How You Can Tell If Jordan 1s Are Fake (2023)

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Ch Daniel
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Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Ch Daniel

Want to learn how to spot fake Air Jordan 1s that are out there on the market?

Scared of getting scammed?

We’ve created the most comprehensive legit check guide for the Nike Air Jordan 1.

Here’s the quick poster on how to authenticate Jordan 1 shoes – but do scroll below for side-by-side pictures!

real vs fake nike air jordan 1
This image portrays an infographic guide that applies to 90% of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High colourways. Continue reading for a fully detailed guide!

How do you check if your Jordan 1s are real? (or fake)

You can check if your Air Jordan 1 are real by looking at the tongue tag: if the text is waving, the shoes are fake.

  • If the text is unclear, wavy (slanted) or too thin, then you’re looking at a fake.
  • Besides, inspect the Air Jordan logo for any inconsistency such as:
    • Overlapping characters
    • Too much space between characteres
    • Or uneven letters

Let’s have a deeper look.

1. Tongue tag

Fast answer: The fake Jordan 1 pairs always have their tongue label’s text waving instead of straight.

real vs fake air jordan 1
  • A thinner font is used on the fake Air Jordan 1 tag
  • As a consequence, the font is sometimes illegible

The highlighted points show some quick giveaways for the thinner font, but the most important one is the “CHINA” text comparison.

  • The “A” is not entirely legible in the fake example
  • The H letter is wider.
  • As a reminder: it’s not easy for you to remember these things, so we recommend comparing your pair’s label with the ones found in guide

What do you have to look after when we’re referencing poorly-printed text?

  • Look at the highlighted French “VOTRE” on the Jordan 1 tag
  • Can you notice how the “E” in “GARANTIE” is not entirely printed?

Worth mentioning as well is that this is a high-quality replica, thus wavy text does not occur as often as we’ll see soon — but even so, you can notice the aforementioned details.

Why do these errors happen on fake pairs? These elements are where the replica manufacturers will compromise.

Let’s move on to another comparison.

fake vs real jordan 1

Over here, the wavy text we’ve mentioned earlier is a glaring flaw on the counterfeit Air Jordan 1.

  • The flaws are very visible in the “SWOOSH®” text
  • We’ve isolated the zoomed-in text to draw your attention to the different fonts used.
  • That is noticeable in the ® character example but it’s even more visible in the “O” letter’s case.
  • The fake “O” looks more like a zero, given its taller shape.
  • The real Air Jordan 1 tag says “EN CHINE” for its French translation, while the fake one comes with the “CHINA” text.

2. Hourglass shape

how to spot fake air jordan 1

Let us draw these lines on top of the comparison to help you understand better.

air jordan 1 legit check guide
  • The fake Air Jordan 1 is almost straight, from this angle
  • The original AJ1 is curving in two places: above and below the medial line.
  • Below the medial line, keep in mind that the sneaker has to have almost a bell-shaped bottom in order for it to be authentic.

Please note that this flaw is hard to spot when wearing the Jordans.

Top-tier replicas sometimes get this thing right so it’s not the most reliable tell.

Nonetheless, it might save you minutes when authenticating since the large majority of fakes are not from the top-tier category.

Let’s look at a second example:

how to legit check air jordan 1

Check out other Air Jordan 1 High legit check tutorials: Travis Scott AJ1 High, Union AJ1 High, Dark Mocha AJ1 High.

3. Bulkiness

air jordan 1 shape legit check guide

Something replica creators seem to not get right is the overall shape of the sneaker, making it too bulky.

  • On the authentic pair, the box curves a tiny bit
  • As a consequence, highlighted in the lower left corner, the sneaker’s sole sits higher

Let’s look at a second comparison:

air jordan 1 fake vs real check guide

Not sure whether you have a fake Jordan 1 pair? Let our experts help you decide definitively whether your pair is the real deal or not.

Get our opinion

4. Jordan 1 logo

As you will see in the pictures below, fake manufacturers manage to replicate 90 to 98% of the logo right, but there are some shortcomings.

4.1 Nike Air Jordan logo #1 analysis

how to spot real vs fake jordan 1
  • The authentic Jordan Wings logo comes with thinner letters (except for the TM character)
  • The overall quality of the print is lower on the fake
  • The “A” character is significantly thinner on the authentic pair
  • Notice how the fake “A” outlines are also fuzzier.

The “J” and “O” are not completely separate on the fake Air Jordan 1. Whereas on the authentic AJ1 example, there is definitely spacing between the two.

  • This same flaw can be noticed between “D” and “A” on the fake Air Jordan 1.
  • The “R” letter lacks precision on the fake example — once again, this is a compromise made by the fake manufacturers so that they can save money.
  • The ™ character is too small on the replica Jordans — and thinner

And here’s one of the most important things on how to spot the fake Nike Air Jordan 1:

Pay attention to the spacing between these “wings” elements on the fake logo. Notice how there’s less space between elements on the authentic pair.

