How to Date Vintage Nike Shoes by the Numbers

Creative Commons Image by flickr member arka D, Illustration by A.Hermitt

Nike shoes are very popular high quality and high performance sports shoes. Nike shoes are also very attractively styles. This makes them collectors items with many people purchasing, and collecting vintage Nike shoes. A purchase seeking to purchase vintage Nike shoes needs to be able to spot a real shoe from a fake and to be able to know when a shoe was made by looking at the style numbers. Here are instructions on how to date vintage Nike shoes by the numbers.

Look inside the Nike shoe for the woven fabric tag. Nike shoe tags are always woven and not plastic-like or paper.


Read the numbers on the tag. Each tag has a series of numbers. You will see the product release number, the sizes, the style numbers and the color numbers. You will also see the bar code and at the very bottom, you will see a date and sku number.

Look at the very first set of numbers below “made in china”. This is your release date. The first two numbers indicate the year the shoes were made. For example, if the release date number is 040944, the shoes were made in 2004. If the releases date number is 007437 shoes were made in 2004. If the release date number is 974626, the shoes were made in 1997.

Double check your production date by looking at the very last line of numbers. There will be an actual date written just below the bar code. The date should be in a six digit format with the last two digits of the year listed. If the date had a four-digit number for the date, the shoes are fakes and not real Nike shoes.

If the tag is worn or missing (in which case you should reconsider buying the Nike shoe), you can check the internet to make sure that the style of the shoe matches the correct release date. You can find Nike Jordan and other Nike release dates in the resource links below.