New York is the mecca of the sneaker world. From the shops to the rich history to the legendary slang (like dubbing the Air Force 1 the “Uptown”), there’s a strong argument to be made that the genesis of sneaker culture as we know it today was birthed in the Big Apple. However, the extreme demand and overarching love for limited shoes in a market so large also increases the proliferation of fake goods for sale—and one of the largest fake Air Jordan trafficking rings to be uncovered in the last few years is now set to be brought to justice, as five people in NYC have been charged with bringing in a whopping $73 million of fake kicks from China.
The fakes seized by authorities—which mimic the exact color and construction of real Jordans, sans the logos—first arrived at New Jersey’s Port Of Newark, and were then distributed to locations in Brooklyn and Queens where false iterations of the iconic Jumpman branding was added. The ring of five counterfeiters have reportedly imported nearly half a million pairs of fake Nike and Air Jordan sneakers over the past few years, and investigators inspected more than 27,000 fake pairs over the last eight months before charging the quintet with both counterfeit trafficking conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods. If convicted, each could spend more than two decades in prison.
Although an experienced sneakerhead could likely spot the differences between a counterfeit pair and the real thing, the average consumer would have no idea that they were purchasing counterfeit goods. As knockoff shoes get more and more lifelike—for example, it’s now nearly impossible to tell the difference between real and fake adidas Yeezys—it’s always a plus to see large numbers of counterfeit goods removed from the market. Take a look at some of the fake “Barcelona Nights” Air Jordan 7s that were captured above, and check out our Jordan Release Dates page to stay up-to-date on all upcoming authentic Air Jordan releases.