On top of that, the fake elements are less defined (showing fuzzier lines).

This is a very common flaw for the fake Jordans! For instance, you’ll always see the fake Air Jordan 1 University Blue pairs with this flaw as well.

4.2 Nike Air Jordan logo #2 analysis

air jordan logo real vs fake
  • We can notice that the fake letters are not bold, like in the previous comparison
  • But they’re also not getting the right amount of font weight
  • The fake Jordan logo here has very thin letters
    • (So thin that in some cases they’re not completely legible)
  • Notice the fake A’s horizontal line. Or the highlighted line in the “D” letter that’s thin and inconsistent.
  • The “J” character seems to be different
  • The fake “J” is taller than the other letters.
  • The ™ character on the fake pair is too thick, quite the contrast from the previously analysed replica.

However, the most glaring flaw here is: the “wings” elements are too close to each other.

So close that they’re touching and sometimes even overlapping.

If there’s one thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to telling real vs fake Air Jordan 1 logos, it’s this: the original shoe must have a high level of precision and detail.

4.3 Nike Air Jordan logo #3 analysis

fake air jordan 1 logo

This used to be a very common flaw in the past but it’s been majorly fixed.

  • The R and D in “JORDAN” should always be connected.

A quick mention:

  • The steps we’ve written so far are the BEST ways to authenticate this item
  • The next few steps are still reliable methods…
  • … but they apply to non-top-versions of replicas available for this item

If in doubt, we recommend double-checking the steps we’ve explained above this line.

5. Nike Swoosh

how to authenticate air jordan 1
  • Fake Jordans come with a bulkier end of the Nike swoosh
  • The swoosh logo is supposed to be pointy

6. Toe box (perforations/holes)

how to tell fake air jordan 1
  • On the fake pair, these holes are too big,
  • The perforations come in different shapes and sizes, in the fake example.
  • They may also be not fully perforated
  • (Thus revealing lower quality manufacturing equipment)

Here’s something else we want to point out:

air jordan 1 fake check guide
  • Toe box holes cannoted be positioned differently.
  • With the fake Jordan 1 pair above, notice the different spacing between the formation and the coloured suede panel

Keep an eye out for this flaw on the Air Jordan 1 Pine Green as well. They’re pretty common with this issue on the toe box!

7. NIKE logo on the sole

In the middle of the sole, you will be able to spot the NIKE logo.

fake air jordan 1 high
  • Notice the different “R” letters used in the ® character.
  • The fake R in ® comes with a bigger loop.

8. Box label

Since this is a universal guide for any Air Jordan 1, we won’t analyse the text of the label per se, since it ranges based on what edition you’ve got (or looking to get).

air jordan 1 real vs fake guide

However, we want to teach you how to spot inconsistencies.

Notice how the “8” uses a different font on the fake Air Jordan 1 box label, since:

  1. The bottom end of the 8 is wider
  2. The overall font for these numbers is bolder on the fakes
  3. As a consequence of #2, the space inside the holes of the 8 is smaller on the replica Jordan 1 box

The second thing we’ve highlighted is not necessarily the BLACK/STARFISH-SAIL and the BLACK/VARSITY RED-STARFISH text.

  • We want to point out how the real Air Jordan 1 box label has these letters almost touching each other.
  • The fake Jordan 1 box has visible spacing between these letters
  • And the font is different
  • Some text is not completely printed

9. “Nike Air” logo (on tongue tag)

In the next comparison, we’re going to have a look at the NIKE AIR logo found on the exterior side of the aforementioned tongue tag.

how can i spot fake air jordan 1
  • The Nike swoosh has a different shape
  • As you can see, the curvature of the swoosh is slightly different.
  • The fake swoosh is also fuzzier

This is also noticed on the rest of the swoosh: pay attention to the fuzzy lines on the exterior edge of the swoosh.

In other words, on the right side of the AIR text.

10. Sole pattern

how to tell fake air jordan 1s
  • You’ll notice a star/asterisk pattern on the sole of the shoes
  • What we can observe here is that there are differences in density when it comes to these stars.

11. Rear leather patch

how to spot fake air jordan 1 high

This is often noticed on the fake Jordan 1 Bred Banned colourway.

  • This leather patch that’s at the intersection point of the two swooshes has a different shape and size on authentic Jordan 1s
  • As a side note: notice the hourglass shape flaw that’s visible on the replica pair, given the straight silhouette of the shoe.

What do fake Jordan 1s smell like?

Fake Air Jordan 1s have a strong smell of glue, suggesting it was made in a replica factory. You’ll see fake Jordan 1s smelling like chemicals and lots of cardboard, for instance.

An authentic pair doesn’t necessarily have a smell. Though, you’ll instantly notice a fake pair if it smells a lot like chemicals.

