How to Spot Fake Air Jordans

How to Spot a Fake Air Jordan
Is this Nike Shoe Real or Fake?

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 were charged with trafficking the copy Air Jordans each receiving 20 years in prison. 

Today we have two pairs of the Air Jordan 1 and we are going 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 to tell is a Nike shoe is real or fake.

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 to good to be true…than it IS too good to be true. Low prices and beat up boxes are your first clue you have have a fake or counterfeit or illegally smuggled B-grade Nike.

Mail order or E-bay sales should be made with only trusted retailers. Remember slightly used does not mean they were real Nikes to start with.

Air Jordon wings logo:

Studying both 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.

Fake Nike Back Tab
Two stitch lines on the grey Nike, that’s the real deal!

The Jordan 1 heel strap stitching:

The Air Jordan 1 has a tiny heel tab the covers 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. On the fake Jordan 1, a single stitch line crosses the tab. On the real shoe, you can see the black thread contrasts the grey leather. On the fake Nike, they used black thread on black leather. The stitching on the fake matches the leather instead of contrasting with the leather.

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.

Sole on Fake NIke shoe
Look at the “K”, if it is not touching it is not real.

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.

Counterfeit nike shoes
Yes, two trademark logos is correct!

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.

The Jumpman size tag

Counterfeit nike shoe
The black tag is the real Nike woven label.

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 will be sewn down on the inside.

Counterfeit nike shoes
The cut lace keeper on the left is legit.

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 how the original was made. The counterfeit Nike has a small piece of fabric added as the lace keeper.

See inside an Air Jordan 

Real or Fake Air Jordans
What’s inside the classic basketball shoes

IN our book the Shoe Material Design Guide you can see the inside of these classic kicks. We have carefully cut in to a fresh pair so you can see every part.    

See a real vs. fake Air Max 90

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