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How to Spot Fake Nikes

Nike shoes are among the most popular products in the world, meaning they’re a prime target for counterfeiters. If you aren’t careful when making a purchase, you might wind up with a pair of fake sneakers instead of real ones. Thankfully, there are a number of tell-tale signs you can look for to prevent yourself from getting scammed.

Method One of Two:
Buying Nike Shoes Online
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  1. 1
    Investigate Nike shoes sellers on the Internet. Be extremely cautious when purchasing Nike shoes on the Internet. Since you don’t actually have the physical product in front of you, you can very easily be throwing money at a fake shoe. To avoid purchasing a fake:
    • Read website ratings and reviews before buying anything. [1] Bad reviews is an obvious sign that the seller is not reliable or reputable. However, be careful because some sites will choose to only show “good” reviews. Do a third party search by inputting the seller in a third party search site and examining their reputation there instead of on the seller’s site.
    • Ensure you are protected from fraud. Some online websites provide their customers with a return policy, even if the seller is a third party of the site. Having security that you will get your money back will protect you losing if you do happen to purchase fake Nike shoes.
  2. 2
    Avoid sellers that substitute stock shoe photos for pictures of actual Nike shoes. A stock shoe photo is more aesthetically appealing but it’s not what you should be looking for when purchasing shoes online. A photo that is obviously shot within a home ensures that the pair actually exists and its condition can be matched with the photo.
    • You could try to contact the seller and ask them to take another photo of the shoe with an item that determines the date or authenticity of the photo. For example, ask the seller to take a photo of the shoe next to today’s newspaper.
  3. 3
    Avoid items that claim to be "custom," "variant" or "sample" Nike shoes. True Nike shoe samples only come in men's U.S. size 9, 10, 11, women's 7 and children's 3.5. There are also no such real Nike shoes that are “custom” or “variant”.
    • View the seller's entire inventory. For unknown reasons, counterfeiters tend not to sell U.S. sizes 9 or 13 and above.
    • Older Nike shoes that are out of production are almost never available in a full sizing run. For example, if you're searching for a pair of vintage Nikes and find a site that has a stock of 200, they are likely fakes.
  4. 4
    Avoid Nike shoes priced far below their normal value. The shoe is either fake or extremely damaged.
    • Generally, a Nike shoe that is priced in half is most likely fake. A reasonable discount is more realistic, especially if the shoe is a limited edition or vintage.
    • A seller might price it extremely high and offer you the chance to haggle to a ridiculously low price. Be careful, especially since you don’t have the physical shoe to verify its state and existence.
    • Check the shipping estimation. If it will take between 7 and 14 days to deliver your shoes, they are likely traveling from China (a verified source of fake Nike shoes) or from another distant country.
    • If you must order Nikes online, it's best to purchase them directly from the company's website or from the list of authorized [Nike retailers.]
  5. 5
    Don’t buy shoes that are available before the official release date. It is almost guaranteed that any shoe available before the official release date will be a counterfeit.
    • These shoes may look like an upcoming design but are most likely modelled very closely to look like it. Early release photos allow counterfeits to be produced without originals to be compared with and many people fall into the trap of attempting to get their hands on a pair before everyone else.
  6. 6
    Verify your Nike shoes. Once you find shoes you like, take more steps to verify their authenticity.
    • Double check with Nike or a trusted retailer's website to compare them with an image of the original shoe.
    • Ask the seller to verify that the shoes are authentic. You can also ask for their supplier's contact information for further information.
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Method Two of Two:
Spot Fake Nike Shoes Physically
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  1. 1
    Examine the packaging. Most fake Nike shoes do not come in an original Nike box. Instead, they are shrink-wrapped in clear plastic or don’t come in a box at all.
    • Most of the boxes for fake Nikes are hastily glued together and therefore not as sturdy as true Nike boxes.
  2. 2
    Examine the condition of the shoes. If you have owned similar Nike shoes in the past, compare them to your new shoes. If the two pairs significantly differ in quality, your new shoes are likely fake and may fall apart within the first several days of use.
    • Real Nikes are always softer and grayer than fake ones. This is because they are made from real leather, while fake Nikes are manufactured from pleather.
    • The midsoles of fake Nike shoes tend to have visible dots from the manufacturing process, unlike real Nikes.
    • Check the lacing. Real Nike shoes are usually fully laced, while fakes tend to skip every other lacing hole.
  3. 3
    Examine the SKU number on the box and the labels inside of the shoes. Every pair of authentic Nike shoes comes with an SKU number that is identical to the SKU number on their box. If the numbers are missing or do not match, they are likely fakes.
    • Check the tongue label. Often, fake Nike manufacturers put outdated sizing labels on the inside of the shoe. For example, a fake label may tell you the shoe was designed in 2008 when in fact Nike first manufactured that item in 2010.
  4. 4
    Try the shoes on. The soles of most fake Nike sneakers feel plastic-y and don't have much traction, while real Nike shoes have BRS 1000 rubber soles.
    • Most fake Nike sneakers do not fit true to size. They generally are 1/2 size smaller and significantly narrower than real Nikes. Try the same Nike shoe in a trusted retailer to get an accurate reading of how it feels.
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Community Q&A

