7 Tips For Authenticating Sneakers

Authenticating sneakers is no easy feat, especially in today's world where fake factories are increasingly prevalent.

how to authenticate sneakers

Our Head of Sneakers is sharing her insider info from her years of experience across the industry at eBay Sneaker Con, Goat and TheRealReal. With extensive knowledge about the sneaker market, see below for her top tips for authenticating sneakers.

7 Expert Tips For Authenticating Sneakers

  1. Inspect
  2. Evaluate The Price
  3. Look At The Box
  4. Pay Attention To The Details
  5. Use Your Senses
  6. Keep Up With Releases
  7. Get An Expert Opinion
7 Tips For Authenticating Sneakers

1. Inspect

Closely evaluating your sneakers is a great first step to learning to authenticate on your own. Inspect the box, looking closely at the tags inside the shoe, and evaluate the shape. Ideally you would want to compare to a pair purchased directly from the brand.

Insider Tip: Research Your Sneakers

Throughout the years, the construction of sneakers has changed. As such, the year and origin of the sneaker really matters. Take for instance the 1985 Jordan 1s, which were made in Korea. These are considered extremely high quality. Today, however, Jordans tend to be produced in China or Vietnam.

As such, the year of manufacture impacts how you authenticate shoes from the same brand.

2. Evaluate The Price

The saying is true that if 'the price seems too good to be true, it probably is'. Now, this isn't to say you have to spend more money for guaranteed authenticity. You can shop sneakers below retail prices from reputable luxury resale sites. However, if the rest of your research showcases the one you're buying is in the same condition but wildly underpriced, err on the side of the caution.

Insider Tip: Receipts Alone Do Not Prove Authenticity

Fake factories are even making counterfeit receipts in an attempt to dupe potential buyers of the shoe's authenticity. So while it can be helpful, be diligent about accepting a sneaker's authenticity based on receipts alone.

Use The Box To Authenticate Sneakers

3. Look At The Box

Consider the shoe box your first line of defense when evaluating authenticity. It's your first impression before you've even seen the shoes.

Our Head of Sneakers shares that the box can really tell you if the shoes inside are real or not. Especially if, as mentioned previously, you have an authentic pair on hand to compare it to.

Depending on the shoe, you may get other things that come in the box such as cards, accessories and paper. All these packaging details can help you determine if a sneaker is real or not.

Insider Tip: Research The Shoe Box Online

Some details on sneakers are hard to compare for authenticity if you aren't looking at them in-person. However, it is easier to research and compare the shoe box online from photos since they are less detailed.

So, if you don't have an authentic box in-person to compare it to, a search online can help you find out if little things like the logo, design and details of the box are accurate. You can look in the tagged photos section of a brand on social media, search for images of the brand's box on google or even text a friend you know has an authentic pair for a photo of their box.

4. Pay Attention To The Details

Name brand sneakers are crafted using top-quality materials with immaculate details, meaning they can really give away the authenticity of a sneaker. Details that are hard to get perfectly right on a fake sneaker would be: stitching, lace tips and the padding on the inside.

Insider Tip: Sneaker Authentication Takes Practice

Our Head of Sneakers shares that the only way to really train yourself to authenticate and understand all the small details is to see many pairs of the same shoe.

Additionally, you also have to get used to factory defects of authentic shoes. There are going to be things that vary depending on which factory the sneaker was made in.

5. Use Your Senses

Smell, touch, sight and sound are the senses to utilize to authenticate items. Of course some senses are more important than others, but these four can tell you a lot about the sneakers in front of you. From using your sight to assess the shape of the sneaker and touch to check the materials it is made out of, these senses go a long way in the confidence of authenticating sneakers.

Sound is a surprising sense to rely on as well. It may seem like it wouldn't be utilized in sneaker authentication, but it actually is. All sneakers that come with any sort of tag on the shoes will make a sound. It may sound silly, but paper tags have a very distinct sound.

Insider Tip: Smell The Sneakers

Smell is a huge component in a legit authentication of sneakers, mostly because of the glue. The glue fake factories use in counterfeit sneakers smells so bad that sometimes it can give you an instant headache. It can result in the shoes giving off more of an overall chemical smell.

How Sneaker Releases Affect Authentication

6. Keep Up With Releases

Sneaker releases are a prime part of today's shoe industry. Whenever a new sneaker comes out, everything you may have learned about a silhouette goes out the window, according to our experts. This is because you never know what part of the new release will be consistent with previous designs until you've seen a few pairs in person.

Additionally, if you have a pair from a sell-out or popular sneaker release, know that fake factories are able to keep up with releasing inauthentic versions of newer and in-demand sneakers.

Insider Tip: You Never Stop Learning About Authenticating Sneakers

Before a sneaker even drops, do your research. By learning the title description and viewing images of the sneaker, you have an idea of what is special about this release to help in its authentication. Whether it's the color, shape or even the brand's signature.

7. Get An Expert Opinion

If you've done all of the above and still feel unsure or have concerns about a shoe, don't hesitate to seek out an authentication service for an expert opinion.

This will give you a more definitive answer as to the authenticity of that sneaker. Additionally, it will confirm if your hesitations or assessment of the shoe were accurate.

Insider Tip: Shop From Reputable Sellers And Brands

People usually know when they are selling a fake sneaker, and they want to make a profit off of it. To avoid fake sneakers, especially when shopping online, seek out sites that stand behind their authentication.

If you're shopping second-hand, look for reputable sellers like myGemma.

Sell Sneakers For The Best Prices

Sell Your Sneakers For The Best Prices

If you're looking for a secure and hassle-free route to sell your name brand sneakers online, your answer is our team at myGemma. Our selling services keep speed, price and efficiency top of mind. Whether you prefer to sell in-person at one of our offices in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong or the UK or using our free, fully insured shipping option.

Instead of listing your sneakers on line and waiting for them to sell, we buy them directly, in as little as 24 hours. To get started, click below to get a price quote.