The more the sneaker industry changes, the more it stays the same. New competitors keep appearing, but Air Jordans still reign supreme.
However, this kind of popularity is a double-edged sword. Since everyone wants in on the action, the demand for Jordans far outstrips the supply. As a result, many factories around the world are counterfeiting them.
Over the years, the quality of these knock-offs has come a long way. Certain manufacturers can produce sneakers almost identical to the real thing. If you don’t know how to tell if Jordans are real, you could end up scammed.
Fortunately, these replica sneakers still have some telltale signs that can help you identify them. Here are the main things you should look out for.
Real Jordans are gorgeously packaged sneakers. Before you even look at the shoes themselves, the box will tell you quite a bit.
First, the box should be sturdy and have a tight-fitting lid. The Jumpman logo should appear on the lid and one side of the box. The texture of the box should be uniform, and the finish quality smooth and consistent.
The colors on the box should also be uniform, with no areas of fading. The colors themselves will vary depending on the type of Jordans. Run an image search to find out what your particular box should look like.
All Air Jordan boxes will have a manufacturing sticker on the side. That’s another good way to spot real Jordans—if you know what to look for.
For starters, all the information on the sticker needs to be accurate. That includes the name, size, color combination, and country of manufacture. The font should be consistent, and the words must be properly spelled.
The sticker should also contain a style number, which is nine digits long. Make sure that this number matches the official style number of your shoes. You can find this information on the official Nike website.
Once you’re done with the box, it’s time to check the sneakers themselves. Start with the Jumpman logo, which you’ll find at the back of the shoe.
The logo should look crisp and uncompromised. The details of the ball, hands, and feet should all be clear and distinct. If you’re not sure what the logo should look like, check online to confirm the proper proportions.
Some Jordans will also have the Jumpman logo under the tongue. While you’re there, look for the words “greatest player ever.” All authentic Jordans will have these specific words embroidered in this place.
The shoelace tabs all need to be the same shape. They should also be at the same distance from one another.
These tabs should be all attached firmly, with the same degree of tension. On fake Jordans, some shoelace tabs will often be looser than others. Small differences in size are fine, but all tabs should be parallel.
The inside of your shoe will have a small sneaker tag. All the information listed on the manufacturing sticker needs to be on this tag as well.
Again, look for telling details such as spelling errors or strange fonts. Pay particular attention to the nine-digit style number. The stitching on the tag should also be neat and straight.
Another detail you may notice is the letter “Q”. If your tag contains this letter (such as in the word “Fabrique”), look at how it’s written. On real Jordans, the tail of the Q will always start inside of the circle.
Unique colorways are some of the most common indicators of fake Jordans. Oftentimes, the colorway will look outrageous and tasteless.
That’s why it’s always worth researching the Jordans you want to buy. Again, Nike’s official site is the best place to find authentic colorways. There are some special edition colorways as well, so keep an eye out for them.
The original patent leather around the shoe has two rows of stitching. These rows should be even and smooth.
On replicas, the patent leather can be either much lower or much higher than on the real Jordans. In some cases, the patent leather contrast may seem glued on. You may even be able to find some glue residue at the edges.
The patent leather arch at the back of the heel should be high and smooth. On many fakes, the curve of this arch will be flatter and lower. All patent leather should match the contour of the sneaker with no gaps.
Low Price Point
If you’re buying Jordans online, don’t trust the low prices. As the old saying goes, if a deal seems too good to be true, chances are it is.
As a general rule, you won’t find any types of Jordans under $100. Most of these shoes sell out right away, so the seller has no reason to drop the prices. If you want a limited edition, expect to pay upwards of $250.
If you do find a good deal, make sure that the seller is authentic. Any good sneaker website will have a guarantee of 100% authenticity. If you don’t find this assurance, find another seller.
Finally, avoid online purchases that provide incomplete information. You want to see multiple pictures in decent size and resolution.
If you don’t see a clear picture of the sneaker tag, contact the seller to request one. If you don’t get it, it’s best to look elsewhere. Stock photos and unclear descriptions are other red flags to watch out for.
This Is How to Tell if Jordans Are Real
The bottom line: there are plenty of ways to spot the real Jordans from fake ones. As long as you follow this guide, you should be safe!
Of course, even the best guide can’t replace human intuition. Even if you know how to tell if Jordans are real, some sales may still seem shady. In these cases, it’s better to trust your gut and buy from someone else.
Want to know which Air Jordans are the right fit for your style and needs? Keep reading our sneaker-related content!