How to Spot Fake Nike Shoes: 10 Ways to Tell Real Nikes (Video)

When it comes to lifestyle and athletic shoes, Nike is among the leading names in the industry.

The brand’s sporty shoes are not just built with the best support and cushioning technology, but Nike also offers trendy styles, making them an easy choice of casual footwear for fashionistas, athletes and celebrities alike.

Kendall Jenner wearing Nike shoes while shopping in Beverly Hills on December 22, 2015Kendall Jenner wearing Nike shoes while shopping in Beverly Hills on December 22, 2015

Because they’re so popular, Nikes are some of the most counterfeited products in the whole world.

Where to Buy Nike Shoes

To protect your hard-earned money from scammers that sell substandard imitations and cheap knockoffs, it is essential to arm yourself with the proper knowledge.

Buying Nike products from authorized retailers like Zappos and Nordstrom is arguably the simplest way to ensure that you get the real thing.

The five most trusted and popular retailers that sell authentic Nike shoes are:

1. Nike (official site)

2. Amazon

3. Nordstrom (why we think it’s the best shoe store)

4. Foot Locker

5. Zappos

Lucy Hale spotted leaving the gym wearing Nike sneakers in Los Angeles on September 11, 2015Lucy Hale spotted leaving the gym wearing Nike sneakers in Los Angeles on September 11, 2015

Before clicking that purchase button online, read our short guideline below, and learn how to spot fake Nikes:

 1. Check the Seller

Before making the commitment of buying Nike shoes online, the first step is to check the seller or the store you are buying from. Always take time to read feedback and reviews of the online seller if you are not buying from authorized stores.

Nike does not allow other stores to use its trademark in the domain name. For example, the website Nikebetterworld.com was quickly shut down and now redirects to Nike’s official store.

2. Compare the Price

One of the most obvious signs of fake Nikes is an unbelievably low price tag. If the shoes seem ridiculously low-priced, they’re most likely not authentic. However, this does not mean that all discounted Nikes are fakes.

You should be suspicious if the marked down price is less than 50 percent of the original price. Unless you are buying from an authorized Nike store and there’s a clearance sale happening, big markdowns on Nikes are not common. Compare the seller’s price with the posted prices on authorized stores or on the Nike website.

If you want to buy Nike shoes on sale, the best websites to browse are 6pm and Amazon. You need to be particularly careful when buying shoes on eBay.

3. Check the Box

All Nike shoes come in a box that is labeled and tagged properly. The box color and print will differ depending on the style you purchase, but the most common boxes used are orange, brown and red.

The side of the box should display important information including style, size, SKU and/or serial number, and barcode. Counterfeiters try to imitate these boxes but lack the essential prints on the side. Some online sellers ship fake Nikes in plastic bags, without the box.

Kim Kardashian shopping at baby clothing shop 'Eggy' in West Hollywood on February 4, 2015Kim Kardashian shopping at baby clothing shop ‘Eggy’ in West Hollywood on February 4, 2015

 4. Check the Style

To familiarize yourself with the details of the style you are looking for, it is helpful to do a little bit of research first.

Visit the Nike website and browse product photos

Visit the Nike website and browse product photos. Make sure to also check the color combinations available for the specific product you want.

A lot of counterfeiters sell popular Nike sneakers, but the colors and shades are very different from the originals.

5. Check the Uppers

Authentic Nike shoes boast quality design and production. Aside from the high-quality materials, Nike also uses advanced technology to craft shoes that are both stylish and comfortable.

Regardless of the style you purchase, your Nikes should look and feel like good quality shoes. Counterfeit Nikes might look authentic from afar but if you inspect them closely, there will be inconsistencies and flaws in the design. Watch out for uneven stitching, overlapping colors, and stiff uppers.

6. Check the Tongue

The tongue on the upper should display the brand name and the swoosh, sometimes with the style or model name. The inside part of the tongue should have a tag printed with information; including size, country of manufacture and the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) or serial number.

The tongue on the upper should display the brand name and the swoosh
This unique alphanumeric code, typically 9 digits long, should match the number printed on the side of the box. Fake Nikes will usually display random numbers on the tag, but they won’t match the ones on the box.

7. Check the Weight

Fake Nikes do not just look different, they also feel different. Because cheap materials are used to make fake products, these counterfeiters have a hard time imitating the real feel of Nikes.

Most of the time, fakes will feel heavier and more rigid than authentic ones. Authentic Nike shoes should be lightweight so that you do not feel any dragging while moving around in them.

8. Check the Midsoles

The midsoles of authentic Nike training and running shoes are typically glued and not stitched
The midsoles of authentic Nike training and running shoes are typically glued and not stitched. They are made from ultralight advanced foam that provides arch support and cushioning.

On most new models, the brand name — along with the swoosh and sometimes the model name — are also printed on the insoles.

9. Check the Outsoles

The outsoles of authentic Nike shoes provide traction and support because they are made with high-grade rubber
The outsoles of authentic Nike shoes provide traction and support because they are made with high-grade rubber. Imitations have cheap rubber that feels very plasticky and heavy on the foot.

The ridges and patterns on the soles should be uniform and evenly spaced. Fakes typically have badly spaced patterns and stiff soles that are not flexible.

10. Inspect the Logo and Small Details

Other telltale signs of imitations can be seen on the small details of the shoe. The font on the prints should match and the font size should also be even. Look out for bad or crooked stitching details on the uppers, which can indicate fake shoes.

Other telltale signs of imitations can be seen on the small details of the shoe
Additionally, counterfeit Nike shoes can have misspellings and swoosh logos that are too big or facing the wrong side.

Where Are Nike Shoes Made?

The company has contracted with more than 700 stores around the world and has offices located in almost 50 countries. Most of Nike’s shoe factories are located in Asia, including Indonesia, China, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Philippines, and Malaysia.

For an updated list of where Nike shoes are manufactured, check the most recent manufacturing map.

How to Safely Burn Nike Products?

If you’re planning to boycott Nike to protest the company’s support of controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick, instead of burning your shoes, why don’t you donate them to people in need?

Watch the video below to learn more tips about identifying fake Air Max sneakers, one of the brand’s most popular styles:

Credit: Nike / WENN / Michael Wright

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