(2024) How To Spot Fake Jordans: The Official Guide

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Ch David
How to tell if Jordans are fake
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Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Ch David

Fake sneakers are all over the market, especially Jordans. In this guide, we’re teaching you how to spot fake Air Jordans.

All types of Jordans can be legit checked here.

How to tell if Air Jordans are fake

You can tell if Jordans are fake by checking if they’re too cheap and by looking at the size tag. Fake Jordans tend to be cheaper, and they never use the right font for the text on the size tag

1. Price check

Reference picture: Dior Jordan 1s.

The fake Jordans above are actually replicas — it’s not just a guess.
  • Authentic: Appropriate pricing for its demand.
  • Fake: Way cheaper than usual. Rings a bell, doesn’t it?

These are fake due to the Swoosh’s “Dior” print. More in our Dior Jordan 1 Swoosh here.

Always check the price of your Jordans first.

  • If the price is suspiciously low, there is a high change they’re fakes
  • However, you can also just get lucky and look at a real pair.

Though, this is just something to begin with.

That’s why we have many other checks on the actual shoes in this guide.

Expert Legit Check - Let our team look at your Jordans:

2. Size tag

As new shoes come out, Nike x Air Jordan constantly update their size tags.

So, there are a few batches we’ll look at:

  • 2020s
  • 2010s
  • 2000s
  • 1990s

Fear not, we’ll take them one by one.

2.1. Era: 2020s

Reference real vs fake image: Jordan 4 University Blue.

  • Factory Inscription: VW1
    • Authentic: “VW1” text is thin and narrow.
    • Fake: “VW1” text is notably thicker and larger.
  • Style Code: CT8527-400
    • Authentic: Text, especially “CT,” is thick and letters are connected.
    • Fake: Text is improperly thick, and “CT” letters are separate.
  • UPC Code
    • Authentic: UPC code text is visibly thick.
    • Fake: UPC code text is too thin.

2.2. Era: 2010s

For your reference: Jordan 11 Concord.

  • Style Code
    • Authentic: Displays appropriately spaced and proportional text.
    • Fake: Features overly thick text, causing inadequate spacing between characters.
  • Manufacturing Text
      • Authentic: Text is moderate and well-detailed.
      • Fake: Text appears excessively thick and less refined.
    • Manufacturing Date
      • Authentic: Text is slender and clearly legible.
      • Fake: Text is overly thick, affecting legibility.

2.3. Older: 2000s, 1990s

Above are two authentic size tags from the Concord 11s:

  • Left: 2000
  • Right: 1995

These are so old they’re not even faked.

However, it’s our job to show you what they look like.

3. Interior tongue

Always start with this label if your Jordans have it.

It can instantly tell fakes.

There are multiple types of labels, so we’ll look at each.

3.1. Nike and the Swoosh name

  • Font Thickness & Text
    • Authentic: Thicker, standard font; generally straight text lines.
    • Fake: Thinner font; notably wavy text.
  • Word & Letter Spacing
    • Authentic: Regular and consistent spacing.
    • Fake: Irregular, with odd gaps in phrases like “MADE IN CHINA.”

Authentic tags may have slight flaws, but stil lhave noticeably higher quality than fakes.

3.2. Quality basketball

  • Authentic: Features thinner, finer text.
  • Fake: Displays notably thicker text.

3.3. Air Jordan

Some shows will simply say “AIR JORDAN” — either upside down or normally.

  • Commonly seen on Jordan 3, 4, 5.
  • Reference image: Jordan 5.
  • Authentic: All letters exhibit uniform font-weight and appropriate stitching.
  • Fake: Text appears overly thick and is improperly stitched into the label.

That’s it for the inside of the tongue.

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.

4. Jordan logo

Reference image: Jordan 1 Banned.

  • “AIR JORDAN” Text
    • Authentic: Exhibits a standard and proportionate text thickness.
    • Fake: Displays overly thick text.
  • “TM” Text
    • Authentic: Standard and legible text size and thickness.
    • Fake: Appears too small and thin.

5. Logo wings

Reference image: Jordan 1 Court Purple.

  • Authentic: Wings are placed closely with uniform spacing between each wing.
  • Fake: Wings are situated too far away from each other, lacking consistent spacing.

