Kanye West and Adidas consistently deliver hit after hit with the rapper’s Yeezy line. His sneakers are always sought after and typically sell out almost instantly. Because of this, the sneaker marketplace is inundated with fakes.
However, it is possible to avoid spending your hard-earned money on a fake pair — as long as you’re educated.
According to Stadium Goods senior consignment manager Z.A. Copeland, who trains his staff on how to spot fakes, there are a few things to look for with any Yeezy sneaker to ensure its authenticity.
One thing to be aware of is how the sneaker smells.
“When you have the ability to identify the smell of a new sneaker, what it smells like when it comes straight from the factory, then you’ll have the ability to identify the wrong smell,” Copeland said. “You get [a sense of] wrong smells because of how or where they were manufactured. If it wasn’t manufactured by Adidas, it will give off a different smell.”
Another indicator can be found with the shoeboxes.
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“Bootleggers don’t know how to duplicate fonts, and they don’t know how to get the box dimensions correct,” Copeland said. “[Look at] the font they use on the box and the design on the box. The ‘Yeezy Boost’ on a real box has more of a charcoal ash gray look, and the fake box can be really dark. Some boxes can be really small, some can be really big.”
For Yeezy models with Boost cushioning, Copeland said it’s important to familiarize yourself with how the material feels on real shoes to spot the fake ones.
“Does it feel stiff like the Styrofoam packaging that comes with a PlayStation? Or too soft like a marshmallow? Those are quick identifiers. You should be able to press down on Boost and it should feel firm with a little giveback,” Copeland said.
Legit-check Instagram account Team Feezy also notes that when it comes to the 350 V2, that silhouette has specific characteristics that make fakes easy to spot, such as the unique upper pattern on the “Zebra” colorway.
“A fake Yeezy will most likely go straight down toward the sole with the pattern or [it will] curve way too much. A real curve will have a constant pattern the whole time,” Team Feezy advised. “And the pattern on the toe [on a fake] looks grainy, stringy and is a pretty straight line. A real pair should have space between the lines and should be neat.”
Copeland said bootleggers are forever evolving; however, it’s not difficult to spot fakes with the proper instruction.
“When I train employees here at Stadium Goods, I give them time to get familiar with the real [sneakers]. As far as degree of difficulty, some people second guess themselves, but I wouldn’t say it’s hard [to identify fakes] if you’re familiar with what’s real. The harder part is trusting your gut and if something looks off to you, then stick with that because it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
And it’s important to be informed about spotting frauds — because they’re everywhere. Copeland said he has come across his fair share of fakes.
“I don’t think it’s malicious; I think the customer is ignorant to what they’re trying to cosign,” Copeland said.
To avoid getting duped, Copeland advises sneaker shoppers to be careful during the buying process.
“If you can, go to a store that has a good reputation and try something on — look at it, feel it, touch it, get a sense of what you’re shopping for,” Copeland said. “And when you’re online, look for red flags, like, is the price too low? What’s missing? If they’re selling box-less Yeezys, don’t trust those. And go on a site where you can get your refund back.”
And Team Feezy agreed:
“Sneaker buyers should pay attention to the price and where they are buying the shoe from,” Team Feezy said. “Scammers will often put the price very low to make it seem like a great deal or try to make us think it’s legit and raise the price more than what the shoe is worth. [And] there have been several occasions where people buy shoes from a place saying the shoes are ‘UA Authentic,’ not knowing that it means ‘Unauthorized Authentic’ and is a really good pair of fakes.”
Team Feezy recommended Yeezy shoppers avoid eBay “because it’s all run by people just trying to sell stuff, not companies made to make sure you have legit sneakers,” and instead stick with trusted sites and stores such as GOAT, StockX, Flight Club and Foot Locker.
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