Jordan 1 Real vs Fake

A pair of grey, black, and white Jordan 1s, with on its side and the other propped up against it.
Credit: Donald Martinez

A pair of grey, black, and white Jordan 1s, with on its side and the other propped up against it.
Credit: Donald Martinez

The allure of owning a pair of iconic Jordan 1s is undeniable. As one of the most sought-after sneakers in the world, their popularity has unfortunately spawned a flood of counterfeit versions. Unscrupulous sellers capitalise on the high demand, often leaving buyers unknowingly with fake replicas.

Spotting the differences between genuine and counterfeit Jordan 1s can be a challenging task, but fear not, for we have your back. In this article, we delve into the telltale signs and key details to help you navigate between some of the best sneakers ever made and their counterfeits.

From examining the materials, scrutinising the stitching, and decoding the overall shape, we will equip you with the knowledge and expertise to authenticate Jordan 1s. We're by no means experts though, so if you want to make sure you're buying legitimate shoes, we'd highly recommend checking out some of the best places to buy Jordans, as they are some of the most reliable sources for picking up the real deal.

Stick around for now though as we run through some tips and tricks to spotting whether some of the best Air Jordans ever made are real or fake.

What are fake Jordan 1s?

Fake Jordan 1s, also known as replicas or knock-offs, are counterfeit versions of the original Air Jordan 1 sneaker produced by Nike.

These fake shoes are designed to closely resemble authentic Jordan 1s, often mimicking the iconic design, colourways, and branding. However, fake Jordan 1s are produced and sold without the authorisation or quality control of Nike, making them illegal imitations.

What's more, counterfeit Jordan 1s can be made using substandard materials, inferior craftsmanship, and inaccurate details. While some fakes may look convincing at first glance, they often lack the durability, comfort, and overall quality of real ones. Therefore, knowing how to spot counterfeit sneakers is crucial to protect yourself from scams, ensuring you're copping genuine shoes each and every time.

How to tell if Jordan 1s are fake

When it comes to spotting fake Jordans, there are a few telltale signs of knock-off imitation. Here are some of the key ways you can spot counterfeits.

Compare the price to the Nike store

Air Jordan 1 High "Mauve" product image of a pair of white and purple leather Jordan 1 high-tops.
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Credit: Nike

The first port of call when trying to spot fake Jordan 1s is to check the price. If they're cheap, there's a high chance they're fake.

Generally speaking, Jordan 1 Highs retail for around $180 in adult sizing at the time of writing - take the "Mauve" Jordan 1 High as an example. Lows then cost around $110, while Mids typically retail for about $125. Make sure you keep these prices in mind when buying Jordan 1s online or in person.

Read More: Best places to buy sneakers

Check the Air Jordan wings logo

Air Jordan 1 "Lost and Found" close-up of the embossed black wings logo on red leather.
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Credit: Nike

Next up, and another fairly obvious tell, is the Air Jordan wings logo on the collar. For most Jordan 1s, this insignia should appear as though it's been pressed and stamped into the leather, giving it an embossed look.

Replicas will usually just feature a glossy, painted-on logo that will lack the same quality as the real thing. You may also notice the font of "AIR JORDAN" is different, or that there's some strange spacing between the letters.

Read More: Best Jordan 1 colourways

Check for an hourglass shape

Air Jordan 1 High "True Blue" product image from behind of a grey, white, and blue pair of sneakers.
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Credit: Nike

The silhouette of the Jordan 1 is iconic and one that can be tricky to replicate without the expertise and resources of Nike.

Therefore, keep an eye out for a distinct hourglass shape, with a top-heavy collar and chunky fit around the heel, but with a tapered centre. You should notice the sneaker start to come in around the Swoosh. Fake versions tend to feature a far less obvious hourglass figure.

Read More: Best Jordan 1 Highs

Inspect the tongue tab

Close-up of a Jordan 1 with pink laces' tongue tab featuring red Nike Air branding.
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Credit: Glodi Miessi

If you still can't tell, check the tongue logo. A common fault with fake Jordan 1s is they feature the Nike Air branding in an inaccurate size and can sometimes be misaligned as well.

On the back, you'll want to check the font and spacing of the text. You'll also want to inspect the material. If something feels off, like the quality isn't what you'd expect, then there's a high chance it's a fake.

Read More: Best Jordan 1 Mids

Check the stitching around the heel

Air Jordan 1 High "Lucky Green" close-up of a green heel with white and black details.
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Credit: Nike
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Moving around to the back of the shoe. You'll notice in the image above that a real Jordan 1 High features double-stacked stitching across the square panel connecting the upper to the lower part of the sneaker.

On a fake version, you'll typically find just a single stitch, making it a useful characteristic to look out for when trying to spot a fake.

Read More: Best Jordan 1 Lows

Investigate the Swoosh

Air Jordan 1 High "Black White" side profile of a black and white leather high-top.
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Credit: Nike

Of course, you can spot a counterfeit Jordan 1 by its iconic Swoosh as well. If you've ever tried to draw it, you'll know that getting the exact proportions and angles right is tough.

As a result, fake Jordans 1s can sometimes feature incorrectly sized Swooshes. They can also feature a far less pointy end, and be cut to an uneven size as it extends around to the back of the sneaker.

Read More: Best Jordan 1s under 200

Look over the toebox

Air Jordan 1 "Lost and Found" close-up the white and red toebox and its perforations.
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Credit: Nike

Our final point in our checklist on how to spot fake Jordans is to closely examine the toebox.

Some key signs your shoes are replicas are if the perforations are aligned irregularly, or if the holes don't go all the way through to the inside of your shoes. Both are common mistakes found in counterfeits.

Read More: Best Jordan collabs

Conclusion

Spotting fake Jordan 1s can be tough. Some replicas can be incredibly convincing, but on closer inspection, there's a high chance you'll notice some flaws.

The main things to check are the Air Jordan wings logo, if it has an hourglass silhouette, the branding on the tongue tab, the stitching across the heel, the Swoosh along the side, and the perforations in the toe box. If you find faults with any of the above, chances are the shoes are fake.

We can never know for sure though, unless you're purchasing directly from Nike or reputable retailers. However, there are authenticators out there who have experience in spotting fakes. Therefore, if you really want to know, your best bet is to send them off to prove, according to an authenticator's best judgement, that they're real.

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