The internet has done many great things for the shoe industry but also invited many bad people to the table. The worst for the shoe industry is the fake shoe brands that steal other brands’ photos, pass them off as their own, and scam people into believing they make quality footwear for $99.99. While these people deserve a world of karma, the reality is that you are the fool if you fall for it.
The button boots by my brand J.FitzPatrick have been ripped off hundreds of times by Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese companies stealing my photos and sending people the worst-looking button boots I have ever seen. Just see the photos. A lot of these companies used to (and still do) pop up on eBay and sell them for under $100 or something ridiculous like that. My company always had them taken down but a week later or so, a new one popped up. I realized it was pointless to battle them and thought that if someone buys one, well in reality they will learn a good lesson as you simply cannot make button boots that look like mine for under $100. It’s not possible and if someone falls for it, well a fool hopefully learns the hard way.
The fake shoe brand tricksters have become smarter though. They are now off of eBay and have actual websites. These websites can look professional and really trick you into believing they are legit. But they are not. Now, I can spot one a mile away as I have been immersed in the shoe industry and quality footwear for the last 20 years and if there is one thing I learned is that you cannot fake quality or sell it for basement bargain pricing. And these cheap knockoffs are easy to spot, especially when they mix photos of their actual shoes next to photos that they rob of makers who sell for $1000. The shoes are night and day. It’s actually funny that people can fall for this.
But the real good ones are the ones that are smart enough to only use good photos, showing good shoes and selling them at these questionable prices. Those are the ones that really trick the masses. So, if you are a novice, how can you tell? Well, allow me to explain the tell-tale signs so you do not get duped into buying fake shoes by fake companies.
- Pictures are inconsistent. Most well-respected brands have consistent photography. That is because one photographer took the photos and did so in a manner that makes it look clean on the collection’s page. So when you see photos that are all over the place, that is a sure sign of a thieving company selling fake stuff. Most professional companies use white background photos as well for the website’s main image on the product page. When you see hero-style photos only as the main image, start to question and look further
- Multiple addresses are listed on their website. This is not necessarily always the case but most brands will have their registered address and contact location in the same country. When you start seeing a registered address in one country, a contact address in another, and a third address elsewhere that is usually a bad sign. Especially, when there is a 3rd address.
- No contact info. When you are having a hard time finding the contact info that is usually a bad sign of a fake company that doesn’t want to be contacted. Especially when you cannot find a simple email address. One can understand not having a store or physical location as an online shop but omitting an email address is definitely a sign of a scammer.
- Fake reviews. When you see these generic reviews like “Shoes are great!” or any of these three-word sentences that really say nothing and do not tell a story or anything like that, then be wary. Most people leaving a review actually have something to say ad they were emotionally charged to do so, whether good or bad.
- They are too cheap to be true. Literally. You simply cannot fake a certain type of quality. Material costs alone prohibit selling under a certain price, specifically $100. Even $200. Quality shoes for the money part cannot really start lower than $200. It is actually impressive how Meermin manages it. But I do not see that lasting.
So beware of the scams. They are everywhere now. Even on Instagram, you find these so-called shoe pages showing every brand under the sun’s photos and then claiming that they can make them for $89.99 by just clicking the link in their profile. It’s wild and silly at the same time.
And if in doubt, reach out to MB Shoe Doc on IG and ask him as he is the king of sniffing out these fake shoe brands passing off as legit.
You will think that you are buying the buckle boots below by Septieme Largeur and what you will get is directly below which is the reality of these scam companies’ capabilities. All zipper boots too, which is kind of funny. It’s also odd to me that they mix in their terrible-looking shoes with the good ones as if no one will notice. Take, for example, the VASS croc shoe and the Saint Crispins loafers, and then compare those to the buckle boots directly below. It’s embarrassing. And see the testimonials highlight tab on their IG profile. Tricking you. They have a photo of an Allen Edmonds shoe delivered to a client in the US with a great review. It simply cannot be true. So be warned and beware!