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 replica 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.