The counterfeit goods market causes a loss of approximately $500 billion every year, this amounts to 3.3% of world trade. These are the numbers reported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. With the increasing trend of buying whatever is in fashion, people have started opting for fake products just to keep up pretences, to appear to be walking in line with the hottest trends.

The number one counterfeit goods are ‘shoes’, 22% of all illegal goods seized are footwear. The most common brand victims are Nike, Adidas, Louboutin and UGG. 

Counterfeiting has become professional, various websites are on the rise which use original product pictures to lure in unsuspecting consumers. These customers then sometimes pay full price for fake items unknowingly committing fraud. There are also websites where collectors share photos of copycat sneakers and contact information for sellers.

Minute details are provided for people to get the details correct, such as the right amount of fuzz on a suede patch, the length of the sock liner, the details on the designs of the shoes etc. With technological advancements, the replicas have now become increasingly difficult to distinguish from the original Adidas/Nike sneakers.

Who is Responsible for Counterfeit Sneakers?

Carefully replicated YEEZY, UGG’s, Adidas, Nike pieces can be easily purchased from China-based warehouses and shipped almost anywhere in the world infact, if you roam around the local ‘bazaars’ in Karachi shoe sellers will proudly sell you Adidas copies for less than PKR 3,000. But what is it that caused this seismic surge in counterfeit fashion, and who, if anyone, should be held responsible for it?

1. Availability, Demand & Pricing

The people buying these counterfeits believe the availability, demand and pricing fuels the counterfeit shoe trade. These original sneakers are mostly gone as soon as they are released, creating a demand and since they cost a lot as they are then being re-sold at an even higher price people often opt to buy cheap replicas for a fraction of the price.

2. The Increased Use of Technology

The increasing trend of using Bots to grab the product online has made it impossible for people to get a hold of the item. In order to get your hands on that pair of new Yeezy’s you now have to buy it off a reseller who used bots and a fast server to get it off the website before you. When people do not want to buy an overpriced product they often tend to move towards the replica market.

3. The Lack of Understanding By the Retailers

Demand for original products keeps increasing however, the supply is unable to meet the demands of consumers. There seems to be a lack of understanding from the retailers since demand severely surpasses supply. The onslaught of bots on servers leaves out the fans without attaining anything.

Here’s what Adidas spokesperson had to say about the rise of the fake sneakers:

“Adidas is committed to making our sneaker drops fair for everyone in the sneaker community. We take every opportunity to ensure that all high-demand product available via and adidas Confirmed are delivered to the hands of consumers. The vast majority of YEEZY BOOST, NMD, ULTRA BOOST and other high-demand products are purchased and delivered to our fans.”

In the end it all comes down to this simple question that is the driving force behind the rise of the counterfeit sneakers. 

Would everyone clamouring to get a replica or a resold YEEZY be interested in buying it if it was available in every mega outlet and malls, and one could simply pop over and buy a pair or two? We highly doubt it.

It is the unavailability of the product that gives it that holy grail status and desirability that everyone wants!