How To Spot Fake Sneakers (2021)

There’s a growing problem within the sneaker world and it’s been around ever since sneaker culture was a thing. That problem is the growing market of counterfeit sneakers. Today, we’ll show you How To Spot Fake Sneakers In 2021.

Different sneakers have different characteristics that indicate towards their authenticity. 

However, fakes are getting better. Also, with the arrays of different sneakers on the market, it’s becoming difficult to keep track of what makes each of them an original.

In various markets around the world, such as a popular market in Istanbul, Turkey. Counterfeit sneakers are sold everywhere. They’re often so well done that can be difficult for most people to identify. 

Today, we go through all the obvious red flags that are clear indications of a sneaker replica. Let’s get right to it! 

How To Spot Fake Sneakers | Instant Red Flags

Fake sneakers seldom can be spotted if they’re done poorly.

A few red flags indicate towards an obvious fake and they can be spotted without much of an effort, such as : 

Price: Simply put, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Location: These red flags include the retailers that you’re getting your new shoes from. If it’s from a random flea market or a store in a foreign country that doesn’t quite look right. It’s very likely a fake.

Quality: Moreover, you can also assess authenticity by the design of these sneakers. Pretty much at first glance, you can identify the authenticity of a shoe by closely examining the quality.

Start with the logo, if it looks off, seems flimsy and detachable, or slightly differs from the original, you’ve likely got yourself a fake.

Weight: Many high-quality running shoes from Nike and Adidas are ultra-lightweight. Fakes usually cannot achieve this and will be noticeably heavier. On the other hand, sneakers can also be lighter due to low-quality materials.

Design: Some colorways feature intricate patterns that are difficult to replicate. Although they may be similar to the originals at first glance. Grab an image from Google and really scrutinize the patterns, and try identifying differences. 

Texture: The exact quality and material of certain sneakers are perhaps the most difficult to replicate. If you’re able to get hands-on a guaranteed original, compare it with the suspected fake. You’ll likely find quite a few subtle differences.

For example, the suede on the sneakers may feel different or might be less or hairier. The leather may be smoother or rougher while the textile materials may also differ in quality.

This difference in quality should be an instant red flag. Although minor manufacturing details can cause differences, such as the seams. The quality of the materials used should be identical across all models of the originals.

Scent: Have you ever smelled a brand new pair of sneakers? Love it or hate it, the smell is quite distinct and If you’ve smelled enough brand new shoes, you can easily spot a fake. They often have a stronger smell. 

How To Spot Fake Sneakers | Technical Differences

Besides the instant indicators of a fake sneaker, sometimes you’ll need to dive in deeper. Fake manufacturers are gradually getting better and it’s come to a point that they’re almost indistinguishable. Almost.

The box a sneaker comes in tells you a lot about the shoes themselves. If you want to know How To Spot Fake Sneakers, you’ll need to assess the sticker on them. That sticker should include the following information:

  1. Manufacturer’s address 
  2. SKU Code 
  3. Barcode 
  4. Sneaker model 
  5. Sizing 

This information is usually placed on a sticker in the box. Or in rare cases, directly on the box itself. However, counterfeit sneaker makers have become craftier. They can now place fake stickers and other information to fool buyers but you can still easily spot these. Here’s how:


This part is tricky as you really do have to do your research and carefully examine the texts. However, it can be done. 

Brands usually use the same font for all their information and texts across most models. You should google the stickers of various original boxes and carefully compare them. 

Identify any differences in spacing, fonts, and paragraphing and it may give you a good idea. If anything seems off, you may have a fake on your hands and it’s best to do additional research. 

SKU Code

This is likely the best way to detect fake sneakers as it’s accurate and quick. 

The SKU code stands for Stock Keeping Unit and it identifies each individual sneaker. It does so by assigning each model a code which is a combination of numbers and letters.

The SKU Code can be found on the sticker of the box or the inside tags on either shoes. 

This code identifies the sneaker’s model and the colorway. Anyone can use this code and Google it to ensure whether their order matches the shoe’s code that they have. 

How To Spot Fake Sneakers | Are Secondary Markets Risky?

There are various sneaker reselling stores out there that offer dead stock as well as used sneakers.

This has actually become a lucrative business for many. Click here if you want to learn more about it.

Unfortunately, fakes have also flooded these markets but some websites are safer than others.

eBay, for example, is much less regulated, thus allows more fake sneakers onboard. Although its recent service fee exception has made it a popular destination for resellers. It’s probably not the safest option to buy sneakers.

Websites like GOAT and StockX, however, have stringent authentication procedures in place. Thus making it a lot less likely for fakes to slip through. 

However with certain instances of fake deliveries, these arn’t full proof either. Still, sneakers sold on StockX in over 99 out of 100 cases are authentic.

Hopefully these tips give you a good idea on How To Spot Fake Sneakers so you’ll never be fooled. 

For more content such as this, stay tuned for a lot more to come!