Weeks after a group of counterfeit sneaker makers were busted importing fake Air Jordans and Nikes into New Jersey, another fake sneaker story is grabbing headlines. Vice News Tonight on HBO recently visited with a producer of fakes in China, who makes his living from reproducing the world’s most coveted releases, such as the Off-White x Nike collabs and the Balenciaga Triple S.
Business is apparently booming for Chan, the seller, who claims that he often sells more than 120 pairs of shoes a day. This translates to a income of more than $100,000 a month from hawking counterfeit kicks.
The news crew went to Putian, China, which Vice described as the “fake sneaker capital of China.” Many of the top sneaker brands, including Nike and Adidas, have factories in the area, so it’s an easy environment for counterfeiters to find the same materials that are used by popular shoemakers for authentic sneakers. This helps boost the quality and nearly identical design of the fakes.
Chan gave Vice a look inside his counterfeiter company’s office and told Vice that he often searches through Reddit to decide which sneaker models he should replicate next. He explained that producers of fakes often get their sneakers on the market before the legitimate ones are officially released. He does this by procuring early “back door” pairs of the authentic models and quickly deconstructing them to study their materials and how they’re made in order to make an accurate replica.
The story goes on to suggest that producing fake sneakers is not only Chan’s career, but also a prime money maker for Putian. You can watch the full report from Vice below.