Athletic shoes dominate the clothing market these days. Overall, sales topped $98 billion just a couple of years ago, and this is expected to surge to more than $120 billion over the next few years. While numerous brands and styles are out there, some are much more highly sought after than others. Those can be difficult to find and come with quite a lofty price tag.
If you’re among the footwear collectors of the world, you’re probably aware of just which names and styles to be looking for. At the same time, you most likely want to be sure those basketball shoes that seem to be a rare and exciting find are actually authentic. After all, no one wants to be taken in by crooks who are only out to take their money. If you’ve recently purchased one of those coveted pairs of shoes or are in the market for them, use the following tips to help make sure you’re not wasting your time and money on fakes.
1) Look at the price
Everyone wants to get a great deal on the items they’re looking to buy. Keep in mind, though, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the shoes you’re thinking of buying generally sell for $900 and you’ve stumbled upon a pair for $250, they’re most likely fakes.
2) Pay attention to the details
Take a long look at the sneakers themselves. Everything from the colors and materials to the stitching should be consistent with the brand and model you’re buying. Though there are a few exceptions to the rule, they’re probably not legitimate if something seems off about some of all of those aspects.
3) Check the packaging
It’s also important to examine the packaging. Make sure the box the shoes are in looks the same as others from that brand. Check out the bar codes, designs, lettering, and other elements, and compare them with the ones that are signature to the brand itself. If the shoes you’re looking into purchasing are in a clear plastic wrapper, a generic box, or packaging that has minor flaws in the font, they’re not the real thing.
4) Scrutinize the tags
Just like the stickers inside the door of your vehicle, the tags inside shoes can provide a great deal of insight. Look for the production date, UPC, production number, manufacturing facility code, and other information on the tags inside the tongue of the shoes. You can even run the UPC code through an online app or type it into a standard search bar to see if it’s consistent with the shoes you’ve got your eyes on.
5) Compare and contrast
Packaging, stickers, and the tags inside the shoes are good indications of whether you’re looking at fake sneakers or real ones. Don’t just look at one or the other, though. Compare all the details on the box and stickers with those of the tags to make sure all the numbers and other details dovetail.
6) Let your nose be your guide
New shoes have a distinct smell that’s difficult to mistake. If the pair you’re hoping to buy or already have in hand don’t match that scent, they’re not authentic. Fakes are made of cheap materials that, in all honesty, reek. That’s a surefire giveaway.
7) Get a second opinion
You don’t have to rely on your own intuition when determining if your sneakers are fake. Don’t be afraid to take them to to a shoe store, consignment shop, or other authority on the subject. They’ll be able to provide a great deal of helpful insight.
8) Ask for proofs of purchase
If you’re thinking of buying shoes from an individual, ask if he or she has a receipt or other proof of purchase. If the person doesn’t, there’s a good chance you may be walking into a bad deal. Granted, receipts get lost over time, but these days, there’s always some type of paper trail whether it’s physical or digital.
9) Analyze the seller
One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself against fakes is knowing exactly who you’re buying from. Look for signs that the actual seller is legit. Scan for dissatisfied buyers in the past, high seller ratings, fully functioning websites, plenty of pictures of the product, and any details that just don’t seem plausible.
In a nutshell
If you’re among the thousands of people looking for a specific type of basketball shoe or other varieties of footwear, you obviously want to get a great deal. Of course, getting the genuine article as opposed to a cheap knock-off is important as well. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other, and using these tips can help you distinguish the counterfeits from the real things.
Story by Shelly Lewis