The fight against counterfeit sneakers is about to heat up with Nike rumored to make big manufacturing changes this year.
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It’s clear that the future of sneaker authentication lies firmly in technology. But will it be enough for sneakerheads to breathe easy? Let’s find out.
The internet has made it easier to cop limited sneaker releases and flip it for a quick buck. At the same time, it has also fueled the existence of lucrative reselling platforms and marketplaces, which has only helped to further inflate sneaker prices. This is why manufacturing and selling counterfeit sneakers is an equally lucrative business. There’s a whole trillion-dollar counterfeit market out there for people who refuse to splash the cash on authentic goods. The Vice News documentary on China’s ‘fake sneaker capital’ unveiled that one seller makes around six figures a month from selling fake kicks – definitely no shortage of demand there.
But, as much as the industry giants such as Nike and Adidas take a financial hit from these counterfeit factories, it’s the actual die-hard sneakerheads who feel the pinch. Fake sneakers are of such high quality these days that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to spot the difference between authentic pairs and fakes. Scams are common on marketplaces like Carousell and eBay, and even major reselling platforms like StockX and GOAT aren’t fake-proof despite their strict authenticity checks. But will the sneaker industry move forward with better technology in place? Or should sneakerheads simply stick with the tried and tested method of “legit-checks”? Let’s look at the options and the future of sneaker authentication.
The tried and tested method of sneaker authentication is a process called “legit check”. It’s by far the most common request you’ll see in every sneaker group there is on Reddit, Facebook, and Carousell. You can even find dedicated accounts on Instagram and Youtube providing expert knowledge to authenticate sneakers. Even though this method has worked for the longest time, it’s not foolproof and you might still end up with a fake pair. Is it time to let technology chart the future of authentication?
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According to @hanzuying, Nike is making a move towards reforming its manufacturing processes to prevent counterfeiting. This includes introducing unique QR codes on size tags and both QR codes and chips on the shoebox label as a form of ID for each sneaker. How these will work is still a mystery but we could be looking at a future where legit-checks can be done simply by scanning a QR code.
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Blockchain is one of the world’s most innovative technologies with plenty of possibilities due to its various applications. In fact, it’s looking like an effective tool to combat counterfeit sneakers. Recently, sneaker customizer SBTG and Singapore-based technology company, VeChain, collaborated to showcase the capabilities of blockchain technology to authenticate sneakers. NFC chips were the medium in this application, inserted directly under each sneaker’s tongue tab label. Just like the QR code, verification is immediate and simple via an app. While authentication is the main objective, the chip also stores information about the sneaker which cannot be altered or tampered with once it’s embedded due to the blockchain technology. This collaboration is a positive glimpse into the future of sneakers and authentication. It’s a possibility that will indefinitely change the experience of buying and trading sneakers online.
We can only hope that the footwear industry is taking a step forward with both products and consumers in mind. It’s been a long time coming but we won’t have to look too far ahead to feel optimistic. The future is almost here and sneakerheads might never have to worry about getting scammed with fake sneakers again.
Is this something you’ve always wanted from the sneaker industry? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image: SBTG Surplus