How to Spot Replica & Knockoff Shoes: Guide to Fake Footwear
So, you’re a big fan of designer shoes, and, before buying another pair you’d really like to make sure you are getting what you paid for and not getting ripped-off. No replica’s, counterfeit’s or knock-offs for you! The only problem is you’ve never seen a replica and despite your knowledge of brands and designers, you’re just a little apprehensive about making a very costly mistake.
What an amazing, informative and surprising topic this is for the next luncheon or get together with friends. Designer fashions are highly coveted and collected these days, making them the focal point and target of many a knock-off manufacturer. We’ve all heard about art work, money and of course identities all being counterfeited and sold illegally. It’s true that many designers are just so talented and good at what they do, there are people willing to manufacturer and market sub-standard counterfeits hoping to capitalize on their success.
Like an extension of one’s own personality, these awesome designer items say volumes about us without ever having to utter a word. “I’m savvy, sophisticated and stylish,” whispers your Gucci shoes as you saunter over to your favorite booth in a restaurant. “I’m cool and I’m able to afford the real thing,” says your authentic Adidas 3D printed shoe, retailing for $2500. Whatever you’re into; athletic wear, luggage, purses or jewelry, I can guarantee there is a designer who can read your mind, knows your taste and designs the exact suit, dress or heels that will drive you mad with desire.
“So, how can I get my hands on one of these?” you ask, looking sadly at your single mom’s paycheck. Between the kids, childcare and groceries, treating yourself to a clutch by Celine is an impossibility unless you sell your car and walk to work for the rest of the year. Just then, your oldest daughter comes home from high-school, laughing and giggling with her best friend who is dancing around your living room showing off the very clutch you’ve been dreaming about. “Look what I got online for a song,” she sings. “Yeah, my sister knows a guy who sells all this designer stuff at a fraction of the price”.
What Exactly is a Counterfeit? Why do They Exist?
Understanding the Basic Motivation and Most Likely Targets
To counterfeit a product is to produce an item as close to the original as possible. Counterfeit products are fakes manufactured without authorization to replicate the real product. Counterfeit products are most often manufactured and sold with the intent of taking advantage of the excessive value of the designer product. The word counterfeit frequently describes both the forgeries of currencies and official documents, as well as the imitating such items as fashions, purses, shoes, drugs (pharmaceuticals), car and airplane parts, watches, electronics (parts and finished products), computer software, artwork, toys, and films. The following steps have been listed to serve as a checklist in your pursuit of discernment in buying an authentic item or replica.
Step#1: Scrutinize and Compare the Labels
Really take a good, hard look at the logo. Replicas usually have fake company branding and logos. This is defined as a patent or, trademark infringement. These items have earned the reputation of sub-standard quality resulting in useless or harmful elements.
In the aviation and automobile worlds counterfeits have been responsible for thousands of deaths due to faulty parts and manufacturing.
Reports of poisoning and death from counterfeit drugs and medicines have also been reported in the thousands as well.
Step #2: Examine the Packaging
When it comes to determining whether shoes are replicas it’s imperative to know the packaging the manufacturer uses. Fake Nike’s, for example, will not be sold in stores or online in an authentic Nike box.
Check the SKU number displayed on the box, it should be identical to the one on the shoe-if not, you’re probably in possession of a pair of replicas.
Check the labels attached to the inside of the shoes. The tongue label will have the design date printed on it. Fake shoes will have outdated sizing labels located inside the shoe and the date will often be off by years. By examining the tongue of the shoe, the Nike symbol should line up with the middle. If it doesn’t you probably have a fake pair.
Step #3: Investigate Online Shoe Merchants
Use extreme caution when purchasing designer shoes online. As you won’t actually have the actual product in front of you, you could very easily become the owner of a counterfeit shoe.
To avoid buying non-authentic shoes, read posted ratings and reviews about the merchant and the product.
Numerous negative reviews are your first warning that the seller is not reputable or reliable.
Take the time to compare certain merchants on different sites as some websites choose to only show positive feedback.
A third party search is when you examine your seller’s reputation by reviews posted on sites other than their own.
It is also vitally important to protect yourself from fraudulent merchandise by reading the seller’s return policy. The assurance of being able to return an item can protect you from counterfeit products as well as other issues that may occur such as fit, color and size.
Step #4: Accept No Substitutes
Avoid merchants who substitute stock shoe images instead of the actual picture of your shoe. They will adopt this custom because a stock shoe photo is more appealing. Think of it as a warning shot and remember a photo taken within a home assures the buyer that the shoes actually exist and are in the condition noted.
