How To Spot Fake Air Force 1 | Your must-know guide to fake sneakers.
The Nike Air Force 1 is possibly the most iconic sneaker of all time.
Interestingly a court document has recently revealed the staggering numbers behind this classic white sneaker.
Nike generates over $800 million in sales annually from Air Force 1's sales alone.
As the shoe's demand on the global market increases, it's no wonder Air Force One has become one of the most heavily counterfeit sneakers in history.
Our ultimate guide will show you how to spot fake air force 1's so that you can buy and wear your Nike kicks confidently, knowing their legitimacy.
If you are in a hurry, fast forward to the end of our post, where we will show you how to spot fake air force 1 in under a minute!
We have seen countless models of AF1s since their original design in 1982 by Bruce Kilgore.
Collaborations with Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh keep the Air forces relevant and famous today. However, these sneakers have had decades in the limelight and are seen by most as the world's classic sneakers.
Our guide will focus on the Nike Air Force 1 Low '07 in classic white, but the real vs fake guide can be used to identify all colours and collaborations of the sneakers.
With fake sneakers sold everywhere now, you can never be too sure about the authenticity of your sneakers.
From Amazon to your local sneaker store, fakes are everywhere, and with the counterfeit sneaker market valued at over $450 billion, we think it's time to take a stand against fakes.
How To Spot Fake Air Force 1. | Your must-know guide to fake sneakers.
Flaws and bumps in the stitching are the most definitive way to spot fake air force 1's, most commonly on the heel strap and side swoosh. Also, fake AF1s will have taller heels than authentic pairs and often won't have a fully perforated toe box.
How To Tell If Air Force Ones Are Fake
- How Tall Is the Heel on your Nikes?
- Measure the heel strap on your Air Force One's
- Check the quality of the heel's embroidery.
- Examine the stitching on your Nike shoes.
- Use the Nike shoe box for a quality check, the sticker and UPC.
- Where did you buy your kicks, and who sold them to you?
- How much did you pay for your AF1s?
- Look at your kicks toe box detailing.
- Use the AF1's tongue as your guide.
- Look at the "AIR" embossment on the midsole.
- Check the profile of the sneaker's toe from the side.
- Look at the lace badge and its finish.
- Compare the sole of the sneakers. How sophisticated is the embossment?
- Where were the kicks manufactured?
So without further ado, let's jump into the nitty gritty, so you know how to tell if air force ones are fake.
We've isolated the following points as the key indicators to showcase if your sneakers are real or fake and ordered them by priority.
If you notice that your kicks have a few tells like those in our list below, you likely own a pair of fake Nikes AF1s.
Don't worry. There are ways to report sellers for the sale of counterfeit kicks but let's not jump to conclusions just yet.
Unless they look something like this!
Closely Examine The Back of the Nike Air Force Ones
The back of the Nike AF1 is the first place you want to check when determining the legitimacy of your kicks.
There are multiple points of interest at the back of the sneaker, and it consistently appears to be the area of the shoe that illegitimate manufacturers find hard to replicate.
First, you want to ask, is my Nike Air Force 1's heel the right height and shape? - this is a strong indicator.
If your Nikes are fake, they will have a taller heel, and the silhouette will be right-angled and less curved like the authentic kicks.
Not only will this distort the classic shape of the sneakers, but it will also make them very uncomfortable to wear.
Nike air force ones are renowned for being one of the most comfortable kicks on the market, and that's something you compromise when you purchase counterfeits.
he next point of interest on the heel is the Nike swoosh on the rear of the sneaker.
Typically fake AF1s will butcher the proportions of the trademark swoosh, making it far too long compared with the remainder of the logo.
Whilst looking at this rear logo stamp on the heel tag, be wary of poor stitch quality and incorrect font size on the "AIR" stitching.
This stitching can be either too thick or thin compared to an authentic pair.
The entire back logo stamp should be centre aligned on the heel stamp. Nike air forces that are fake can have this logo of centre.
When looking at the overall stitching on the heel strap and stamp, the fake pairs tend to have shorter stitching, whereas the original pair's stitching pattern is longer.
