Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by Ch David
This guide covers how to legit check fake vs real recently released sneakers through the barcode. 98% of the fakes will fail the barcode scan test, thus replicas will be revealed very fast using this method.
We’ll explain below why. Make sure you have downloaded our app to see all the legit check guides we’ve put out.
For every size and colourway combination, there’s one specific code.
For instance, there is one certain barcode for Yeezy Boost 350 V1, Oxford Tan colourway, size US10.
Then, there’s another barcode for the same Yeezy Boost 350 Oxford Tan, size US11. And so on. All these serial numbers are unique.
Think of it this way: fake manufacturers will not waste time and money (especially money) on buying every single size of the shoe they replicate.
They would do that if they would want to get this unique code right for every fake they produce.
What they do, in fact, is probably buy a few authentic pairs and focus on the shoe rather than the box. At the end of the day, people wear the product, not the box.
How do we authenticate through the barcode test, then? We will be checking whether our barcode matches other authentic barcode labels on the market.
However, if the barcode test is passed, it doesn’t mean the pair is definitely authentic — anything is possible, including a scammer taking the original box and swapping them with fake shoes.
A passed barcode test does not automatically classify the pair as authentic. Only a failed barcode test would automatically classify the pair as fake.
The barcode scan test works only one way.
It’d be a mistake to believe a passed barcode test implies that the pair is authentic
We’ll explain below how to do that easily.
In my opinion, I don’t think the barcode will ever be perfectly right on the full-size run of fakes, as there’s no point for fake manufacturers to invest time and money in this extra small detail.
If anything, this serial number is the last 0.5% in the process of perfectly replicating authentic shoes.
Sometimes, though, the barcode is correct on the fake shoe box: a broken clock is right twice a day. If the fake manufacturers bought a retail US9.5, the replica US9.5 will have the correct code — but the rest of the size run will not.
What our barcode scan function does is it generates a Google search for the UPC/EAN product code.
Here’s where the reader has to judge — if there are some or a lot of confirmations points for that code (thus, the size-colourway combination), the box is authentic.
For recently released sneakers, the usual barcode scanning test is not available, as it takes time for all these barcodes to be registered by people online.
However, it’s still possible to easily authenticate a pair of sneakers using this QR code test.
What you need to do first is find a source where you can get pictures with legit pairs of box labels.
I would recommend GOAT (but there are other sources, read below). Pick your model and your size and most of the listing will have a picture with the barcode/QR code visible.
To explain this process visually, I’ll use the example of an Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Beluga pair, sized US8 (UK7.5 or EU 41 1/3).
Say I’ve got this pair below with the 4057287941553 barcode and I don’t know whether it’s legit or not.
1. I’ll go to Goat.com and click “search”. I’ll type in my model.
2. I’ll select what I’m looking for and click on “BUY USED” — that’s where the listing from users are placed and I can find there the barcode I’m looking for.
3. Use this to save time: click the filter, and pick the size you’re looking for. US8 in my case here.
4. In this step, I’ll skim through the pictures in every listing without clicking on them — the website might block you for spamming it if you do that.
Once I find what looks like a clear picture where I can actually read the barcode, I’ll open that listing to compare my code with the one from the picture.
Here we are, I found 4057287941553 as the “supposedly” legit barcode. If you have doubts, check other GOAT listings as well to see if the code matches, but what we’re aiming to do is the following:
You will want to check whether the barcode of the box you’re checking is matching the multitude of legit barcode you’ll find online.
Want the expert's advice? Let us legit check for you.
ATTENTION: Barcodes sometimes vary with the type of box label — this applies mostly to Adidas listings. Nike boxes will be the same most of the time.
Although it’s not a rule, the Canadian and European barcodes start with “4”, while the US barcodes start with “1”. Again, not a rule. Make sure you find multiple authentic barcodes that match your specific type of label and then make the call.
And there you go: we’ve found one confirmation for this barcode, so all’s good (for the box). Look out for more confirmation points until you’re sure you’ve got a legit box.
Be wary though, though unlikely, it is possible that scammers might put fake shoes in an authentic box. Make sure you read the other legit checkpoints we’ve detailed in the other articles.
Because we’re talking about a new release, there will be lots of posts on Facebook groups and other marketplaces.
Ideally, you can ask a friend or ask the members of a Facebook group gathered around sneakers or streetwear to send pictures of their box labels if you really can’t find any online.
Some other places worth considering:
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Thank you for reading this,
Ch Daniel and Ch David
Cover credits: Shane Griffin, Jose Checa, Morten Kuhl