Real vs. Fake Yeezys: Don't Get Caught With Low-Grade Dupes

If you're on the hunt for a new pair of Yeezys keep your eyes peeled for fake versions being sold online.

Jessica Braun Gervais
Updated 9 December 2021
Real vs. Fake Yeezys: Don't Get Caught With Low-Grade Dupes
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United States Counterfeit Goods Statistics

$1.3 billion in counterfeit items seized each year
$200 billion yearly loss to businesses

$959 billion (estimated value of the counterfeit market by 2022)

Source: Library of U.S. Congress

Sections on this page
  1. Why the Fake Yeezys Scam Works
  2. Red Flags of Fake Yeezys: The Listing
  3. Red Flags of Fake Yeezys: The Product
  4. How to Avoid Purchasing Fake Yeezys
  5. What to Do If You Buy Fake Yeezys
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re a sneakerhead, you’ve probably heard of Yeezy footwear. The Yeezy shoe line comes from a collaboration with rapper, designer, and entrepreneur Kanye West and the sportswear company Adidas. Since launching in 2015, fake Yeezys have made their way into the market, tricking shoppers all over the world into buying these one-of-a-kind shoes.

Why the Fake Yeezys Scam Works

Before collaborating with Adidas, Kanye West released 3,000 pairs of the non-athletic sneakers with Nike in 2009. The retail price was $215, but the limited run shoes began selling from nearly $3,000 on resale sites.

The high price increase seen in reselling limited-edition shoes is what makes Yeezys a prime target for scammers. Only a small number of people can purchase Yeezy shoes directly from Adidas when they’re released, making fans and collectors willing to pay a higher price to resellers to own a pair.

Unfortunately, some people get caught up in the excitement of purchasing these exclusive shoes and fall victim to a fake Yeezy scam if you miss the red flags.

Red Flags of Fake Yeezys: The Listing

If you’re browsing a community marketplace such as Facebook, eBay, or Craigslist, be wary of posts with:

  • Many grammatical errors
  • Limited photos
  • Vague descriptions
  • Too good to be true prices

A lot of scammers won’t take the time to put together a readable post. Also, look out for posts with unbeatable prices. Scammers will often post fake Yeezy shoes at a low price to drive up demand and make you think you’re getting a great deal. If you see a pair selling for less than $200, chances are, it’s a scam.

Craigslist ad for fake Yeezys
This Craigslist ad for Yeezys has several red flags, including the price, quality of the shoe, lack of information, and incorrect tag. (Source: Craigslist)

Red Flags of Fake Yeezys: The Product

Shoe scammers are getting better at replicating Yeezy sneakers, but there some common faults in the shoes that separate the fakes from the real deal. Each model of Yeezys may have specific tells for whether the sneakers are real or fake, but here are some general red flags:

  • Inconsistent stitching
  • Poorly designed size tag
  • Poorly placed heel tab
  • Sketchy packaging
  • Sketchy laces and lace holes
  • Spacing around sock liners
  • Poor quality overall

Inconsistent Stitching

Yeezy sneakers are a quality product with pristine stitchwork. Look for inconsistent stitching throughout the shoe. Authentic Yeezys will have a consistent stitching pattern. Fake versions of the shoe often have messy stitching, and there’s no identifiable pattern. You may also notice stitching fraying or being loose in some places.

Poorly Designed Size Tag

The size tag is wrong on the majority of fake Yeezy shoes. On fake size tags, there will be an inconsistency in the font styles used on the label. For example, you may notice the “2” on the size seems slightly larger than the “2” on the serial number at the bottom of the size tag. You may also notice numbers and letters blending into each other. The actual size tag will have equal spacing and be clear to read.

Real vs fake Yeezys sneaker tags
Fake Yeezys will have inconsistencies in the size tags, such as misalignment and different font sizing.

Poorly Placed Heel Tab

On a pair of real Yeezy shoes, the heel tab is close to the ankle collar. Fake versions of the shoe tend to have a larger spacing or even touch the collar. Also, take a look at how well the tab is sewn onto the shoe. The tab shouldn’t be lifting or feel loose.

Sketchy Packaging

When your purchase Yeezy sneakers from a legit seller, it’ll ship in an unprinted retail box. On the side of the box, it’ll have “Yeezy” and the model name. It should also say “Made by Adidas” with the Adidas website and logo on the bottom. The box should open by lifting the front, not by pulling out from the side. When you open the box, you should find supportive sides to keep the shoes safe, and paper should cover the shoes. The package shouldn’t be big too big for the shoes to move around and not have packing peanuts.

