How to Spot Fake Vans Shoes

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Vans shoe styles are hot and have been for some time. What started as a brand predominantly for skaters has blossomed into something so much larger. Unfortunately, the same thing that happens with other ultra-popular brands has also happened with Vans. 

Knockoffs are now everywhere. Fakes and frauds look almost identical to the real thing.

It’s now just as easy to buy a fake Vans shoes as it is to buy a knockoff designer handbag. The good news is that with a little bit of knowledge, the realization that Vans fake shoes are out there, and a keen eye, you can avoid falling prey to this trend. 

In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about telling authentic Vans shoes from fake ones. 

Table of Contents

The Rising Popularity of Vans

Before we highlight how to spot fake Vans shoe styles you might encounter, we should address another important topic: how did Vans get to be so popular in the first place? Vans is hardly the only skate shoe brand on the market, but it is one of the few that has gained such incredible popularity.

What has Vans done differently?

It’s really all about two things. First, Vans has managed to design and manufacture multiple lines of shoes that are comfortable and stylish, not just for skateboarding, but for everyday wear. 

Second, the company does an amazing job of integrating pop culture elements into their shoe designs. That includes everything from popular cartoon characters like Spongebob Squarepants to Halloween-themed shoes.

Of course, that popularity is the reason why so many people try to manufacture and sell fake Vans shoes. Fake Vans can look as real as authentic Vans shoes and it takes a trained eye to spot the subtle differences.

Why Do Fakes Matter?

Why does it matter if you buy fake Vans? It’s your hard-earned money, right? And if they look so close to the originals, why should you care?

There are several issues here that should make you want to avoid fake vans as much as possible.

  • First, when someone sells counterfeit Vans, they’re committing a crime. Buying from them supports that crime. 
  • Second, many knockoff items are manufactured in sweatshops that force women and children to work for pennies a day. 
  • Fourth, chances are good you’re going to pay a lot of money for subpar shoes that don’t last very long, particularly if you intend to use them for skateboarding.

Obviously, buying fake Vans is a bad idea. So, how do you avoid it? We’re glad you asked? Below, you’ll find our tips on how to ensure that you can skip the fakes and buy only authentic Vans shoes.

1. The Price Is Just Too Good

Vans are not cheap shoes. Unless you find a pair on clearance somewhere, you’re not going to get a “great” deal. So, your first warning sign that you might be about to buy a pair of fake Vans is that the price will be too low. 

Of course, that’s hard to quantify if you’re not all that familiar with what Vans run regularly. How much will you pay for a pair of real Vans? It varies significantly depending on the style and how recent the design is, but you can expect to pay $30 or $40 for a basic pair (not super expensive, but they’re not bargain basement priced, either). For special edition, limited edition, and one-off pairs, you can expect to pay a lot more.

If you encounter a pair of Vans and the price just seems too good to be true, chances are good that it is. You’re best off avoiding that pair.

2. Check the Stitching

All Vans have visible stitching, and you should see clean, even stitches all the way around the entire shoe. Counterfeit Vans shoes, on the other hand, often have sloppy stitching that includes knots, incorrect stitches, doubled stitches, and other obvious problems.

If you spot a pair of Vans with stitching problems, you can bet that they’re fake. Real Vans shoes are always immaculately stitched. However, remember that sometimes fakes can also have decent stitching, so you’ll need to look deeper to make sure you can avoid counterfeit Vans.

3. Too Stiff

Skateboarders need a lot of flexibility to handle tricks and just general riding requirements. To help with that, real Vans shoe styles are actually very flexible, particularly the original Vans. You can usually bend the toe all the way to the heel.

With knockoff Vans shoes, that’s not the case. They’re usually pretty stiff. To check for authenticity, bend the toe up and down. Does it move easily? If not, chances are good these are counterfeit Vans and you’re better off avoiding the purchase.

4. Feel of the Upper

Shoes are manufactured from several different components. The bottom portion is called the sole and the top is called the upper. The upper is one place to spot counterfeit Vans shoes.

Feel the upper. Is it firm and tight? If so, that’s good. On the other hand, many fake Vans shoes have uppers that feel light, even sloppy. It’s really all about the quality of the material – thinner material gives you a lighter feel. 

5. Check the Glue

All authentic Vans use glue to hold the sole to the upper (even if the sole is also stitched). This is another giveaway that you might be buying fake Vans sneakers. With original Vans shoes and all other styles, you should only see clean rubber. 

With counterfeit Vans, on the other hand, you’re likely to notice glue smeared and globbed on the sole and other parts. You might find dried glue on the rubber toe cap, the rubber collar, or even on the fabric of the shoe itself. If you spot this, you know those Vans shoes are fake.