In isolation, the heel of your air forces is the best section of the shoe to determine whether they are real vs fake.
However, there are many other tells that counterfeit manufacturers haven't been able to master, and after all Nikes, quality control makes their lives increasingly difficult.
Check the quality of your Air Force's stitching.
As we briefly addressed earlier in the article, the stitching can be an immediate tell to whether your Air Force's are fake.
There are two parts to this identification process. The first is the seams that join the panels of the kicks.
For instance, you have the stitching that joins the swoosh on the side of the shoe and the same stitching style that attaches the heel stamp to the back of the shoe.
These are known as joiners.
This stitching is shorter on fake sneakers, and each stitch is closer than the authentic pairs.
When panels are joined, it's common for knock-off kicks to have flaws, perhaps a bump in the stitching, an area that has been double stitched or even a snagged thread.
The stitching used on Nike brandings throughout the shoe is the second stitch style that can reveal flaws in the kicks.
It's common to find the swoosh on the tongue printed rather than stitched due to a lack of resources in the counterfeit factories.
It's simply faster and easier, but Nike doesn't do shortcuts!
Keep an eye out for inconsistencies in stitching on the "AIR" letters on the heel stamp, too. If some letters appear thicker than others, this is a tell-tale sign of fakes.
Finally, onto the heel strap, ensure that the stitching that runs down each side is consistent and that it starts and finishes the same distance from the edge on each side.
Ensure it follows a direct downwards line and isn't wavey.
Using the stitch quality to identify whether your Nike Air Force 1s are real or fake is very reliable.
It's also not an isolated technique to these sneakers, as Nike has rigorous quality control standards.
So this is a great technique, whether you are trying to spot fake air Jordans 1's or identifying if your Jordan 4's are fake too.
Some authentic sneakers can have minor flaws, but a pattern of stitching errors is a cause for concern.
Check the label on the inside of the tongue.
Now we move on to the next section of your Nike's, the label inside your sneakers tongue.
There are multiple focal points here, but the first is identifying whether the label is stuck on or stitched in.
Fake sneakers tend to stick the label to the shoe with an adhesive solution, whereas authentic kicks stitch the label to the shoe to prevent wear.
Next, we move to the "V.F." on the top right-hand side of the label.
The V.F., which stands for Vanity Fair corporation, is a common flaw in NIKE AF1's.
Compare the font type to our example here. Typically the fake models of the shoe get this font type wrong by printing it too thin.
Next, if we move down to the "B.R." in the shoe size guide, this is the Brazilian marker for the shoe size.
This font will also appear thinner than expected on fake pairs of Air Forces.
Finally, look at the copy for "FABRIQUE EN VIETNAM" this is the french version for the country of manufacturing.
This text also appears to be printed in a font type thinner than the authentic version of the sneakers.
This text issue is also a common flaw in Nike Air Jordan 4's.
Examine your Nike Air Force's Side Profile
The side profile of the shoe is our next point of assessment. This sneaker area can typically reveal multiple traits for knock-off Nike AF1.
If you look at the peak of the swoosh and compare them, the real pair of Air Force Ones has a natural wave to it, whereas the fake pair of sneakers has an abrupt, almost right-angled finish.
Also, notice the top of the swoosh where it moves from the downward trajectory to an upwards one. The point of change is much further down on the fake Nikes.
We are now moving to the back of the swoosh, where the Nike Swoosh attaches to the heel stamp.
Notice how the authentic pair of AF1's have a smaller gap between swoosh and sock liner, and the Fake Air forces gap is more considerable.
We should also pay attention to the perforations on the side of the shoe.
Aside from the typical issues of uneven perforations and the hole not being fully penetrated, there is another more prominent flaw.
The positioning of the two holes on the fake sneakers is too close to the midsole compared to the genuine Air force 1's.
You also want to examine the stitching on the swoosh closely.
We already touched on the importance of quality stitching throughout the shoe, but the side swoosh seems to be a common area for stitching areas.
In particular, the summit of the swoosh.
