Same as with other facets of pop culture, the sneaker world is brimming with myths that are in dire need of debunking.
The sneaker community, just like the others, has a distinct culture. This culture is something that they could call their own. Hence, even the so-called sneakerheads are not excluded from possessing various beliefs when it comes to their beloved collections and items. While some of these are somewhat true for many, most are in fact, fallacious. Unfortunately, numerous sneaker enthusiasts — mostly newbies — still cling to these sneaker myths, which they continuously and confidently put into practice.
These myths may seem harmless in the community, but given that there are already tons of informative resources, it is much easier to be informed. Besides, countless are still victimized by misinformation and falsehood. As a result, the supposedly harmless and beneficial belief may turn into a nightmare for a lot of sneakerheads as they fall victim to fraud or even unnecessary skepticism towards other enthusiasts and sellers alike.
Hence, to minimize, if not, eliminate the ballooning number of sneakerheads committing to such misconceptions, such beliefs are worth correcting. Thus, to debunk such ideologies, here is the truth behind some of the most common sneaker myths.
1. Squeak Defines Authenticity
This is probably the oldest belief in the community and one of the most common bases for the sneaker’s authenticity. Even to this day, many are still head over heels in the “squeak” sound that sneakers produce as a primary basis of authenticity. Nonetheless, this is proven untrue. This may burst a lot of bubbles, but to set the records straight, sneakers squeak as a result of the vibration from the sneaker’s outsoles when making contact with the court. No, it has nothing to do with the pair’s authenticity.
In this matter, the material of the sneaker’s outsole may also be considered. Most basketball shoes are infused with rubber outsoles, so it is quite natural that squeak sounds are produced every time you step on the court. And yes, even some counterfeit sneakers may produce such sound. This is because some of these fake sneakers are also infused with rubber material, though cheap, and do not actually possess the characteristics and performance of authentic ones.
2. All “Made in China” Sneakers are Fake
China has been known as a wide-range producer of counterfeit products. From designer clothes, bags, sneakers, and gadgets, to name a few, it seems like there is nothing the country could not imitate. However, this unusual identity that China established greatly affected the perception of gazillions of consumers. Due to the country’s prominence in producing knockoff items, a notion was inculcated in the minds of many sneaker consumers, including the belief that “Made in China” sneakers are fake.
Well, this is somewhat true given China’s prominence in replication, but it is not entirely true that all “Made of China” sneakers are knockoffs. It is because the biggest names in the sneaker industry such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, to name a few, have their respective manufacturing factories in China. Yes, you read that right.
But why would leading sneaker manufacturers establish their factories in China? The answer is simple: low cost of labor. To be precise, most sneaker companies also have factories in other parts of Asia such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, to name a few, due to the nature of each country’s labor cost. However, China holds the largest percentage of manufacturing for almost every company.
In fact, China, along with Vietnam, is responsible for manufacturing 36% of Nike products, and 68% of Under Armour goods that they share with Malaysia, Vietnam, and Jordan.
3. Authentic and Counterfeit Sneakers Share the Same Quality
The emergence of counterfeit products in the sneaker game is both alarming and confusing. This is the dark side of the sneaker game that could not be denied as it continuously grows in domain and prominence. Now, counterfeit manufacturers made a huge leap, making knockoff sneakers look “almost” perfectly the same as authentic ones.
Despite the obvious disparity between authentic and knockoff pairs, counterfeit manufacturers and their multitude of sellers always try to find ways in establishing a world of make-believe. They want people to believe that counterfeit sneakers are basically the same as the authentic ones, particularly in materials used, quality, and performance, to hypnotize the general public into romanticizing such products.
Thus, new terms such as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), mall pullout, Top Grade, and Unauthorized Authentic, emerged in the sneaker world. While some of these do actually exist, such as “OEM”, it is not applicable in sneakers. The aforementioned term is commonly used in gadgets, computers, and cars, but not in sneakers as others claim.
Counterfeit manufacturers label their items as such and claim that they used the same materials as authentic ones, but that these were manufactured by a different entity. Others also claim that such items did not pass the quality control so they are sold for cheaper prices. These analogies are being used by such sellers to convince the consumers that such counterfeit items are indeed authentic.
However, these are proven untrue. First things first, authentic sneaker manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, to name a few, have respective factories and distributors. Thus, the existence of another entity to manufacture such products for a lower price makes no sense for them business-wise and shall be deemed illegal as they have to observe manufacturing laws.
Moreover, rejected items are already rejected, period. There is no point in selling them for cheaper prices as counterfeit sellers claim as “Mall Pullout” and such. In the first place, if sneaker companies still intend to sell their rejected items, they could just turn them into their respective outlet stores. Besides, most of these companies have their own refurbishing programs, wherein they recycle most of their rejected and returned items to create new products.
Sneakers are only either authentic or not. There’s really nothing in the middle. Besides, counterfeit sneakers, as others claim to be the same as the authentic ones, do not possess the same materials and technology. Thus, they could not have the same quality and performance as the original, let alone be on par.
Moreover, knockoffs are more of a bane than a boon. While one could purchase these pairs for a way cheaper price, they do not actually replicate the assumed performance. Thus, using them is a bad run for one’s money.