A counterfeiting ring is smuggling thousands of fake Nike Air Jordan sneakers into the US. Five people are facing up to 20 years in prison for trafficking them.
Thankfully, there are some standouts and typical identifiers that can help you spot a real pair of Air Jordan 1’s from a fake. Here are 10 things to look out for on a legit pair.
Nike Air Cushioning
Nike Air is the iconic cushioning technology that is a staple of Nike running shoes since the ’80s. It was introduced by Marion Franklin Rudy, a former aerospace engineer who had the crazy idea of placing tiny air bags in the soles of running shoes to soften impact and decrease energy usage.
After presenting his invention to Nike founder Phil Knight, who was intrigued by the idea, Rudy started testing a prototype. Soon enough, the first pair of Nike Air Tailwind runners were released.
The Air Tailwind was the first Nike shoe to incorporate Air cushioning and it became a hit. Runners who tested the shoes were amazed at how much less energy they used when wearing them.
Later on, Nike began using different Air units in their sneakers to improve performance. Often, these Air-sole units would be placed under the forefoot, heel or both areas, and the result is that the sneaker has more cushioning in a smaller space, which can make it more comfortable for longer.
Currently, the most recognisable Air unit is Max Air, which is found in many of Nike’s signature line sneakers and budget models alike. The system is made of pressurized nitrogen, encased in flexible plastic and inserted into the midsole of the sneaker, which makes it visible to the wearer.
In addition to Max Air, Nike also uses Zoom Air in their sneakers. This technology is more visible and focuses on improving speed and durability, with it first appearing in the Nike Air Marauder in ’95.
Nike isn’t one to let ideas stagnate, and they’ve developed several iterations of Air cushioning technology to cater to every sport and lifestyle out there. For example, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% features ZoomX Foam that returns energy back into the footbed and also has a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot which cushions and springs with each step.
Nike Air Jordan 13
The Air Jordan 13 is one of the best basketball shoes of all time. They feature a sleek silhouette, top-of-the-line comfort and an excellent feel on the court. They have a hidden speed-lacing system for a secure fit, and they also have a Phylon midsole with Zoom Air inserts that offer responsive cushioning.
The AJ 13’s unique design captures Michael Jordan’s “Black Cat” alter ego, featuring quilted side panels, a holographic cat eye and a sole resembling a panther paw. Worn by MJ during the 1997-98 season, the AJ 13 introduced groundbreaking innovations to the Jordan lineup including a carbon fiber plate and Zoom Air cushioning.
As a result, the Nike Air Jordan 13 has become an instant classic among sneakerheads and collectors alike. The AJ 13 has seen a number of releases over the years and continues to appear in exciting colorways today.
This year, the AJ 13 will be released in a special makeup for Chinese New Year and in an Easter-friendly “Aurora Green” release. In addition to these new colorways, the AJ 13 will return in several player exclusive (PE) releases throughout 2020.
If you’re looking to buy a replica, make sure that the lace holes are consistent with the real ones. You should also check the tongue for any spelling errors or trademark logos that are missing.
Moreover, you should look at the stitching all around the hologram logo. The hologram on the fake pair is less opaque than that of the legit pair, while the stitching on the authentic shoe is thicker and more defined.
The woven Jordan logo label on the inside of the shoe is another important point to be checked out. The real shoes have a registered trademark circle ‘R’ on the label, while the fake pairs do not have this. The real shoes also have ‘AIR’ written in a neat format, while the fake ones do not.