6. Back

On the back, you’ll find different logos depending on your model:

  • Jumpman
  • Nike AIR
  • Jumpman AIR

Let’s check them out.

6.1. Jumpman

Pictured below: Jordan 4 Black Cat.

  • Authentic:
    • Features thicker, deeper, and robust stitching around the Jumpman logo.
  • Fake:
    • Exhibits inconsistent, thin, short, and sparse stitching.
    • Utilizes fewer threads than the authentic pair.

6.2. Nike AIR

Below are the Air Jordan 3.

  • “NIKE” Text
    • Authentic: Displays thinner and well-defined text.
    • Fake: Has conspicuously thick text.
  • “A I R” Text
    • Authentic: Presents thicker and wider text.
    • Fake: Appears too thin and too narrow.

6.3. Jumpman AIR

This picture also belongs to the Air Jordan 3 guide.

  • Rear Jumpman Logo
    • Authentic: Standard size and posture.
    • Fake: Appears too curvy and small.
  • “A I R” Text
    • Authentic: Exhibits text that is not overly thick and maintains appropriate width.
    • Fake: Displays text that is too thick and narrow, lacking the width of the authentic pair’s text.

7. Swoosh

Nike’s logo is called “Swoosh” — you’ll find it on the side of most Jordan.s

7.1. Stitching

Reference: Travis Scott x Jordan 1 Low Reverse Mocha.

  • Authentic:
    • Features thicker and longer stitches.
  • Fake:
    • Displays stitches that are too thin and too short.

7.2. Extra threads

The picture is from the Jordan 1 Mid guide.

  • Stitching
    • Authentic: Consistent in length and thickness for each stitch.
    • Fake: Features stitches of varied lengths and thicknesses, revealing improper weighting and shaping.
  • Logo Placement
    • Authentic: Logo is securely and seamlessly adhered to the shoes.
    • Fake: Displays a logo that is improperly glued, showing visible detachment.
  • Extra Threads in the Swoosh
    • Fake: Noticeable excess threads are not fittingly integrated into the Swoosh, indicating lesser quality control.

7.3. Shape

This picture is of the Jordan 1 Chicago.

  • Authentic: Features a Nike Swoosh that is curvier.
  • Fake: Has a Swoosh that curves too late, making it appear longer than the authentic one.

7.4. Placement

Below are the Union Jordan 1s.

  • Authentic: The Swoosh is positioned lower, being closer to the midsole.
  • Fake: The Swoosh is placed too high, exhibiting too much distance from the midsole.

8. Perforations

Picture comes from the Jordan 1 Volt Gold guide.

  • Authentic: The holes are of reduced size and more slender.
  • Fake: The holes are broader.

9. Sole stars

Compared below are the Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard.

  • Authentic: Stars exhibit clear and distinct definitions (pertains solely to new pairs).
  • Fake: The stars on the soles lack precision and exhibit a more curved appearance.

10. Exterior tongue

We’ve got two types of tongues:

  • Jumpman
  • Nike AIR
  • Jumpman AIR
  • Flight
  • Air Jordan

Let’s begin.

10.1. Jumpman

Below are the Jordan 13s.

  • Authentic: Jumpman logo with consistent stitching weight throughout its body.
  • Fake: Features a Jumpman logo that appears too thick and has inconsistent stitching weight, with some body parts thicker or thinner than others.

10.2. Nike AIR

This picture is from our Jordan 1 General-Colorway Guide.

  • Authentic:
    • Presents a distinct curvature and clean lines along the swoosh.
  • Fake:
    • Showcases a different swoosh curvature and fuzzy, imprecise lines, especially noticeable on the right side of the “AIR” text and exterior edges.

10.3. Jumpman AIR

This is most common with the Jordan 1 Mid.

  • Authentic:
    • Features a well-proportioned Jumpman logo and standard “A I R” text.
    • Exhibits stitching that is thicker and shorter, especially at the bottom of the tongue tag.
  • Fake:
    • Displays a too-thick Jumpman logo and “A I R” text that is both too thick and too wide.
    • Has stitching that is too thin and long.

10.4. Flight

Find the Jordan 4 Off-White below.

