Sneakers are an expensive hobby. There’s no doubt about that. Getting a fresh new pair can be a euphoric feeling, especially when it’s something that’s hard to find on the market. As exciting as the joy can be, it really sucks to find out that what you’ve got is actually not the real deal. If you’ve ever been in this boat, or you’re trying to find a way to avoid being a victim of fake sneakers, here are some good tips to follow in order to avoid copping a pair of counterfeits.
Fake Sneaker Packaging
If you receive a new pair of shoes, the suspicion should begin with the package. The box can be an underrated way to determine the authenticity of your new kicks. If you notice any signs of damage at first glance, it will be wise to investigate it further.
Be glad though, the shoes arriving in a box is still a good sign, but if your sneakers ever arrive wrapped in a plastic bag or a few pieces of paper, your suspicion radar should be on high alert. Sure, some stores deliver shoes without the box, but in these cases, they make it aware before the order, and it’s up to you to decide if you trust that store.
In most cases, fake sneakers come in fake packaging too. And most times it’s easier to spot the fake packaging than it is to spot the fake sneakers.
Counterfeit sneakers are never able to properly imitate the surface of specific materials. With close examination, you’ll notice that the roughness of the leather has some noticeable roughness to it, meaning that it can be prone to cracking.
Fake Sneakers Seam Quality
It’s usually easy to spot fake sneakers by looking at the seam quality.
The threading on a pair of original sneakers is usually very consistent and precise. On the seams, you should observe the distance between each of the individual holes as well as the thread structure and quality. Imperfect seams being present even before you’ve worn the shoe can cause some doubts.
Anything that is alarmingly obvious should ring your suspicions, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule, as even real pairs can have some minor defects in the manufacturing process. Buying from a store with a good return policy and warranty is always advisable because if you ever notice something that is bothersome, you can return it with a warranty claim.
Fake Sneaker Odour
This is probably the easiest way to detect fake sneakers. It sounds odd at first, but the eyes can be easily misled. With the nose, you can’t fake a smell so easily.
The materials used by brands are very specific, and the smell of a legit pair is distinct from a fake one. If you’ve been collecting sneakers for a long time, you probably have a sense of what fresh legit pairs should smell like. Cheaper substitutes use materials with a much worse quality, therefore, they can be logically recognised by their more pungent smell.
If you don’t trust your own judgement, it’s good to visit a sneaker specialist friend or brick-and-mortar sneaker shop to be extra sure.
Fake Sneaker Price
Last but not least, if all else fails to ring your alarm bells, you should enter the sneaker game with a mantra, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Keep that in mind alongside the other tips here, and you should be well on your way to having a fully legit sneaker collection.
Have you purchased fake sneakers before?
Many sneaker buyers are being scammed out of their money by fraudsters on social media (some who have thousands of Instagram followers) offering unbelievable discounts. Shockingly, the fake sneakers (including very rare kicks) are selling at half the price of most official local retailers.
It’s best to buy from a reliable source — check website review sites or request to see the product in person.
“The majority of the fraudulent sellers are selling direct to public, via Whatsapp or direct messages on social media. Once you fall victim to this it’s very difficult to get your money back,” Nick Herbert, owner of international sneaker store Shelflife, told Business Insider South Africa. “The most secure way to shop is through a legitimate business with a registered, secure website, and possibly a physical premises.”