If you can communicate with the seller, ask them to email you a picture with an item that will verify the correct date such as a newspaper or postmark.
Step #5: Learning to Speak Counterfeit
The words “sample,” “variant” and “custom” are all claims used interchangeably when replicated merchandise is listed online.
Knowing the modus operandi of your designer will also give you a clue as to whether the merchandise is legitimate or not. Example: Knowing that an authentic sample of Nike shoes only come in men’s U.S. size 9, 10 and 11, women’s samples in size 7, and kids in a 3.5 is pretty valuable information when you’re ready to buy athletic shoes. Also, Nike does not promote their product line using the words custom or variant.
Vintage Nike shoes which are no longer produced are rarely available in a full sizing run. So, bear in mind, when this particular item becomes your quest, any site offering 150 pairs in stock is probably selling counterfeit Nike’s.
If it seems to good to be true, the shoe you’re looking at is a fake. Both fake and damaged shoes can be bought at a great price so, buyer beware of shoes offered at extreme discounts. This rule is especially true if you’re looking at a 50% off sale.
Shipping time is a big clue for the counterfeit shoe market industry. If the seller estimates arrival between one and two weeks, it’s possible the shoes are coming from a country who excels in replicating designer shoes.
If you have no other option, try to purchase your designer shoes directly from the company’s site or an authorized retailer.
Avoid shoes that are offered before the official date of release. This is a huge warning shot that the shoe is a fake. They are extremely tempting and the excitement of owning a pair makes the buyer twice as vulnerable. The trap is a perfect one because there are no original pics to compare them to.
The Old Trust but Verify Trick. A great way to keep from wondering if you’ve been ripped-off or not is to simply double check them after they arrive. Go to the designer’s, or one of the official retailer’s sites and compare them online. You should also be able to ask the seller to verify their authenticity by calling them directly. Note: Always make sure you can reach the company by phone, not just an email address.
By taking the time to investigate the details of the seller, manufacturer and product, your purchase of designer shoes doesn’t have to be a nightmare. We live in a global marketplace where vendors of every type are either conducting business ethically or suspiciously. Fortunately, the designers and manufacturers who conduct business responsibly have taken the necessary steps to help educate their clientele which telltale signs to look for. Many countries around the world are used for manufacturing designer products so, don’t assume the worst when you notice that your shoes haven’t been made in the USA.
Is it Really Against the Law to Sell Fakes?
When it Comes to Replica’s, Some Company’s Just Don’t Care
Yes. It is illegal to sell shoes that are exact replicas of designer brands under the guise of authenticity. However, it is not illegal to sell replicants (knock-offs) that are similar, not identical, to the real thing providing you make no claims that the items are authentic. Those companies involved in counterfeiting goods will tell you business has never been better. The global impact and availability of fake designer products is booming thereby leaving many people angry, sick or even dead. Yes, it’s a terrible experience to be sold something you thought was authentic, but what about a drug you’re “trusting” to be authentic? You can put fake shoes on your baby, but would you buy counterfeit antibiotics for them if they were sick?
Well, unbelievable as it may seem, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the value of replicated products that crossed international borders in 2007 is over $250 billion, making weapon smuggling, drug smuggling and human trafficking look incidental.
When factoring in the revenue generated by counterfeit purchases within countries added to the value of pirated software, the International Chamber of Commerce estimates the sales of replicated goods at $650 billion in 2008. Add to that the amount of tax revenue that was not collected plus increased welfare spending as a result of fake goods was $125 billion in just the developed countries of the world. The counterfeit goods industry has also resulted in over 2 million jobs-and that was in 2008. The bottom line is that in 2015 the value of counterfeit products on a world-wide basis was about to exceed 2 trillion dollars. Some counterfeit products will hurt you more than others, but if you are curious about what they are we have the top ten listed in the following steps below:
Step #1: Fake Designer Shoes and Clothes Rank Number 1.
With virtually every country in the world manufacturing counterfeit goods, it is easier than ever to acquire and equip the necessary factories machinery and employees needed for the job.
But designer footwear is the number one knock-off in the world. Although the shoe industry has been pursuing governments to take action. U.S. agencies like the United States Trade Representative (USTR) have listened but have not delivered anything to speak of with regards to results.
