How to Spot Fake Jordans ?

Fake Jordan sites have sprung up all over the web in recent years. While their products are “knock offs”, their techniques have come a long way. A number of manufacturers are able to create sneakers that look almost identical to the real version. Keyword there is almost. There’s a ton of ways to find out if your Jordan 11s are real or fake – we’ve compiled them all into this post.
NOTE: The easiest way to tell is buy them direct from a Jordan / Nike retailer, not China. 

1. Check the quality of the box

Jordan’s are a beautifully packaged sneaker. There’s a number of things you can check before even looking at the sneakers:
  • Nike packages their shoes in a sturdy box with the logo on the lid and on the side of the box.
  • Examine the box closely for errors in brand logo, spelling, and the alignment and finish quality of the box itself.
  • Authentic Nike shoeboxes have a tightly-fitting lid, with no gaps.
  • The color on the box will be uniform and not appear to fade or be lighter or darker on one side or on the lid.
  • The texture of the box will also be uniform.
Image: Nike Talk

2. Check the manufacturing sticker (outside box)

On a deeper note, you can even dig a lot of information by looking at the sticker on the outside of the box:
  • Nike shoe boxes are made with a label affixed to one side of the box which lists details about the style name of the shoe, the shoe size, the color combination, and country in which the manufacturing took place.
  • There will also be a style number on the label which is nine digits long.
  • Pay specific attention to spelling, uniform size text, and even spacing on the box label.
Jordan 11 Box: Real vs Fake
Image: Sneakerfiles

3. Look at the tag inside the sneaker

Located inside the shoe is a label containing the same information that is printed on the box label. It will include the year and country of manufacture, the style and name of the shoe.
  • The nine digit style number should match the style number found on the outside of the shoe box.
  • Check for details on the shoe label such as spelling errors and stitching that is neat and straight.
  • Another detail often missed is the formation of the letter “Q”.
  • The Tail of the Q in the word “fabrique” should start inside the circle.
It’s amazing how knock offs can miss obvious details, like spelling!
Image: Dont Question Kings

4. Cross check the sneaker’s production date

Sometimes, a simple Google search as to when that version of the sneaker was created can help:
  • The production date printed on the shoe label should match the original production run.
  • In replica shoes, the production date is later than the original run.
Check Release Date Sneaker

5. Look how the label is attached

How the box’s label is attached can also be an indicator:
  • The label itself should be attached to the shoe so that it is flat, with no bumps or wrinkles in the fabric.
  • In replica shoes, the label may be misshapen, wrinkled, bumpy, appear to have been carelessly placed, and be difficult to read.
Sneaker Box Label

6. Check the Jumpman inside the tongue

The iconic Michael Jordan “Jumpman” logo is an easy test as well:
  • Authentic Nike Air Jordan 11s will have a band of fabric across the top of the tongue of the shoe with the Jumpman Jordan centered and neatly embroidered.
  • The color of the jump man should match the color styling and color combination of the shoe itself.
Jordan 11 Inner Tag Fake
Image: Sneaker Files

7. The label underneath the tongue

Lift up the tongue of the shoe and check the label on the underside:
  • It will have a tag that includes the words, “greatest player ever”.
  • The words will be embroidered in white, be of high quality, and be clear, distinct, and easy to read.

8. The printed Jumpman logo

The 11s will also have a printed logo of the jump man on the insole.
  • The proportions of the jump man should be natural and not compromised in any way.
  • The details of the hands, feet, and ball should all be clear, distinct, and readily observable.
  • The edges of the Jumpman on the insole should be sharp and crisp so the logo does not appear smeared or blurred.

9. Check the small details of the laces

  • Look closely at the details of the shoelaces, shoelace tabs, and tongue.
  • Look for even spacing between the shoelace tabs and the location of the labels on the tongue.

10. The logo tag’s location

The location of the logo tag is another indicator of authentic Air Jordan 11.
  • In the Air Jordans, the logo on the top of the tongue should be specifically placed in the third lace space, fitting neatly between the laces, and easy to see when looking down on the shoes.
  • In the replica shoes, the logo may be found in the second or fourth lace space and might not fit precisely between the laces.
  • In replica shoes, the tongue logo’s placement may even have slight variations between the right and left shoe.

11. The shoelace tabs should be the same size

  • A closer examination of the shoelace tabs should reveal that they are all the same size, shape, and distance apart.
  • They should all be attached with the same degree of tension. In a replica pair of shoes, one or more of the shoelace tabs may be looser than the others.
  • They may be slightly differently sized, but they should not all be parallel.
Image: YouTube

12. Is it a colorway you’ve never seen?

Another clue that the Nike Air Jordan 11s are not be authentic may be a unique color combination:
  • Google the color of the sneaker – are there images of it on reputable sites?
  • They could be a custom sneaker – make sure to Google the exact colorway and sneaker artist (if you know who made them).
Jordan replicas tend to have outrageous colorways – this is by far the easiest giveaway.
Image: Sole Collector

13. The patent leather around the toe

Take a look at the patent leather detail around the shoe:
  • In replica shoes, the patent leather comes up higher or much lower on the shoe’s upper than does its placement on authentic shoes.
  • In some cases, this patent leather contrast may appear to have been glued, and glue residue may be visible at the edge of the patent leather.
  • The OG patent leather should have two even rows of stitching – these should be smooth and even.
Image: Sneakerfiles

