Over the past few years, people have really begun to get into the art of sneaker collecting. From magazines like Kicks to songs by rappers about their favorite types of shoes, this has grown from a small hobby into a worldwide phenomenon. People all over the world are interested in finding that newest pair of customized sneakers or special editions.
At the top of that list is the Air Jordan line. With the worldwide popularity and marketability, Michael Jordan has become synonymous with hot shoes. While a rookie with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, Jordan and Nike began a long partnership that would see the creation of the Jordan Brand and these shoes becoming worldwide sensations. Nowadays, people are lining up at stores for days or paying double or triple the retail price just for a shot to own a pair of these shoes. They are not only a sneaker brand, but a culture. With the advent of the internet, these shoes can be had from anywhere in the world.
Of course, with all of the commotion, there is the potential for fake shoes and dishonest people. How can you be sure that the pair of Air Jordans you are coveting online are indeed authentic and not a fake? This guide will give you a few steps to figure these issues out.
1. The Price is Right, Especially with Air Jordans
Think about these shoes for a second and realize their rarity. Even the new releases could disappear in a matter of days. That being said, do you honestly believe that a pair of rare Air Jordans from 1993 is only going to cost you $60? Most Air Jordans, even the ones that are fairly available, will cost you more than $100. How can one person offer them at such a low price? The answer is that he can because they are not authentic. The seller is acquiring these “Air Jordans” at a low price because they are not authentic and will be passing on this attractive lower price to you.
Also, look at the stock on hand. If a person seems to have a lot of stock of these Air Jordans it should also set off the alarm in your head. As previously mentioned, these shoes are incredibly rare. How can a seller give you such a deal in so many different colors and sizes? That is another clear sign that the seller’s stock is more than likely fake.
2. Know the Lingo
Be on the lookout when doing your searches. A lot of times some of these sellers will use words that you have never come across or have a different meaning in the sneaker world. For example, one of the favorite words that can be used by some of these dealers is “variant”. Sometimes a seller will call a pair of Air Jordans a “factory variant” and that they still come in a real box. All that means is that these shoes were not commissioned by Nike or Jordan Brand and are being distributed without their consent.
Words like “customs” and “samples” can also get you in trouble. “Customs” are merely shoes that are also made in different color combinations that were not part of the Nike releases. Have you ever seen ads for Gucci or Burberry Air Jordans? Those are customs that are not real Jordans. They are also not real Gucci or Burberry prints. Meanwhile, “samples” are an interesting story. If authentic, a sample shoe, which was a shoe used to test a design of a shoe, could be incredibly valuable. Of course, they are extremely rare and you should take extra caution when someone uses that word to describe a shoe. Also, “samples” are only made in size 9.
3. Be Aware of Your Seller
Chances are you would not purchase a pair of Air Jordans behind the alley of a mall, but you would purchase them from a reputable shoe store like Foot Locker or Champs Sports. Same applies on the internet. You can get a pair of Air Jordans from a number of reputable dealers online. There are actually many ways to feel more confident in your buyer.
First, make sure that the seller’s contact information is all available and authentic. This could be as simple as calling the customer service number or shooting over an e-mail to the customer service department. Talking with a real person could help you out. Verify the address given to you on the website is correct. A lot of times, a fake address can convince unsuspecting buyers that an Air Jordan dealer is authentic when in reality they are not dealing with authentic merchandise.
You can also go to a site like the Better Business Bureau and see if it’s a real company and to also see if there are any complaints against this company. The higher it is rated within the BBB, the more likely a company is on the up-and-up and dealing with authentic wares. The opposite can also be said; a lower rating means to be wary of their products.
4. Listen to the “Sneaker Heads”
Often times, people who buy these shoes and have experience in dealing with websites and buying Air Jordans. They will rate reputable websites dealing in shoes and be the first to tell you when a site is dealing in fake Air Jordans.
You can also go to forums where sneaker collectors gather to talk about new releases, current rumored models and color combinations, and even guides to tell whether or not Air Jordans are fake. A good example is www.niketalk.com. Many times these users are very helpful; they can take pictures you’ve posted or links that you’ve found and immediately tell you whether or not they are authentic Air Jordans.
Hopefully these tips help you out when looking to the internet for Air Jordans. It’s a vast world and many people are genuinely looking to sell you an authentic pair of Air Jordans. Whether you are a newbie or someone experienced in the art of sneaker collecting, this guide can be handy in teaching you what to look for. Good luck!