Shortlist: 11 ways to spot a fake Jordan 1 pair (60-sec)

In a rush? Here’s a quick summary of the steps we’ve shared today: 

  1. Check the tongue of the shoe for inconsistencies: The text on the shoe should be straight and clear instead of wavy.
  2. Check the shape of the shoe: Fakes will often have a rounder, more hourglass-like shape.
  3. Check the bulkiness of the shoe: Authentic Air Jordan 1s will usually have less bulk and a slimmer curvature around the shoe.
  4. Check the Logo for any inconsistencies: Generally, the logo on real Jordan 1s will be thinner and fuzzier.
  5. Inspect the Nike Swoosh: The Swoosh will be thicker on any inauthentic Jordan 1s.
  6. Check the Toe Box: Ensure that the holes are both the right size and fully perforated and that the toe box isn’t too bulky.
  7. Take a Look at the Nike Logo on the Sole: Ensure that the ® symbol looks correct and isn’t too big.
  8. Ensure the Box Label is Correct: Often, fake box labels will have incorrect fonts and look different to a standard box label.
  9. Check the Nike Air Logo on the Tongue Tag: The swoosh will usually be fuzzier on fake Jordan 1s.
  10. Look at the Sole: The star pattern on the sole will look different on a fake, as there will be a difference in the density and size of the stars.
  11. Look out for the leather patch on the rear of the shoe: Fake trainers may have the ‘hourglass shape’ flaw.

If you have any doubts about the authenticity of your Air Jordan 1s, get in touch with our experts at LegitCheck today. We can easily help you work out whether you own real vs fake Air Jordan 1s. 

What are Air Jordan 1s?

Air Jordan 1s are basketball sneakers produced by Nike, in collaboration with legendary basketball star Michael Jordan, under the Air Jordan brand.

The Air Jordan 1s were the first line of sneakers launched for the Air Jordan brand. They were created in 1985 for use in Jordan’s basketball career, during his Chicago Bulls era. Because of this, they’ve become one of the most iconic sneakers in the world.

Many different types of Air Jordan 1s have been made over the years. A lot of these have become collectible due to the iconic nature of the shoe, and the rarity of some of the more valuable variants of the Jordan 1. 

For example, the Jordan 1 Retro High Travis Scott has an asking price of +$1,400 on StockX. While appearing retro in style, these shoes were created in late 2019. However, the unique design and low supply has led to these sneakers becoming incredibly collectible since their release.

With StockX listings commanding +$30k for original 1985 Air Jordan 1s, these shoes are easily one of the most collectible ever. Whether you’re a collector or just love wearing them, ensuring to legit check Air Jordan 1s is important when purchasing them.

Why legit check Air Jordan 1s?

As with any other high-value collectibles, Air Jordan 1s are incredibly susceptible to counterfeiting and fakes. This is why it’s important to legit check them, and to make sure you’re knowledgeable about the differences between real vs fake Air Jordan 1s.

Checking straight away to ensure that your newly bought sneakers are real Jordan 1s is crucial., Realising too late means that you can’t potentially file a dispute with the marketplace or payment processor you bought them from.

Buying sneakers from reputable sellers and official stores is the best way to ensure that you’re not going to be scammed beforehand. Still, making sure to legit check Air Jordan 1s wherever you’ve bought them from is incredibly important, as a reseller may have missed a fake.

Unsure about how to legit check Air Jordan 1s? Want to make sure that they’re real with a full certificate of authenticity? LegitCheck is the best and easiest way to make sure you don’t get scammed by fake Air Jordan 1s and other fake sneakers and collectibles.

Expert authentication service

It’s crucial to ensure that your knowledge is up to date before making any large collectible purchase, as you don’t want to be scammed by any bad-faith actors. With this guide, checking your Air Jordan 1s for basic signs of counterfeiting is simple. 

However, the best way to ensure that your collectible sneakers are real is with Legit Check. Instead of having to worry about whether you’re checking correctly, we can easily ensure that you’ve received the real item that you’ve paid for. 

Our expert team is knowledgeable and swift, helping you have the sanctity of mind that your collectibles are in fact legitimate. Plus, we offer top-tier services such as certificates of authenticity and the Legit Check Club, where you can subscribe monthly to save throughout our site.

Get our opinion

The process is simple: send us pictures of the pair you want legit checked and we’ll come back with a verdict in 24 to 48 hours (sometimes even faster).

Thank you for reading this,

Ch Daniel and Ch David

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About the Author

Ch Daniel is the co-founder and co-CEO of Legit Check By Ch, one of the world's leading companies in product authentications. Daniel's experience: 8+ years in the luxury industry, 7+ years in the authentication industry, 10+ years of business development. Currently, Daniel is overseeing the development of new products of Legit Check By Ch.
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