Part of the game being a sneakerhead is buying and reselling sneakers to support your own habit.  When StockX.com launched and started gaining traction in 2016, they changed the game.  If you’ve never heard of StockX, it’s “the stock market of things” where people go to sell and buy hyped up sneakers (and more recently, watches, purses, and clothes).  StockX gave sneakerheads an alternative to shady local meet-ups and eBay, promising buyers and sellers alike peace of mind.

Sellers on StockX list their deadstock sneakers for a specific price (the ask).  Buyers enter how much they’re willing to pay for a pair of shoes (the bid).  If a buyer lifts the ask or a seller hits the bid, the buyer is charged for the pair of shoes and the seller has 2 business days to ship them to StockX with the pre-paid shipping label provided.  StockX’s authenticators verify that the shoes are brand new, deadstock, and authentic.  Once the sneaker has passed their authentication process, payment is released to the seller (minus StockX’s commissions, of course) and the shoes are shipped out the to buyer.

To date, I’ve sold 19 pairs of sneakers on StockX.  Seeing that I’m not a scumbag, all 19 pairs have passed authentication.  I’ve purchased 11 pairs of sneakers on the site, and up until now, have only had one minor issue (the box was damaged, StockX reached out to me to make sure I still wanted the shoes, and then shipped them).  I say up until now because I’m 99% certain StockX shipped me a fake pair of Nike Zoom Vapor AJ3 RF x Atmos sneakers.  Not only did they ship me the fake pair of sneakers, their response was to resell them on their website if I didn’t want them:

So how can I tell these are fakes?  Well, there are 5 factors that I took into consideration when examining them to come to this conclusion.

  1. No RF wrapping paper
  2. No inserts. Shoes had tissue paper stuffed in toes instead
  3. No XDR tag
  4. Imperfections on the sneakers
  5. Different font/spacing on the sole sticker

You see, I have a pair of the Nike Zoom Vapor AJ3 RF Fire Reds that I purchased directly from Nike.  I’ve worn them a couple of times, but I keep everything that comes in the box when I have a hot pair of kicks I plan on maintaining for a long time.  It was easy for me to spot the imperfections on the Atmos pair from StockX when putting them side by side:

Now I know the whole model of StockX is based on guaranteeing buyers the authenticity of what they’re paying for.  It’s the whole point of having the middle-man to make sure everything’s legit.  I wouldn’t call sneakers from StockX fake unless I had damn good reason.  So I’ll break it down further how I came to the conclusion.

No RF wrapping paper

Deadstock Nike Zoom Vapor AJ3 RFs come with RF/Jordan wrapping paper in the box.  When the Atmos arrived, there was no wrapping paper.  At first I thought I had received a lightly worn pair that someone had used and thrown out the wrapping paper.  This gave me about a 5% inkling that something was amiss.

No inserts. Shoes had tissue paper stuffed in toes instead

Real Nike Zoom Vapor AJ3 RFs come with cardboard Jordan inserts in them, and no tissue paper.  These had tissue paper stuffed in them.  Again, thinking StockX authenticators passed these, I figured someone wore them and tried to make them look new, but this was a major red flag for me.  I’m thinking there’s a 20% chance they’re fake.

No XDR tag

Right where the XDR tag should be was the StockX authentic tag.  StockX wouldn’t remove the XDR tag to place their own tag on the shoe.  If these were real, they’d have the tag.  In my assessment there’s now a 40% chance these are fake.

Imperfections on the sneakers

This is where things get really real.  As you saw in the video, there’s a gap in the stitching where Jordan’s crotch is on the tongue.  The stitching itself has small gaps all over.  Real Js don’t have that issue.  The stitching is solid throughout, and Jordan’s nuts aren’t in danger of hanging out of his shorts.  There was also a lot of excess glue where the elephant print meets the leather.  65% chance these are fake.

Different font/spacing on the sole sticker

DING! DING! DING! BIGGEST RED FLAG OF THEM ALL!!! Look at these stickers. The one on the left is from my authentic pair, the one on the right is on the Atmos pair from StockX.

Now the hue is different.  My sticker is a little reddish/pink, the other sticker has a green tint to it.  That’s fine.  Maybe the Atmos pair has a green looking sticker.  The proof is in the font.  It’s a completely different font!  And look at the spacing in the words.  They got the english line right, but take a look at the French translation- there’s no gap between EX and T.  BOOM! Smoking gun.  This was the deciding factor.  I’m 99% sure these are fake.

Now don’t get me wrong, they’re good fakes.  They got by somebody at StockX.  I was a little shocked their official response was re-sell them on the site.  So I did, reluctantly.  To be honest I expected them not to pass.  But they did!  After I got paid out, I reached out to StockX’s founder on Twitter.  This is the transcript of my messages and his response:

I never received a DM, email, or any further communication.  I’m assuming he either forgot, or figured this would get swept under the rug.

Now, I’m not saying StockX passes fakes all the time.  I’m actually curious how often this type of thing happens, and if StockX has any data on it.  I’d love for someone from StockX, if they read this, to respond and give some input.  I can be reached on twitter @sneakerheadqtrs any time.

 

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