Global trade provided our world with a huge variety of goods. Of course, this also applies to soccer cleats. There are many models and price ranges to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for. However, recent years marked the appearance of shady websites that are selling fake soccer cleats.
So, are these cleats still good for playing soccer? Should you pay any heed to the fact that they’re fake as long as you’re saving some funds?
But first, let’s see what are those fake cleats and how you can spot them?
What are the fake soccer cleats?
Fake soccer cleats have been around for as long as football boots have been around. But they really started to kick off in the last few years mainly because buying boots online has become so much more common.
Counterfeit soccer cleats, also known as fake, also known as replicas are an illegal copy of a product that already exists. They are made by illegal organizations who are producing boots that have the Nike swoosh or the Adidas stripes that looks somewhat like the real thing but of course they have nothing to do with Nike or Adidas or any other legitimate brand.
There are two myths regarding the relationship between the fake and the original soccer cleats.
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that the fake boots are made in the same factory as the real boots. Fake football boots are not made by any of the brands.
Now, brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour, New Balance and all the other big brands produce cheaper versions of the same shoe. Many people think that these cheaper than the high-end original models are fakes. In truth, they’re all original that just are slightly cheaper versions.
You can read more about that in my article on the reasons why the soccer cleat brands are producing cheaper versions of the same soccer cleats.
Why Are People Buying Fake Cleats?
Most of the time it’s because of their price range. Not all people are not in a financial situation to spend $300 on a single pair of football boots.
It’s very appealing to go for the cheaper variant that looks similar to the original model. Many amateur soccer players want to buy the same shoes as their idols but those are mostly coming in high price tag.
Another huge reason is that they simply don’t know that they’re buying fake cleats. Basically, they got scammed into buying a product of lesser quality without their knowledge.
Below you will find some useful tips to help you identify fake soccer boots.
What Are the Main Signs That Soccer Cleats Are Fake?
Sellers are getting increasingly better at concealing that their products are fakes. However, there are always some clear signs when there’s something fishy. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:
The Website Looks Suspicious
A good place to start would to look at this site that you’re trying to buy the boot from. You should always do some research before buying something on the Internet. If you haven’t heard of that site before then alarm bells should be ringing inside your head and you should probably go and look for some reviews of the site on Google to see if you can trust it or not. Ask around and look for some legitimate websites that have a history of good reviews.
It’s also a good sign when a website allows you to return the product if you aren’t satisfied.
Furthermore, the site of a fake company will lack real comments and feedback and basically, all pairs will have a five-star rating.
If you are going to be an authorized retailer for any legit brand there is no way that they will let you sell counterfeit boots in the exact same store or website. It’s either legit or it’s fake it’s it’s never a combination of the two. So if you find a reliable store you can rest assured that you will only be going to buy original products.
Some trusted soccer cleat retailers are:
Sometimes you want to buy football boots that are slightly older or that cannot be found on trusted retailers. So you might have to go on Instagram or Facebook Marketplace or eBay to find what you want. However, these well-known selling platforms are plagued with problems revolving around fake products. For example, some sellers on eBay put the images of the real cleat models in the product descriptions while still selling fakes. Sometimes you’ll be able to get your money back, but it will still take a lot of effort and some headaches. In you are going to buy from such platform stick to people you trust or have a good reputation.
Unreasonably Low Prices
There’s one thing in common with all websites that sell fake soccer cleats – their prices are very appealing. You can find some brands that are sold for the fraction of the actual model’s price. However, as in all areas of life, if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true at all.
A sure giveaway is if they have a major price reduction on a model that just came out. Legitimate discounts are usually relatively small and are rarely present with newer soccer cleat models.
The cleats that are offered on these websites are manufactured by companies that copy actual models and make cheap variants. They do this to earn some quick money. In the end, the shoes that they sell somewhat resemble the real thing. However, under the hood, the products are completely different.
Popular Boots Are the Main Target
As these companies are looking for quick and easy profit, they will usually pick the most popular cleat models on the market for their counterfeiting operation.
This will appeal to the largest portion of the customers and increase the chances of selling more pairs. If the brand or its model series is popular, you can expect a lot of fake alternatives on display.
The Design Patterns
Some fake soccer cleats manufacturers put some effort into the looks of their product. It at least resembles the original. If you’re inexperienced, this can be a bit hard to spot. Still, the materials that are used are always of lower quality than in the original product. The aesthetics of the cleat will be affected by this.
On the other hand, some models are just blatantly looking like fakes. Some of the most common design flaws are:
– The colors will usually be a bit wrong or just plain different. If you’ve ended up on a website and they have colorways that you know for a fact do not exist or colorways that you’ve just quite simply never seen before don’t buy anything from that website. Another red flag is when every single colorway has every single size which is not the case in real soccer cleats.
– The colors and the effects on the soleplates will usually be different.
– Also, sometimes the logo of the original manufacturer will be reversed, changed a bit, or just completely missing from the shoe.
– In some cases the shape will be completely different from the original.
A good idea when trying to spot this is to google the name of the model that you want to buy. After this, you can compare the images. As we mentioned, some sellers still put the real product’s pictures in their descriptions, but this method should at least help you to avoid some fake cleats.
