Vans shoes are widely recognizable athletic shoes commonly worn when skateboarding. Due to their popularity, a thriving black market has emerged for counterfeit Vans. These fake skate shoes are made to resemble the brand-name shoe, but tend to be lacking in quality -- they are less flexible than true Vans and fall apart quickly. Avoid scams by learning to spot the features of real Vans.
Inspect the bottom of the shoe for the characteristic Vans pattern. Vans shoes have a sideways diamond pattern that interlocks into a pattern of hexagons near the toe. These interlocking hexagons resemble Stars of David. Knock off Vans may not have this characteristic pattern.
Inspect the back of the shoe for the Vans logo: The name “VANS” spelled out in capital letters. The large “V” resembles a square root sign, with a line going off to the right and covering the other three smaller letters. Fake Vans typically don’t include this trademark, or use a misspelled version of it.
Bend the shoes at the toe. Real Vans have flexible toes, while fake Vans are stiff, and don’t bend easily.
Examine the stitching. Real Vans shoes have tight, uniform, symmetrical stitches. Loose or missing stitches indicate a counterfeit version.
Research your shoe vendor. Well-known shoe and athletic stores at the mall will almost definitely sell genuine merchandise. Be cautious when purchasing shoes online, from a street stand, in a flea market or from an individual seller. If the store has no return policy, or if your seller’s online store has poor review, avoid purchasing their shoes.