Sneakers selling on the secondary market is over a billion dollar a year industry worldwide. Millions of sneakers are being bought and sold on places like eBay, GOAT, StockX, and locally. Up until about 5 years ago, when you purchased a pair of exclusive sneakers online you did not really know if they were legit or not.
As fake sneakers became harder and harder to spot, a lot of fake Nike, Yeezy, and Jordan were being sold online and often times the buyer did not know if the item they purchased online was not 100% authentic and purchased from the brand or an authorized retailer.
Then StockX and Goat came into the picture and started authenticating sneakers. They act as the middle-man between buyer and seller and put the stamp of approval on the sneaker, claiming that they inspected the sneaker and it passed their inspection enough to be considered an "authentic" sneaker.
How Do Sneaker Authenticators Authenticate a Shoe?
This is not an exact list of what a specific company does. But, after researching what the various companies do you can get a good sense of the process they go through to determine if that pair of Yeezy's or Jordan 1's you purchased is authentic. Some companies have reported that they have 50 item checklist to determine if a pair is authentic or fake.
But before the item is looked at by a person, some of the companies like GOAT use ai (artificial intelligence) to red flag a fake. The ai takes a lot of pictures of the sneaker and compares the photos to previously authenticated pairs of the same sneaker. If shape or stitching is off the AI can detect it with about 99% accuracy. Since this technology is not perfect it still needs to be looked at by a person and here are some things that they would look at./
The box is very important in the authentication process. Things they maybe asking are is the box the right shape, is the font on the label the same, are the quality control stamps inside the box, how about the texture of the paper inside the box?
Then they look at the sneaker and smell the sneaker to make sure there are no strong odors from the glue. Is the color and material what it needs to be? Is the toe box the right shape and measurements? Is the stitching the right width? Does the logo look the same? Are the size of the lace loops the right size? When viewed under a black light does anything light up that should not? Does the size tag UPC look good and is it produced in the right country/factory, with the right production date range?
You can expect an authenticator to be asking these types of questions and going through some sort of checklist to determine if the shoes are fake or authentic. If they pass the checklist, they are tagged with their authenticator approval, and logged into a database.
Picture from eBay