The Sturdiness of the Boot
This is a method that you can only try once you already bought a pair of soccer cleats. It should help you find out if they’re fake or not. Fake boots will always be of poorer quality. You can apply pressure on an area of the cleat (sole or heel) and test if the shoe bends.
Fake cleats will be too flexible around the midfoot portion, which is where you are wanting to be really stiff to give you high-level responsiveness.
Authentic cleats shouldn’t bend too much as they are designed to be sturdy and firm in order to protect your foot. If the shoe seems flimsy it’s a clear sign that the product is fake.
The problem with fake soccer cleats is that although they made of materials that might look like the legit version they don’t have the structural integrity of them and it can be difficult to spot those small manufactural differences between them. Below are some tips for what to look for at the fake shoes:
– Most commonly the fake boots will have a wide fit in the front and middle foot.
– The upper is shiny in places because of the low-quality plastic materials used. The upper itself is usually very stiff you might see cracks appearing.
– In fake cleats, the foam padding around your ankle for comfort is not always there.
– For the shoes that they have it, the textured sock it’s not very stretchy compared to the original one.
– An excess of glue between the upper and the soleplate will be noticeable in the counterfeit boots. They experience sole separation very early on due to the poor craftsmanship.
– Looking at the insoles they are often thick and chunky. In any case, buying a separate pair of insoles is always advisable when purchasing new soccer cleats.
– The soleplate is very soft so there isn’t any kind of rigidity to it. You can feel the stud pressure under your feet almost instantly.
– Generally, they are bulky and nowhere near as lockdown as the original. They do not have the streamlined silhouette that it’s going to hug and snug around the foot.
This is another sign of a fake soccer boot that you can only realize after purchasing the shoe.
The materials used for the upper are basically cheap plastic and after unboxing you will feel a wear smell that is certainly different from that of the original boots.
The Packaging is Different
When it comes to counterfeit products, they come in a box that is unusually small. The box will typically be way too small for the boots and that’s simply because the counterfeit manufacturers are producing tons of these fakes and they make the boxes smaller in order to store more boots.
Sometimes you’re going to notice that the box itself does not have the brand name tag which is a red flag if you don’t think you bought a fake.
Finally, when opening it up you don’t get a string bag you don’t get any extras that you would normally get.
Why should you avoid buying fake soccer cleat models?
First off, you should consider the main intention behind all these manufacturers that are making fake soccer cleats.
They produce cleats that are just meant to look like their much more expensive counterparts and be sold quickly and easily. They don’t offer anything near the quality of the original pair as the point is just to imitate their designs. They’re trying to just basically make as much money as possible and they don’t care about the quality of the product. They just want to make a quick sale.
So, the quality, the materials, the construction, and the durability especially are absolute trash. The shoes will fall apart after a few playing sessions. There is a perception of value because you’re seemingly getting this super expensive boot for a fraction of the price but what you’re actually getting is garbage. The cheap price always comes at the expense of quality and durability. If you want a shoe that’s durable and performs well, you should stick to legitimate brands.
Furthermore, the original manufacturers compete with each other to improve their models and increase sales. This means that they put a lot of effort into using good materials and testing the performance of their products. By purchasing illegal products you are undermining the soccer cleat industry as the money is going in crappy products and not for innovation and development of new quality products.
Moreover, you can get some injuries or some blisters as the materials are bad and not suited for running. They do not have that lockdown fit that the legit soccer shoes have.
So to summarize, you should avoid buying fake soccer cleats because it’s illegal, it’s bad for the football industry, it’s bad for your overall performance and enjoyment of the game, can be bad for your health, and finally, it’s bad for your wallet as you are spending money on stuff that you can’t really use for playing football. They’re not built to fit well, they’re not built to perform and they’re not built to be durable. As a matter of fact, they’re just built to look like real products and nothing more.
What you should buy instead of buying fake soccer cleats if you are on a tight budget?
A lot of people are able to justify these fake soccer cleats because they are inexpensive. But this argument in favor of counterfeit boots cannot stand as Nike, Adidas, Puma or whatever brand are also making cheaper versions of all of these boots. And in some cases, they’re going to be as much if not less expensive than the most expensive counterfeit product.
So if you’re on a tight budget and you don’t have the money for a top-end product buy a takedown model that meets your budget requirements. Because a takedown Nike shoe is an authentic product that is actually made to be worn, it’s made to perform and it’s going to have some kind of durability to it.
And if for some reason they break after you’ve used them three times or something like that, you can send them back and you’re going to get a new pair because you bought legit football boots that are covered by warranty. They’re covered because the brands behind them are actually standing behind their products, they know they’re good products and you pay good money for it.
Another solution for buying cheap cleats would be to purchase someone else’s shoe. Again you should only buy from a seller that you can trust. But is this a good idea?
Unlike a fake t-shirt or something that serves no real purpose from a performance standpoint, the reason why you’re buying a football boot is for the performance characteristics is for the fit is for the comfort is for the durability.
So, if you are serious about your play you should definitely go for an authentic pair of soccer cleats. And if you are going to spend money on a pair of boots you obviously want to be the best possible.