Notice how if the stitching doesn't fit right into the upper corner of the Nike Logo, the swoosh can pry away from the sneaker.
This stitching error is a common issue with Air Force 1 knock-offs.
Moving down to the sneakers' midsole and, in particular, the "AIR" towards the back of the heel.
Notice how the authentic AF1s have the word "AIR" engraved onto the shoe, whereas the replicas are embossed onto the sneakers.
Embossment is a cheaper, lower-quality manufacturing method because the counterfeit shoemakers don't have the same budget and resources as Nike.
Another corner cut for the fake Nikes.
The final minor detail that counterfeit factories seem to slip up on is the two lines on either side of the "AIR" on the midsole.
Both lines should be finished with a diagonal score. The fake versions of the AF1s have a direct straight ending, leaving an awkward finish on the kicks.
Do your AF1 have an authenticity card?
Selected pairs of Air Force One will be sold with a hidden authentication card.
These cards can be a good indicator of your sneaker's authenticity.
It's a little-known secret that when you tilt the card to a certain angle, you can reveal the silhouette of the classic sneaker.
If your sneakers have an authentication card in the box, this is a good sign but not a definitive signal for the legitimacy of your kicks.
The sole reveals all! - Examine your AF1's soles for fake flaws.
The sole is often the most overlooked part of any sneaker, as it spends most of the time glued to the floor.
After a few weeks of wear, the sole will have eroded enough to be unrecognizable.
This logic incentivizes resource-restricted factories to cut corners when constructing the Air Force 1's.
That's why the sole is one of the best ways to identify fake Nike Air force ones.
Specialist machinery gives the Classic Air Force 1 sneaker a quality finish that's not easily replicated.
Be extra vigilant when analyzing the embossment throughout the underside of the shoe, as fakes often fail to mimic these details.
Also, commonly on fake Nike's, the "r" attached to the Nike Air Logo, which stands for a registered trademark, is left out.
The letter "r" should appear twice on the underside of the shoe.
The stars on the underside of the toe can commonly be misshapen with odd spacing on counterfeit pairs.
The stars are a common flaw with fake Nike and can also be used to identify fake Nike Air Jordan 4's.
So look out for this factory error.
Next, you will want to assess the flexibility of your Air Force's sole.
These Nike soles are made from very flexible rubber and should be supple and malleable for maximum comfort.
Source: B + C Guides
If your sole doesn't flex similarly to the pair below, you are likely the owner of counterfeit AF1s.
Fake Air Force One's soles are typically made from a cheap plastic alternative.
Also, it's worth noting if your sneakers are sold as new, there shouldn't be any wear to the soles at all.
If you notice the kicks are worn out, something suspicious is occurring, and you should question their legitimacy.
Check the UPC on your AF1s
The UPC or unique product code is the unique code assigned to your sneakers.
You can find the UPC on the tongue label and on the sticker of the shoebox the kicks came in.
When manufacturing fake Nike air force ones, it's typical for the shoe box and sneakers to be made by different manufacturers.
An outstanding giveaway for fake Nike Air force 1's is if the UPC on the box does not match that on the inside of the shoe.
You would be amazed at how often counterfeiters miss this detail.
Examine Your Nike's Toe Box
As we reach the latter stages of this post, we bring you to the front of the sneaker or, more specifically, the toe box.
The toe box is the area your toes would sit within the sneakers.
The Air Force 1's have a toe box not too dissimilar to that of the infamous Nike sneaker - The Air Jordan 1.
A common issue for fake Jordan 1's and Air force 1's is the difficulty of getting the toe's profile correct.
It's typical for the toe profile on the sneakers to be overinflated or too small to contain the toes, causing owners significant discomfort when wearing them.
Moving to the perforations on the sneaker's toe box, these are the holes punched into the toe of every pair of AF1s.
These perforations often show the sneaker's authenticity as they can be challenging to execute.
Some of the things to look out for here are:
How are the perforations stacked? Are they evenly spaced, and is there an odd one out?
- Are the perforations fully perforated? Does the hole fully penetrate the shoe?
