The knockoff goods market is estimated to be valued at nearly $500 billion dollars per year, accounting for nearly 3.3% of all global trade with Nike being the most counterfeited brand. Although the United States Customs and Borders Protection has been trying to crack down on the number of fake goods that make it through customs, fake Nikes are still making it through US Customs at alarming rates.
These elaborate criminal operations import 100's of shipping containers at a time, with each shipping container capable of holding 10,000 pairs of shoes. These shipping containers come from China and reach ports in New York City and Los Angeles. Where they go from there is somewhat of a mystery but how can you be sure your sneakers are coming from a legitimate supplier and not one of these criminal enterprises.
How Do The Fake Nikes Reach The United States?
First off, let's begin by clarifying who the main culprits are. These are not kids buying off Alibaba or some other UA website. Nor are the neighborhood hustlers selling the fake kicks out of the back trunk. These are large criminal operations, usually Chinese, with millions of dollars to buy hundreds of thousands of fake Nike sneakers.
Counterfeiting crews reportedly use slightly different versions of real company names to make it look like their shipping paperwork is legit. They open up email accounts, get burner phones, and make websites all with names close to the real company names. On the customs paperwork, they write down household items like glasses or fans instead of footwear and pack the shipping container full of shoes except for the first few rows which they pack with the household item hoping that a lazy worker only glances at the first few rows.
After the cargo goes through US customs, the 40-foot containers go to storage facilities instead of going to the address listed on the manifests. Once the fake sneakers make it to the warehouses in the United States they are broken down into smaller quantities to be sold.