How to Spot Fake Nike?

It’s a sad thing, really. People around the globe get scammed every day because the culprits are clever. Thus, in order to outwit them when buying premium brands like Nike, you, as a potential buyer, should be several times smarter! Learning how to spot fake Nike when scanning through online sites and in physical stores is a must-have skill to ensure that your hard-earned money would be well-spent.

Why There Are Fakes?

There are people that like to take advantage of others’ hard work. Fake and counterfeit products aren’t a new thing. This problem spanned for several decades until now. But, today’s manufacturing is more superb. Ergo, the magnitude of products being imitated and replicated are several times more than in the past.

So, the first question you ask, why are there fake Nike shoes? Being a worldwide-known brand, everyone has dreamt at least once in their lives that they could own a pair of Nike shoes. It’s the brand used by the popular NBA stars and other starathletes. This athletic shoe brand is also known to have great designs and styles. Being a premium brand worn even by the most famous, it’s not unusual that Nike shoes are on the expensive side. Indeed, that’s what the perpetrators behind the fake Nike shoes are gunning for.

Most fake shoes are made from Asian countries like in China. As you know from many examples, cheap imitations are from China; not just shoes but a whole range of other things.

Mass production factories of Nike are found in China. It’s only natural that fakes or some copies will come from here too. But copies or termed as OEM aren’t even part of Nike’s SKU. They were rejected in one way or another because they didn’t pass quality standards. They lack serial numbers or other marks of authenticity, so be careful of buying a pair.

Spotting Fake Nike Shoes

No buyer wants to buy a fake product unless they knew already in the very first place. Yes, there are still people who knowingly buy fake Nike shoes but at a cheap price though. That extent is OK though it’s still illegal. However, for those who want genuine products, buying a fake at the price of the original is unforgivable.

Here are some tips in knowing how to spot fake Nike products.

  • Shoe box

Let’s start from the outside. Nike uses a high-quality paper to make their shoe box. Color of the shoe boxes vary depending on the style but the most common are red, orange, and brown. The carton used doesn’t crumple or shrink when wet. Furthermore, it has a nice finish particularly having a matte finish. Logos are found on the top and side. Other authenticity proof like SKU, bar code, style number, country of origin, etc. are indicated at the side of the box.

Fake Nike shoes also come in fake shoe boxes. In this case, everything about the box is inferior compared to the original.For example, the box has a glossy finish instead of matte. In other cases, the fake shoes don’t come with a box. Instead, they are covered in plastic wrap. This should set warning bells.

  • Style

A lot of knockoff shoes are different from the originals starting with their colors and shades. On your end, do some research on the official product catalog of the brand or you may also browse the product photos on the Nike website (

You can also tell a knockoff from an authentic through the shoelace tabs. This trick doesn’t apply to Nike shoes that have eyelets though. Closer examination on the fake shoes reveal that they aren’t the same size nor the same shape. They are also not equidistant towards each other.

  • Weight

Nike uses high-quality and high-grade materials to make their shoes. Authentic shoes are lightweight and you can feel that you can move smoothly. These are the parts that the fake Nike shoes are difficult to imitate. Fakes use cheap materials and so, they feel heavy and stiff compared to the real shoes. In short, both feel different.

  • Tongue

Check at the tag label under the tongue of the shoe. The tag shows the website, the sizes of the shoe in different standards, country of origin, bar code, etc. The bar code can be readily scanned by the Nike to prove that the shoe is part of their roster. It’s not just made of random numbers but there is the code pertaining to the color, size, etc. of the Nike shoes.

The tag labels of knockoff Nike shoes aren’t sewn unlike the real ones. Instead, the fakes are adhered to the surface in the form of stickers. Also, the fakes print the same bar codes over and over.

Just in the recent years, knockoffs have improved their tags; they are now sewn to the tongue fabric. But there are still some ways to distinguish the original from the fake. Such way are the differences in font and spacing through closer inspection.

  • Sole

Nike uses BRS-1000 rubber which is a high-quality rubber. It comes expensive so the fake cannot easily replicate it. You can spot a fake Nike shoe by folding the shoe upwards. If it doesn’t quickly recover and doesn’t smooth down, more chances are that it’s a fake Nike shoe. Also, fake soles don’t give proper traction which is a hazard. Original Nike shoes are normally for sports so it’s dangerous if you wear fakes.

  • Workmanship

One of the telltale sign that they’re fake is through the workmanship. Knockoffs typically have frayed seams, uneven stitching, uneven symmetry, etc.

  • Online buying

When online shopping, all of the above tips will be several times harder to execute. Sellers of fake Nike shoes use stock photos instead of the real-time photos of the product they are selling. Yes, stock photos are aesthetically appealing but it’s not what you should look at when buying Nike shoes. The only sellers that can use stock photos are the Nike itself or their authorized retailers.

To verify authenticity of the product you’ve found online, strike a conversation with the seller and ask for another photo shot in real-time. If you can, ask for multiple-angle shots.


Scrutinizing the Nike shoes you’re eyeing on will save you time if you just buy from their Nike’s main website or through authorized Nike retailers. However, it’s still a good skill to have when you know how to spot fake Nike products to help others.

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.