- Are the perforations ordered in a curved, wavey and natural manner or are they square and rigid - If they are stiff, they are likely fakes.
The lace buckle is the final area to examine around the toes of the shoes.
This Nike trademark buckle is typically finished in a shimmery metallic manner, whereas fake Nike AF1s tend to have a more matted, worn-out-looking lace buckle.
Check the Air Force's shoebox.
The Nike shoe box will vary depending on your sneakers' collaboration, model and year.
There are a few tell-tale signs on your sneakers box besides the UPC issue we mentioned.
For instance, are your sneakers being sold as new?
If so, is there wear to the box and, more specifically, is the label on the box worn out? - If so, they could be fake.
Using the label on the box is a standard key to determining a sneaker's authenticity, and it has been for a while.
Resalers are becoming privy to this and tearing and wearing the sneakers label before resale.
If you are buying from a resaler, question everything, and if the label's worn or even missing, our advice would be don't take the risk.
Resalers tend to cover up or remove these labels from the boxes for a good reason.
Counterfeit manufacturers often miss these things on fake Nike Air 1 shoe boxes.
The Text - Does the copy type match up with the original Nike Shoebox?
- The UPC - Is the unique product code on the box the same as the shoe's inner label
- Is the country of manufacturing displayed on the box the same as the country on the inside label?
- Is the label colour the right shade of grey? Fake labels are usually a darker grey similar to charcoal.
Buy Fake Sneakers - How and where you buy | The key to understanding your sneaker's authenticity.
So one area that's overlooked when determining the authenticity of your sneakers is the purchasing conditions themselves.
If you purchase sneakers out of the back of a van or on the street, the likelihood of your sneakers being fake is far higher than buying from a reputable seller.
Making a purchase directly from Nike.com is your best bet to avoid counterfeit sneakers. Other reputable sellers, like Amazon.com, will mitigate the risk too.
That's not to say fake sneakers aren't sold on Amazon because they are.
If you use a reseller to purchase your sneakers, ensure you have them legit checked first.
Using sneaker communities on social media is an excellent way to vet sneaker resellers but be wary. There are a few sharks out there.
A common way for sneaker resalers to sell fake Nike Air Force is to send the buyer a picture of an authentic pair of sneakers and then ship a fake pair.
You should always request a photo of the sneakers with the buyer holding up a card or piece of paper with their name or social handle to prove that the sneakers are theirs.
The final thing we believe is worth considering before purchasing your AF1s is the asking price.
Is the seller offering you a deal below market price or pressing for a quick sale?
Both of these are major red flags. After all, Air forces never struggle to sell, and we've expressed the demand for these sneakers above.
So what's the real reason for the urgency?
We appreciate there's a lot of detail and multiple factors to help you identify whether your sneakers are legit or not.
However, some factors carry more weight than others, so we wanted to give you a concise way to identify the legitimacy of your Nike Air Force ones.
How To I.D. Fake Nike Air Force Ones In Under 1 Minute.
- Examine the stitching throughout. Are there any obvious flaws or bumps?
Pay close attention to two areas:
- The summit of the swoosh on the side of the kicks (does the stitching go right into the corner?)
- The heel strap running down the back of the shoes (is the stitching flush with the edges and straight the entire way down?)
2. Check the Height of the Heel.
A quick check of the heel from the shoe's side profile will show whether it's too high.
Let's save the high heels for salsa dancing. High heels on your AF1s will bring blisters, and that's nothing worth dancing about.
3. Check the holes on your shoe's toe box
- Are the holes fully perforated? If just one of these isn't wholly punctured, your sneakers are likely fakes.
4. Did you buy from an authorized Nike resaler? If not, did you have the seller legit checked by a reliable source?
If the seller was in a rush to sell, pushy and offered the sneakers to you under market value, it's likely your kicks are fakes.
5. Does the UPC match the code on the shoe box?
- Check the inside tongue label and ensure the product code matches the shoe box your sneakers came in. If the two don't match up, your kicks are likely fake.
Any of these tells is a strong indicator of fake sneakers, and if multiple are true for you, I'm afraid to say your sneakers are likely fake.