Toeing the line.
If you purchase your kicks online from unauthorized brand dealers in advance of a shoe’s official release date, you run the risk of receiving product that isn’t quite what it should be.
Or worse. Wholly inauthentic merch.
It’s what happened to many sneakerheads who have pulled the trigger on the Air Jordan 11 “Concord” already, one of the biggest basketball footwear launches for all of 2011. We were the first to document the “original break” of this year’s Concord 11 photos as having been counterfeit and staged, even while others continued to remark otherwise over email and in non-blog digital venues.
While there’s always subtle differences between genuine production runs and a shoe built with scrap parts in a non-contracted factory, the easiest way to tell in this case if your Concord 11 is fake is by looking at the rubber curled up onto the toes. If you can see through it into the black patent leather and white foam midsole below, you have a pair of forgeries on your hand. Authentic pairs created for this year’s December 23 launch of the Jordan 11’s were sealed with a milky white paint finish on the toes, detailed in three comparison photos in this post. Now go back and look at the toes on the staged VMVinc “leak.”
So how does it happen? Aside from pulling an authentic factory pair too early before cosmetic tweaks or running changes are applied, there’s also shadow factories setup to crank out phony product, in competition with other imitation artists all eager to beat each other to the buck in the consumer demand for early release footwear.
On highly popular and regularly reoccurring reissue product like the numbered Air Jordan line in general and the Air Jordan 11 in particular, the factory shoe molds don’t need to be recreated from scratch like brand new silhouettes and the latest sneaker technologies have to be. It’s familiar product, merely updated by new and seasonal colorways or material finishes. The scrap parts and molds are in the hands of counterfeiters, who only need to know what the final sign off is from Jordan Brand on the particular look and build of a shoe before counterfeit product can be initiated. Sometimes when those bogus early release manufacturers don’t want to pay for the information or acquisition of a final stage sample, they jump the gun and create pairs based on the construction of previously released models and current rumors and hearsay. It’s how subtle details like added toe paint or textiles can be off or simply overlooked, until it’s already in the hands of an unassuming consumer. And it’s too late.
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