Real vs fake Yeezy box
You can tell a fake Yeezy just by looking at the box. Real Yeezy boxes should open from the front and won't be too big for the shoes.

Sketchy Laces

Real Yeezy sneakers come with tubular woven laces and clear caps. The weaving of the laces should be tight and even. There shouldn’t be any fraying of the laces, and both laces should be the same size. You also shouldn’t see any fraying or uneven stitching around the lace holes.

Real vs fake Yeezy shoelaces
Genuine Yeezy sneakers will have quality shoelaces. The tips should be held together tightly with no signs of fraying.

Spacing Around Sock Liners

The sock liner of an authentic Yeezy shoe should mold perfectly to fit the shoe. You won’t see any gaping or spacing along the edges of the liner. The liner will also have the official Adidas Yeezy logo printed on the top along with the size code. Make sure the size code on the liner matches the size of the shoe.

Poor Overall Quality: Dead Giveaway of Fake Yeezys

Take note of the overall quality of the shoe. The shoe should feel sturdy, and there shouldn’t be any loose stitching. The shoe should be well sealed where the fabric and sole meet, and you shouldn’t notice any gapping or breakage. The colorings on both shoes should be the same, so compare the coloring of the soles, liners, tongue, and details.

Real vs fake Yeezy example
Compare Yeezy sneakers to legit photos on the Adidas site. Look for inconsistencies in font, color, and overall design to find fakes.

How to Avoid Purchasing Fake Yeezys

When you spend a lot of money on something like Yeezy sneakers, you want to be sure you’re buying an authentic product. Since many resellers sell Yeezy shoes, it can be challenging to know what you’re buying ahead of time, but there are some steps you can take to increase the likelihood of getting a real pair of Yeezys:

  • Purchase from a trusted seller
  • Do your research and ask the right questions

Purchase from a Trusted Seller

The best way to ensure you’re purchasing genuine Yeezy sneakers is by buying them from a trusted seller, such as Adidas or the Adidas store on Amazon.

Unfortunately, since many Yeezy models have limited releases, it can be hard to snag a pair from the official seller before they sell out.

Purchasing from resellers can be tricky, but sites that tend to sell authentic Yeezy shoes are:

These sites are similar to community marketplace, meaning anyone can sell or buy, but the company acts as a middleman to limit scamming. They often also have authenticity guarantees and buyer protection policies to protect consumers from being scammed.

It is possible to find legit Yeezy shoes on Craigslist and eBay, but you do have to be more careful as those sites tend to have more scammers.

Do Your Research and Ask Questions

Before purchasing a pair of Yeezys, make sure you know the price of similar models. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the shoes or ask for detailed pictures to identify a fake. If the person is selling a real pair of Yeezys, they shouldn’t be offended or unwilling to answer questions or send photos.

If the person begins to push the sale or become accusatory toward questions, it’s likely a scam, and the seller wants to bully you into a purchase before you realize the shoes are actually fake Yeezys.

What to Do If You Buy Fake Yeezys

If you’ve purchased a pair of Yeezys in the past and you think they may be fake, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to rectify the situation.

If the purchase was recent and made through a site such as GOAT or StockX, contact them immediately and provide details on the situation. Since these sites work as a middleman between buyer and seller, they can penalize the seller and reimburse you.

If you purchased them through Craigslist, eBay, or a similar site, contact customer service and let them know you bought a counterfeit product. These sites will most likely not refund your money, but they can ban the seller and keep others from falling victim to the same scam.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my Yeezys are fake?

There are several signs to look for in fake Yeezys, including the quality of the laces, size tag, sole, and stitching. Even the shoebox can be a dead giveaway. 

Where can I buy real Yeezys?

The best places to buy genuine Yeezys are from Adidas directly or from the Adidas store on There are also third-party retailers that sell real Yeezys, including Fight Club and Stadium Goods.

Can I buy cheap Yeezys on Craigslist or eBay?

Although it is possible to buy a pair of genuine Yeezys on sites like Craigslist and eBay, there is a chance that you'll end up buying a pair of fakes by accident. These sites are riddled with fake products and it's always safer to buy Yeezys from trusted sites.