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  • Where are Nike shoes manufactured? If the tag says "made in China" are the shoes fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No. The vast majority of real Nike shoes are made in factories in China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. The tag is only one indicator; check for the others as explained in the article.
    Thanks! 198 60
  • My Nikes say they are manufactured in India. Does that mean they are fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No, India actually has a lot of places that manufacture all types of Nike products.
    Thanks! 67 19
  • If the shoes are made in Vietnam, does this mean that they are fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No, they are not necessarily fake, since Nike makes some shoes in Vietnam. Check other identifying features before assuming the worst.
    Thanks! 129 47
  • Can the tongue of a Nike shoe indicate if it is real or fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, examine the symbol on the tongue for the symbol. If it is not lined up with the middle, it is likely a fake.
    Thanks! 83 28
  • Could I tell a fake by the swoosh?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, some swooshes are different color than the original shoe or some are even off balance.
    Thanks! 13 2
  • Are all Nike shoes sold in orange boxes?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Most of them are, but there are various special products that ship in boxes with other colors and designs, including green, black, and pink.
    Thanks! 98 36
  • Do real Nikes have a triangle at the end of the check?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No, Nike shoes should not have a triangle at the end. If you spot that, they are most likely fake.
    Thanks! 87 34
  • If the label that is supposed to be on the tongue is not on the tongue but more towards the side, is the shoe fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No, many shoes that are special (exp. Lebrons kyries and others) have it on the side.
    Thanks! 41 16
  • If you can visibly see glue where the trainer has been put together, is it likely to be a fake?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Not necessarily. Sometimes authentic Nikes have some minor flaws. If the material quality is poor and branded as new they're probably fake
    Thanks! 36 14
  • Do Nike shoes have their name on the shoes, or only the logo?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Mostly the logo, but sometimes both.
    Thanks! 43 21
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Quick Summary

When shopping for Nike shoes online, check a seller’s ratings and reviews before committing to a purchase. Be wary of listings that use stock images instead of original photos, and stay away from any sellers that advertise “custom,” “variant,” or “sample” Nikes. Avoid shoes listed at half-price or lower since they are usually fake, especially if they ship out of a distant country like China. When in doubt, ask for additional pictures so you can compare them with official photos from Nike.

TipsEdit

  • Report stores or retailers selling fake Nikes by emailing Nike. This will help others from purchasing fake Nikes in the future.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Ask Nikes store staff to help you verify that whether a shoe is authentic or not. Unfortunately, Nike is not responsible for shoes sold by third party retailers or unauthorized retailers and will not be able to issue you a refund or compensation.
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About This Article

106 votes - 81%
Co-authors: 24
Updated:
Views: 1,222,525
Categories: Shoes

Reader Success Stories

  • A

    Anonymous

    Jan 29

    "Well edited, everything in detail! "
  • MF

    Marlene Franci

    Dec 22, 2017

    "Great information on wikiHow. I go to it for everything!"
  • A

    Anonymous

    Feb 15, 2017

    "My grandparent went to Thailand to get a pair of Nike Yeezys for me, and she wouldn't have a clue about fakes or real authentic shoes. I recommend trying to edit the post in looking for the well known real shoe and brand signed by that celebrity."..." more
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    Nicholas Molano

    Jan 31, 2017

    "Thank you so much for this information! This is the only informational website there is and I used it for my research for school. And don't worry, I didn't plagiarize. I also left a link next to my essay. Thank you."..." more
  • HL

    H.J. Longan

    Jun 6, 2016

    "Great information! This article offers several ways to spot fake Nikes. It makes it easy to avoid getting fakes by accident when buying online. Remember— if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Sep 5, 2016

    "It's a really helpful article, and what I most liked was that I could see people's questions and your response to them. I also liked that when I finished the article there are more related ones."..." more
  • CL

    Cindy Lassing

    Mar 20, 2016

    "My son bought a pair of Nike Cleats online. They took forever to come and came from China. They weren't even the shoes he ordered, and your tips helped indicate they are fake."..." more
  • VK

    Vagelis Karagiannis

    Jun 1, 2017

    "I had to authenticate the fact that the shoes I purchased online were truly original and not fake. Every method in the article was valid and helped me a lot."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • Chritstiane Kylle Caligner

    Jul 30, 2017

    "It helps to see an original and fake one that I should by, so thanks for your advice and I appreciate it. It helps me a lot, thanks."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • A

    Anonymous

    Dec 1, 2016

    "I bought a pair if Nikes the other day. Just wanted to make sure they are authentic. Thanks to this article, I think they are."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Aug 27, 2016

    "Everything I needed to know. I just brought Nike shoes, a white pair, and I wanted to know if they're fake."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Nov 27, 2016

    "Very good info! Must read for those buying Nike shoes for the first time."
  • TS

    T. Seledon

    Aug 10, 2017

    "I'll check the SKU number on the box and the labels inside of the shoes."
  • knom entino

    Jul 9, 2017

    "It erased the tension in my mind. Thank you very much."
    Rated this article:
  • MM

    Matt Murphy

    Jun 25, 2017

    "Helped me spot fake Nike shoes purchased on eBay."
    Rated this article:
  • A

    Anonymous

    Aug 6, 2016

    "Article helped me to find original shoes."
  • AS

    Angelina Smith

    Aug 27, 2016

    "Great article and very helpful. Thanks."
  • GR

    Giridhar Raj

    May 11, 2017

    "This helped a lot while buying shoes. "
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 25, 2016

    "I don't like fake stuff, so thank you."
  • S

    Shobhitha

    Apr 12, 2017

    "Spotting it physically helped me."
  • JD

    Justin D'souza

    Aug 1, 2017

    "It has helped me do my project."
    Rated this article:
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    Mbatshi MacDee

    May 5, 2016

    "The steps were very clear."
  • JX

    Jnx X.

    May 30, 2017

    "Goes down to details."
    Rated this article:
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