  • Authentic:
    • Has even, well-placed, and proportionate stitching.
  • Fake:
    • Exhibits stitching that is both too thick and too short.
    • Features threads that are misaligned, with some being crooked and positioned too low.

10.5. Air Jordan

Common with the Jordan 2 Off-White.

  • Authentic:
    • The stitching surrounding the Air Jordan logo is slender and elongated…
    • Creating an “airy” look.
    • There are no loose threads protruding from the stitching line.
  • Fake:
    • Stitching appears excessively thick, short, and rigid.
    • You may observe stray threads protruding from the stitching line.
    • A characteristic not found in genuine pairs.

11. Toe box

Featured below are the Jordan 9.

  • Authentic: Sports a thinner and slightly deflated toe box.
  • Fake: Presents a toe box that is notably lifted, appearing thicker and over-inflated.

12. Footbed

Remove your Jordan’s insole to access the footbed.

Referenced below are the Travis Scott x Jordan 1 x Fragment High.

  • Authentic:
    • Demonstrates moderate stitching density with fewer stitches and more space between each thread.
    • Utilizes threads that are shorter, boxier, and thicker.
  • Fake:
    • Exhibits excessive stitching density with too many threads placed closely together.
    • Features stitching that is both too long and too thin, resulting in a longer and narrower appearance of threads.

13. Jumpman

This is the logo stitched on the side of some Jordans.

You’ll find it on the Jordan 11 Concord.

  • Authentic:
    • Correct stitching density and a clean, proportional look.
  • Fake:
    • Displays incorrect stitching density for the Jumpman.
    • Exhibits an overall look that is too thin.
    • Features sharp and messily finished stitches on the edges of the Jumpman’s body.
    • Has fingers on the Jumpman that appear too thick.

14. Sole logo

14.1. NIKE ®

This picture is from our general Jordan 1 guide.

  • Authentic: Not explicitly described, but implied to utilize a standard “R” in the ® character.
  • Fake: Uses an “R” in the ® character that exhibits a notably bigger loop.

14.2. Jumpman

Below are the real vs fake soles of the Jordan 4 UNC.

  • Authentic:
    • Features a Jumpman logo that appears thinner due to a narrower outline.
  • Fake:
    • Displays a Jumpman logo with an outline that is both too deep and too thick, making it appear overly wide.

15. Suede effect

Very relevant way to spot fake Jordans with suede fabric.

Pictured below are the Travis Scott Jordan 4s.

  • Authentic:
    • Displays a prominently highlighted suede effect.
    • Leaves darker paths and traces upon being touched or brushed with a finger.
  • Fake:
    • Also leaves traces but of inferior quality due to a less pronounced and highlighted suede effect.

16. Reflectiveness

16.1. Tongue

These are the Off-White Jordan 5 Sail.

  • Authentic:
    • Features a shine that is more defined, less blurry, and appears shinier.
  • Fake:
    • Exhibits a shine that is too blurry and not as defined or shiny as the authentic pair.

16.2. Whole shoe

Below are the Air Jordan 13s.

  • Authentic:
    • Exhibits a prominent and substantial glow around their material when light is applied.
  • Fake:
    • Demonstrates a notably poor and dimmer glow from their material in similar lighting conditions.

17. Rear patch

Common with any Jordan 1s.

Below are the Jordan 1 A Ma Manieré.

  • Authentic: The patch has a shorter length.
  • Fake: The patch seems excessively tall.

18. Insole

You may find the NIKE AIR® logo on the Travis Scott Jordan 1 High and other pairs.

  • Authentic: Not explicitly described, but implied to have a thinner font, adequate letter spacing, and less shiny print.
  • Fake:
    • Uses a thicker font which results in reduced letter spacing, both at the top and bottom of the text.
    • Displays shinier print, including on the Cactus Jack logo, even if not prominently visible in certain comparison images.

19. Midsole

Find the Fragment Jordan 3 below.

  • Authentic: The midsole stitching on the authentic pair is characterized by its thinner and shorter appearance.
  • Fake: Displays thicker and longer stitching on the midsole.

20. Stitching

Below are the regular Jordan 3s.

