy spaces between the tread features where the grey does not.
The Jordan 1 tongue logo:
Next, get a good look at the woven label attached to the tongue top. The fake Jordan is missing the registered trademark circle “R”. I know it’s strange, but Nike likes to have the circle “R” twice on the woven label. On the back side of the woven logo label (below), you will see the trademark information in English and French. The fake has the wrong lettering style and the tag is stitched on crooked. Crooked parts are a sure sign of poor shoemaking.
The Jumpman size tag
Inside the shoe, you will see the size label with the Jordan Jumpman logo (above). The fake shoe has the tag welded to the back of the tongue. On the real Jordan 1, the tag is sewn down on the inside.
The Jordan 1 tongue lace keeper:
The lace keeper is a small point but a dead giveaway when looking for fakes. The real Nike shoe has simple cuts in the tongue fabric to act as the lace keeper. This construction looks pretty low rent for a $120 basketball shoe but this is how the original was made. The counterfeit Nike has a small piece of fabric added as the lace keeper.
See inside More Air Jordan & Nike Shoes
In our book the Shoe Material Design Guide you can see the inside of these Nike classic kicks and modern models. We have carefully cut into a fresh pair so you can see every part. We label every part so you can see exactly what Nike puts inside. You can see for yourself the difference between fake Nike shoe and a real one.
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