14. The patent leather arch

The patent leather arch around the back of the heel is shaped much differently:
  • On the authentic model, this patent leather detail has a high, smooth curve.
  • Whereas on replica shoes, the curve is lower and flatter.
  • This is the spot just before the heel seam where the shape of the patent leather has two arches on either side of the heel seam.
Image: Sneakerfiles

15. The height of the heel

  • The cutout in the patent leather on the center back of the heels of the replica shoes tends to be noticeably higher than on the authentic model.
  • This is the part where the patent leather dips down into a curved V-shape right on the center of the back heel seam.
Image: Nike

16. The quality of the patent leather

  • The patent leather around the toe box should be smooth and will match the contour of the shoe with no gaps or ridges.
  • In replica shoes, there may be bumps and uneven surfaces to the patent leather around the toe box area.

17. Check the back heel tab

Check the heel tabs located on the back of the sneaker:
  • The heel tab should contain the number 23.
  • Before looking at the specifics of the number, observe the shape of the heel tab itself.
  • On an authentic model, the heels tabs are smooth and match the curvature of the shoe. On replica shoes, the heel tabs sticks out, further away from the shoe, and does not follow its natural contour.
Fake Vs Real Jordan 11 Heels
Image: Fake vs Real Jordans Blogspot

18. Check the “23” on the heel tab

Notice the stylized player number 23 in white on the black heel tab discussed above.
  • The number should be clear and distinct, printed in white, with even lines, unbroken, and with the same degree of thickness.
  • There is a clear separation between the lines and between the two numbers.
  • If they appear to be touching or if they just look like lines and the 23 is difficult to make out they are definitely replica shoes.
jordan-11-real-fake-jumpman -logo

19. The stitch quality on the back heel tab

The back heel tab is attached to the body of the shoe by a fine line of stitching.
  • On real Nike Air Jordan 11s the stitching between the 23 heel tab patch and the leather may not even be visible.
  • In replica shoes the stitching is readily observable and uneven.

20. The quality of the heel logo

The Jumpman logo should be high quality and clean stiching:
  • In the replica shoes, the Jumpman may not have a full body, could appear with missing fingers, or the body may be out of proportion or appear deformed.
  • Additionally, on replica shoes, the Jumpman logo appears as if was a pressed-on applique, rather than embedded in the leather for a smooth finish.
  • The position of the Jumpman logo is another critical factor in identifying authentic shoes.
  • The logo should be located precisely with the basketball resting at the point where if a line was drawn from between the space from the two and the three, it would intersect with the basketball.
Image: Sneakernews

21. The contour of the toe box

The Nike Air Jordan 11s have an evenly shaped toe box with a distinctive contour:
  • The rubber outsole is transparent so that the color of the leather upper can be seen through it.
  • The color separation line around the toe box should be smooth and even as it’s observed through the transparent outsole.
Image: Nike

22. The “v-shape” in the heel

The curvature of the sole around the back of the heel is unique and forms a distinct V-shape.
  • In authentic Nike Air Jordan 11 the white part of the sole where it meets with the colored midsole is pointed to form the distinct V-shape.
  • In replica shoes, this point is more rounded.

23. Check the carbon fiber sole

Notice the details about the carbon fiber outsole.
  • In authentic Air Jordan 11s, this carbon fiber is strong and durable.
  • If it’s possible to press on the carbon fiber and make a slight dent, chances are the shoes are replicas.
  • In addition, in replica shoes, the carbon fiber is painted on and will rub off easily when rubbed on the floor.
Image: Sneakerfiles

24. The pattern on the sole of the shoe

  • Authentic Nike Air Jordan 11s have a specific sole pattern which will be identical on all models.
  • The rubber is transparent and the Jumpman logo can be readily observed underneath the top layer of the rubber sole.

25. The stitching should be high quality and consistent

All stitching on the shoe, inside and out, should be neat and even.
  • Stitches should be of the same size with even spaces between.
  • The stitching should be tight, with no loose threads.
  • In replica shoes, the stitching is often loose, uneven, and of varying sizes.
  • Where there are two rows of stitches, they should always be parallel, never getting too close together or too far apart.
  • The stitches should never appear as if they are crushed together, or too long and far apart.
Image: Sneakerfiles

Did I miss anything?

To be one hundred percent positive about the authenticity of the shoes when purchasing Nike Air Jordan 11s, the safest bet is to buy directly from the manufacturer. Did I miss anything? Leave some additional ways in the comments.

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 are each expected to receive 20 years in prison for trafficking copy Air Jordans. Today we have two pairs of the Air Jordan 1 and we will 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 how to tell if 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 that is too good to be true… then it IS too good to be true. Low prices and beat up boxes are your first clue that you have a fake, counterfeit, or illegally smuggled-in B-grade Nike shoe. Make any mail-order or E-Bay purchases with trusted retailers. Remember, slightly used does not mean the shoes were real Nikes to start with.
  • Look for the alignment guides, the red shoe is the fake Nike.

Air Jordon wings logo:

Studying 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 that covers the 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. Also, the black thread contrasts with the grey leather. On the fake Jordan 1, a single stitch line crosses the tab and 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 is 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 is how the original was made. The counterfeit Nike has a small piece of fabric added as the lace keeper.