While knock-off shoes remain the number one victim, trademarks are infringed on basically anything a person can think of from fashion to produce. Counterfeiting also produces knockoffs that endanger lives, toys that are harmful to children, baby formula lacking vitamins and nourishment, and faulty medical instruments that produce false readings.
Step #2: Consumer Electronics
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a report stating that the counterfeiting of consumer electronics is the second most seized replicated products since 2014. The value of the seized items was in excess of 160 million dollars. The manufacturers of fake electronics have and will continue to sacrifice the quality of their product in order to make more money. This applies to the customer’s protection as well. Many accidents occur due to negligence include power bank explosions, electrical leaks, fire hazards, etc.
There are many reasons why buying a knock-off item makes sense and just as many reasons why it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s a timing thing and you just happen to be walking around town and you know you’re going to need a gift for a special someone’s birthday. You’re approached by the guy who can sell you the perfect gift for the person you’ve been thinking about – the famous “offer you can’t refuse”. Maybe you’re taking a well-deserved vacation, and the souvenir shops are having a big sale. Is there anybody who doesn’t love to shop while they’re on holiday?
Whatever the reason, when the opportunity presents itself or, you’re just too tired to do the research there’s a good chance a counterfeit product is in your future. There probably isn’t one item you couldn’t get much cheaper if you did a search for it right now online-but it begs the question, why? You’ve got to know by now the quality won’t be there and if that’s true, you’re going to be needing another one sooner than later. Perhaps it’s time to think about the real psychology behind the designer phenomenon and the consequences of our actions, are you ready?
The Power, Pitfalls and Psychology Behind the Purchase
Counting the Cost – It’s Not Just About Money
Saving money on a particular item can be the highlight of your whole week. In fact, there’s plenty of times when the amount you saved is more exciting than what you actually bought – and that’s the part that makes you happy. Not so hard to understand with prices going up by the second it seems. We want the good stuff, the designer fashions, shoes and glasses, but alas, we just can’t afford them. Now comes the dilemma, do you buy the knock-off or settle for a no-name brand that will do the same job. Hmmm, not nearly as satisfying or empowering is it? What if there was a way to get the same rush from NOT buying the counterfeit. Here is a pretty interesting list of responses which were part of an experiment conducted on a group of women. All the women were given designer sunglasses to wear, but half of them were told they were wearing replicas. Check this out if you want a little insight into the effects wearing counterfeits can have on your personality and world view:
Step #1: Image or Impression
Three psychological scientists wanted to see if wearing designer products would influence the women in the experiment by affecting their actions and attitudes in negative or undesirable ways.
The counterfeit shades represented a form of dishonesty and could possibly justify acting dishonestly in other ways.
By having the women do certain tasks that gave them a chance to lie or cheat they found the group wearing the knock-offs did, in fact, cheat more by 70%.
Step #2: Just to Be Sure
To check and double check the results, the scientists had the women perform a different task. This one would have them choose between answering correctly or answering for profit.
The group wearing the knock-offs proved by their responses that the act of wearing fake glasses resulted in lying and cheating.
Step #3: Does inauthentic image enhancement have other negative effects?
Could it be that wearing counterfeit shoes, clothing, and glasses influence our behavior so negatively that it manifests through our personal life?
The scientists discovered that when the women were questioned about people they knew, the group wearing the knock-offs were more likely to view them as phony and unethical.
They also discovered that this group had a very cynical view of their friends. They felt they were less truthful, more dishonest and more prone to acting unethically in business negotiations.
Step #4: The Bottom Line
After all was said and done, the scientists published their findings in the Psychological Science Journal.
Wearing counterfeit products will not boost our ego or self-image.
Wearing knock-offs undermine our internal sense of what is authentic.
Fake products make us feel fake or phony; like we are secretly cheating someone.
A counterfeit “self” manifests in cheating and cynicism in real life.
Well, it’s a brain-full, I know. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be articles like this, websites by the dozens, government meetings, curious scientists and designers of every ilk getting involved in stopping the chaos caused by counterfeiting. Counterfeiting is seriously affecting the economy, employment and environment in ways we haven’t even thought of yet. It’s a multi-trillion-dollar epidemic and it’s costing us as a society more than just money-sometimes it costs us our lives. If it was just about saving money or convenient shopping it would be one thing, but the research that is being done is uncovering problems much deeper and much more disheartening because of the moral implications. As long as people are consuming fakes for both internal and external use, there will be someone trying to stop it. I guess it starts with me-most changes do. I once heard someone say, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re definitely part of the problem”. Which one are you?