  • Authentic:
    • Features two stitching lines that are placed closely to each other.
  • Fake:
    • Has stitching lines with too little gap in-between, which doesn’t align with the stitching on authentic Air Jordan 3 sneakers.

21. Hourglass shape

Note: This is specific to the Jordan 1.

Below are the Jordan 1 Pine Green.

  • Authentic:
    • Exhibits a chunkier and curvier appearance at the top and bottom, while being somewhat narrower in the middle, creating an “hourglass” shape.
  • Fake:
    • Tends to appear curvy but lacks the pronounced curves of authentic pairs, often missing the distinctive “hourglass” shape and appearing more tubular overall.

22. Box label

22.1. Newer boxes

This is a Jordan 11 Bred‘s box.

  • Authentic:
    • Exhibits thinner inscriptions on the box label.
  • Fake:
    • Features text on the box label that appears too thick in comparison.

22.2. Older boxes

Found on older Jordan 1s and other models.

  • Authentic:
    • Uses a specific font for numbers and letters where they almost touch each other.
    • Has consistently printed text with no missing parts.
  • Fake:
    • Deploys a different font for numbers, such as “8,” which is bolder and alters the design (e.g., bottom end of “8” is wider, and interior spaces are smaller).
    • Exhibits visible spacing between letters and possibly uses a different font for text.
    • Contains text that may not be completely printed in some instances.

Shortlist: Check if a Jordan is legit

  1. Price
    • Suspiciously low
    • Heavy discounts
  2. Box
    • Incorrect label information (size, colorway, etc.)
    • Poor quality or incorrect box color and logo
    • Absence of a stamp or sticker (some regions have them)
  3. Logo
    • Incorrect Jumpman logo (wrong proportions or stitching)
    • “AIR JORDAN” wings logo (look for inconsistencies in size, font, or placement)
  4. Material Quality
    • Cheap or incorrect materials (compare with authentic pairs)
    • Inconsistent color compared to genuine pairs
  5. Stitching
    • Sloppy, uneven, or inconsistent stitching
    • Wrong color of the stitching thread
  6. Smell
    • Strong chemical odor (authentic Jordans do not have a strong chemical smell)
  7. Tongue Tag
    • Mismatched or incorrect fonts/symbols
    • Inaccurate or inconsistent stitching
  8. Insole
    • Poorly glued or easily removable insoles
    • Incorrect logo or text on the insole
  9. Sole
    • Inaccurate color or pattern on the sole
    • Difference in the tread pattern
  10. Size Tag
    • Misprinted text or incorrect font
    • Inaccurate production date
  11. Shape
    • Incorrect toe box shape (too boxy or narrow)
    • Misshapen ankle collar or heel
  12. Lace Quality
    • Wrong color, length, or material of the laces
  13. Weight
    • Unusual heaviness or lightness compared to authentic pairs
  14. Details
    • Inconsistent or incorrect details (like the Nike Swoosh shape, positioning, etc.)
  15. Receipt
    • Lack of receipt or proof of purchase from a reputable retailer
  16. Buying Platform
    • Be cautious with unverified sellers or platforms
  17. Authenticity Card
    • Jordan Brand doesn’t include authenticity cards. If it has one, it’s likely fake.

Use this list while comparing with a known authentic pair to spot differences more effectively.

Expert Jordan Legit Check

Need a legit check for your Air Jordans? Do you prefer an expert do it?

We’ve got your back:

  • Send us pictures of your Jordans.
  • We’ll get back to you in 24-48 hours (usually less than that)
  • And we’ll issue an in-depth authenticity report for your Jordans.
  • This way, you’ll easily understand why your Jordans are real or fake.

This is it. You’ve reached the end of our Jodan legit check guide!

Need our opinion on your item’s authenticity? It’s a service we provide.

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Alternatively, use our free resources: written guides and video tutorials.

Thank you for reading this,

Ch Daniel and Ch David

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About the Author

David is the co-founder and co-CEO of Legit Check By Ch. David's experience: 5+ years of creating educational content in the fashion industry. 6+ years of authenticating luxury items. Currently, David is the Head Editor of the LCBC Library, where 1,000,000+ words have been published, in free guides, for over 1,000 items.
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