6. Check the Packaging

Most manufacturers worth their salt want to protect their product in shipment. They also understand that product packaging reflects on the brand itself. That’s why real Vans will always come in a high-quality, well-designed box with a locking mechanism at the top. These are sturdy and stable, able to hold up to handling in the store.

If Vans shoes are fake, though, the box will be low-quality and flimsy. It will probably lack the locking tab at the top, and will usually be made from very thin cardboard. If you’re buying Vans sneakers, you’ll want to double check that the box is of good quality. Otherwise, you should consider this a red flag.

7. Is the Logo Present?

Genuine Vans sneakers feature the company’s logo in several prominent locations. However, you need to look beyond the shoes themselves. 

Check out the box. Does it have the logo featured prominently? What about the packing material? There should be wrapping inside the box designed to protect the shoes against scuffing, and that should have the logo on it, as well.

If you don’t see the logo featured throughout the packaging and packing materials, it’s a good sign that they are not genuine Vans sneakers. Always check for the Vans logos before making a purchase. 

8. Check the Insole

We just talked about the Vans logos and now we’re going to double-down on that. Pull out both shoes from the box and look at the insole inside the shoe. You should see the Vans logo boldly outlined where your heel will sit. 

Don’t see the logo? Don’t buy that pair of shoes! Vans shoe styles always have the logo on the insole, so if there isn’t one present, it’s not a real Vans shoe. 

This isn’t just about the logo, though. Vans insoles are usually very good quality and provide the comfort and support your feet need while skateboarding. Knockoffs, on the other hand, have thin insoles that will wear out very quickly and will not provide any support.

9. Check the Heel Marking

Most Vans shoes have a marking on the heel. It’s the Vans Off the Wall logo. Most counterfeits have something similar, which can make it hard to tell the difference, but there are a few key ways to tell if you’ve got the real deal or not.

  1. Centeredness: Check to see if the logo is centered or not. If it’s off-center, that’s a good sign that you have a fake pair. 
  1. Color: Check the logo to see if the logo’s color fades at any point. If the color isn’t consistent, the shoes may be fake.
  1. Glued-On: How is the logo attached? Does it feel flimsy? Most counterfeits that have a logo at all will lose it quickly.
  1. No Logo: Want to spot fake vans shoes quickly? If there’s no logo, that’s a great sign that you have a fake shoe.

10. Country Code

Want to really ensure you have a genuine pair of Vans? Check the sole. We’re not talking about the tread design or anything like that. What you need to be looking for is a simple three-digit code. This is the country code showing where the shoes were manufactured. Every single pair of Vans has this code.

What’s that? Your shoes don’t have a three-digit code? That’s a sure sign your skate shoes are not the real thing. It’s time to ditch the counterfeits and go get some genuine Vans footwear.

11. Sole Design

While you’ve got your shoes flipped over to check for the country code, you can go ahead and check the sole design, too. Vans Old Skool shoes have a sole that features interlocking diamonds, as well as rhomboids. 

On the other hand, knockoff versions may use three or more shapes on their soles. This should be a red flag that you could have a counterfeit pair.

12. Eyelets

Got yourself a pair of Vans lace-up shoes? Not so fast. They could be counterfeit. How do you tell?

It’s pretty simple. All Vans lace-up shoes have metal eyelets. On the other hand, counterfeits usually have raw eyelets (not metal rings). Don’t see metal eyelets? You don’t have the real thing.

13. Feel the Rubber

Vans have rubber in many places of the shoe depending on the style in question, including a rubber toe cap, rubber collar, rubber outsole, rubber heel, and more. Vans also pays a lot of attention to the quality of the rubber used in the construction of the shoes. 

Take a moment to feel the rubber. Is it substantial and high-quality? Is it thin and does it feel like it’s about to peel off just with the pressure of your finger? If it’s the latter, you don’t have a real pair.

14. Feel the Collar

Our final tip is this – check the shoe’s collar. Most Vans feature a padded collar around the ankle to provide both comfort and support. However, counterfeit shoes will often lack the padding. That leads to discomfort while you’re skating. 

Now You’re Ready to Verify You’re Buying Real Vans

We’ve covered a lot of information so far, but you should be well-prepared to make sure that you’re buying real Vans, not counterfeit shoes. It’s really all about making sure that the shoe feels like it’s made from high-quality materials, checking for the Vans logos, verifying the right design on the sole, and generally making sure that everything matches up to your expectations.

What should you do if you spot a fake, though? It will depend on where you spot it. If you’re shopping in a well-known shoe store, all you might have to do is make the sales team aware of your concerns. However, if you’re buying from a private seller, at a non-traditional store or even at a flea market, it might be better to report the seller to the authorities.

Armed with this information, you can now spot fakes and ensure that you’re always buying real Vans. Happy skateboarding!