Vice profiles the lucrative business of counterfeit sneakers.
Counterfeit sneaker operations have become extremely lucrative business over the last few decades, as replicas of popular sneakers like Yeezys and Air Jordans have become nearly undetectable from the authentic products. Recently, police busted a massive counterfeit sneaker operation in New York and New Jersey, which produced millions of dollars worth of fake Nikes and Air Jordans that cost the brands more than $70 million over the past two and a half years.
Coming on the heels of that bust, VICE News Tonight on HBO profiled a black-market seller by the name of Chan, who has a knack for getting "high-quality replicas" off the streets and into the hands of hypebeasts all around the globe. For instance, Chan sells replicas of the Balencia Triple S - a sneaker that resells for $1200 - for just $120.
"I've spoken to some of our customers some of them are high school students some are college students university students. So yeah these are our main crowd you generally," Chan told VICE News. "It's usually the kids themselves were very resourceful. They understand about replicas they understand that these are high-quality sneakers and they come finding you saying, hey I'd like to buy some high-quality replicas from you."
Chan, who operates out of Putian, "the fake sneaker capital of China," tells Vice that he sells roughly 120 pairs of these "high quality replicas" a day, which on average brought in over $100,000 a month. Although vendors such as himself are subject to police raids and potential lawsuits, Chan has been able to stay out of trouble and thrive, despite the growing number of "difficult customers."
"Unfortunately, it's just the hard and fast rules of doing business. You meet difficult customers. You'll meet cheaters, you meet scammers who will be out there to cheat you off a pair of shoes," Chan said. "So, unfortunately, this kind of thing happens, especially when you're on a public domain like the Internet."
Check out the footage in the video embedded below.