Counterfeit products have been an issue in football for decades but the problem has grown in recent years. With prices constantly on the rise, fans have begun to search for cheaper alternatives. The most prominent example of counterfeiting in the football industry has always been fake shirts but, more recently, other expensive items have been targeted, like football boots. This has created another obstacle for consumers. How can you tell if a football boot is the genuine article or a fake?
In general, counterfeiters will attempt to appeal to the largest possible consumer-base, by targeting the most popular version of an item. For example, counterfeiters are most likely to produce the kits of the most popular teams, because they have the highest chance of successfully tricking someone. It’s no different with boots. Counterfeiters will target the most popular series’ of the biggest brands.
Football boots can fall into many different categories, with different designs depending on the surface that they will be used on. The most common variety are ‘soft ground’ (or SG) boots, designed for natural grass. ‘Firm ground’ (FG) boots, designed for firmer and dryer grounds, are less popular but still common. If a boot fits the aforementioned criteria – a popular brand, a popular series and a popular stud pattern – the boot is a prime target for counterfeiters and you should keep an eye out.
How Can You Tell If a Football Boot Is Authentic?
When it comes to football boots, it can sometimes be difficult to spot counterfeits, because they often look almost identical to authentic boots at a first glance.
As is the case with all products, the biggest sign of a counterfeit is the price. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Fake boots will always be unbelievably cheap in comparison to authentic boots, like those you can find on the official Nike or Adidas websites. Legitimate reductions are usually fairly small and are rarely seen on newer products. A big reduction on a new line of boots is a huge red flag and you should treat any purchase with caution.
Another easy way to verify the authenticity of a pair of boots is to check the vendor. If you are buying from a reputable shop or website, like Nike, Adidas, Sports Direct or JD Sports, the product is all but guaranteed to be genuine. If you’re buying something from a lesser-known vendor and see other red flags, like the appearance or price of the product, there is a much higher chance that it could be a counterfeit. Additionally, when looking for a site to buy boots from, you should always seek out reviews and the accounts of previous customers. This will tell you how popular the site is and you can also see if anyone has had problems in the past.
What Does a Counterfeit Football Boot look Like?
As well as the points above, you can also tell if a particular boot is a counterfeit by looking at the qualities of the product itself. It’s no secret that fake boots will be of a poorer quality. You can test the authenticity of a boot by applying pressure to an area like the sole or heel, to test whether the boot bends or not. Authentic boots are designed to be firm and sturdy, in order to protect the foot so flimsiness is sign that the product is a fake. Similarly, the aesthetics of the boot may be impacted by the lower quality materials. It’s common for counterfeits to look authentic at first sight but, on closer inspection, some elements will be ‘off’. The colours may not exactly match the original and the shape of the boot might be slightly different. Additionally counterfeits are often noticeably more shiny than the original article, as a result of a cheaper finish.