As Oscar Wilde said, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. For sneaker manufacturers, however, this is only a small consolation, because they miss out on much revenue each year - millions, to be sure, because according to estimates, the global sneaker market is worth more than 81 billion British pounds (100 billion US dollars).
When products are in such high demand, this quickly leads to imitations, because everyone wants a piece of the pie. Unlike luxury products, which are prohibitively expensive, especially for young customers, the difference between the price of an original and a fake can be hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. With sneakers, the difference could be just dozens of pounds, at least in terms of the recommended retail price (RRP); the resale price is a different matter.
The idea is to respond to the general hype and deliver a product that sells out quickly. And consumers are joining in - the hashtag ‘dupes’ already has more than 2.3 billion views on TikTok. And according to a report published by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the amount of young people who confirmed they had bought at least one counterfeit product in the last 12 months more than doubled from 14 percent in 2019 to 37 percent in 2020.
Counterfeit goods can damage brands' reputations, reduce their profits and affect their business. To curb this problem, some brands are trying to train consumers to recognise counterfeits and report them to the brand.
Hotukdeals' “Rep Creps” study analysed thousands of posts from replica communities to find the sneakers that are most often counterfeited. So when buying one of the models below, be extra careful not to catch a fake.
The ten most faked sneakers
Nike dominates the list of the ten most counterfeited sneakers and takes up every place. At the top is the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Dark Mocha with a rep price of 128 US dollars (around 104 pounds), an RRP of 170 US dollars (around 138 pounds) and a resale price of 531 US dollars (almost 430 pounds).
In second place is the Travis Scott 1 x Fragment Low, a collaboration between rapper Travis Scott and Hiroshi Fujiwara's Fragment Design. The rep price is 138 US dollars, the RRP 150 US dollars and the resale price 1,443 US dollars.
In third place is the Travis Scott 1 with a rep price of 139 US dollars, an RRP of 150 US dollars and a resale price of 544 US dollars. In fourth place is the Nike Dunk Low Black White 20 (rep price 99 US dollars, RRP 110 US dollars and resale price 263 US dollars) and in fifth the Travis Scott Dunk (rep price 129 US dollars, RRP 150 US dollars and resale price 2,048 US dollars).
The Jordan 4 Retro Off-White Sail is the sixth most counterfeited sneaker, the Air Jordan 4 Black Cat follows in seventh place, and the Air Jordan 1 Retro High White University Blue, Travis Scott 1 Low and the Air Jordan 1 Chicago take eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively.
The Top 25
Number eleven on the most faked sneaker list breaks the Nike dominance, the Yeezy 700 Waverunner from Adidas. But in the subsequent places, it is Nike again: the Jordan 4 Retro Bred, the Jordan 1 Retro High OG Hyper Royal, the Air Jordan 1 High Bred, the Dunk Low Coast Blue Sail, the Union AJ4 Guava and the AJ4 White Cement.
Then at number 18, Adidas again with the Yeezy 350 V2 Bred, followed by Nike's Travis Scott 4 at number 19, but then Adidas' Yeezy 350 V2 Triple Black (NRF) again at number 20.
The last five places in the Top 25 are once again firmly in Nike's hands with the Nike Dunk Low Spartan Green, the Strangelove Dunk Low, the Nike Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon, the Nike Dunk Low Medium Curry and the Air Jordan 1 Retro High Obsidian.
Watch out when buying sneakers, especially if they are Nike sneakers - Nike is the brand whose shoes are most counterfeited, with 88 percent of the sneakers in the list of the 25 most faked brands. As a rule of thumb - if the price is under the recommended retail price, they are probably fakes.
The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Dark Mocha is the most counterfeited sneaker. While a replica pair typically costs 128 US dollars, legitimate Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Dark Mocha sell for more than 500 US dollars on resale sites.
The 3,184 pairs of sneakers found in Hotukdeals' sample had an estimated black market value of 407,552 US dollars; the estimated black market value of the top 25 counterfeit sneakers is more than 3.7 million US dollars. The average resale price for a legal pair of shoes on the top 25 list is 934 US dollars.