How can I tell if my Vans are fake?

Legit Check: Vans Old Skool
Counterfeit vs. Real 

How do you know if vans are fake?Does zumiez sell real vans?
See inside authentic and counterfeit Vans sneakers.

10 ways spot fake Vans Sneakers

How do you know if Vans are fake? Today we have two pairs of Vans Old Skool sneakers: a real pair of Vans shoes purchased directly from the Vans Outlet and a counterfeit pair imported from South China. We will examine the small details that show the big story of counterfeit Vans, and you will learn how to tell if a Vans shoe is real or fake. The secret to a Vans sneaker authentification check is in the quality of the shoemaking and the vulcanized construction.

Is the price right?

When shopping for authentic Vans shoes you should expect to pay real Vans prices. If you find Vans 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, copy, cloned, counterfeit or illegally smuggled-in B-grade Vans shoes.

Make any mail-order or E-Bay purchases from trusted retailers. Remember, slightly used does not mean the shoes were real Vans to start with.

Legit Check Your Vans Sneakers: What to look for?

Is the Vans stripe real or fake?

The first thing to look at is the sole stripe. The stripe on the rubber foxing tape is a trademark styling cue for the Vans classic. Study the stripe carefully; the authentic Vans shoe stripe is molded-in color. Vans makes the stripe with solid colored rubber that has clean and straight edges. The fake Vans have a painted stripe. You can see the paint job here is not perfect, and you can even see a dab of paint slopped onto the toe foxing.

Real Vans outsole foxing tape.

You can see where the toe tip rubber part is attached to the shoe on the authentic pair of Vans. Meanwhile, the counterfeit Vans sole has a very different surface texture, and the toe foxing is molded directly to the sole unit. This is very suspicious! This outsole may not have been made by vulcanization. On the real Vans shoe, you can see the tiny gap where these two parts come together. The authentic Vans toe tip is glued on, NOT molded together as one piece like the counterfeit Vans shoe.

Counterfeit Vans upper construction

Let’s have a look at the real and the fake Vans upper details. Look at the back edge of the vamp where the shoelaces attach; you can see the counterfeit Vans has alignment nibs to help the workers assemble the shoe. These are not necessarily a bad thing, but the real Vans old Skool does not have them. 

Look below here; you can see the white “Jazz Stripe” on the fake shoe has the same “nibs.” The real Vans side stripe is free of these ugly notches. Now, look just below the stripe; you can see the real Vans shoe has a kink in the accent stitching line while the fake Vans shoe has a smooth curve in the stitching line.

Looking at the heel view, you can see the real Vans has a smooth topline while the fake shoe has a central peak. You can also see more “nibs” on the fake red shoe’s heel counter from the side view.

The toe profile of the real Vans skate shoe is very low. The vamp runs flat. The copy Vans shoe has a rounded toe.

The authentic Vans waffle outsole

Vans makes outsoles with three layers of rubber foxing tape glued together. While the fake Vans in red may look cleaner, it’s not correct. The real Vans rubber outsole shows how the layers of rubber foxing tape come together in a bulging pileup of overlapping parts. While this may look like poor shoemaking, it is authentic to Vans sneakers.

Is this Vans outsole a fake?

Now it’s time to look at the distinctive Vans waffle bottom sole. First you should look for the secret country code. Vans makes shoes is several countries including China, Vietnam and in South America. Vans may my also use more than one factory in each country. The real Vans shoes will have a letter code in hidden in the diamond pattern. In this Case the fake sneaker does have the code. But looking at the sole closely you can see several other problems with the fake sole.

The fake sole has rubber color bleeding between the white and gum rubber. The real sole will have a clean crisp edge. You can also see the fake sole has a strange straight line alone the edge of the gum rubber perimeter. Finally on the fake sole you can see the bottom area of the waffle sole is not flat. The fake vans shoes has a cheap mold made quality and not to high quality standards, poor workmanship is typical of mold used to make fake shoes.

Look inside authentic Vans shoes

It is time to start cutting! Looking inside the real and fake Vans, you can see some huge problems! The counterfeit Vans are not made by the vulcanization process. The counterfeit Vans outsole is a one-piece rubber cupsole. The factory producing the copy Vans shoe is using the cold cement assembly process. The real Vans waffle sole is made from several assembled parts that have been bonded by vulcanization. (You can read about vulcanization here and in our book How Shoes Are Made.)

In this cutaway section of the Vans shoes, you see blue and grey sponge rubber inside the real Vans shoe. Inside the fake Vans, you see a green lasting board, white Strobel layer, and EVA footbed. Wrong!

Inside the heels of the shoes, you can see the fake shoe is made by Strobel construction. This process is not bad; it’s just not how Vans classics are made! You don’t have to cut open your shoes to check this feature – The real vans shoe will have the footbed glued in securely. The counterfeit Vans may have a removable EVA footbed. In this case, a flat, die-cut piece of EVA.

You can learn more about counterfeit Vans shoes here:
The Counterfeit Report: Vans Shoes

See inside more sneakers

Shoe Material Design Guide

In our book, the Shoe Material Design Guide, you can see the inside of these Vans Classics 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 Vans puts inside. You can see for yourself the difference between copy Vans shoes and real ones.
Download Now! Read Today!  

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