$2 million in fake ‘retro’ Nikes labeled as napkins are seized in California, feds say

U.S. Border Patrol agents in conjunction with Homeland Security discovered fake Nike shoes while performing an enforcement exam on a shipment coming from China to California, the department confirmed in a press release.

More than 14,000 shoes arrived at the Long Beach seaport in crates labeled “napkins” to “disguise the illicit cargo” the department said.

Had the shoes been authentic, they would be valued at $2.2 million.

“Intellectual property theft is a crime that leads to lost revenue for American industry, a loss of American jobs, and often poses a threat to public health and safety,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “CBP is the frontline that protects American ingenuity, without any doubt, one of the most valuable assets of our country.”

According to the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Center of Excellence, the confiscated shoes were found to be “in violation of Nike’s Air Jordan 1 Off-White, Air Jordan 12, Air Jordan 1 (blue, black, red, white), Air Jordan 11, Air Max ’97 protected designs and trademarks.”

Because the shoes are in such high demand, officials say a “legitimate pair can potentially sell for $1,500 dollars and up to $2,000 online. Consumers shopping online are eventually likely to encounter fraudulent sellers.”

In December 2018, CBP officials “intercepted a shipment of over over 9,000 counterfeit Nike sneakers in New York,” according to CNN. Had the shoes been legitimate, their value totaled close to $1.7 million.

How can you tell if your Nike shoes are fake or real?

WikiHow provides numerous signs to look for if you’re dealing with a potential counterfeiter. Those tips include ensuring the company you are buying from has a return policy and looking up the shoe’s “SKU number.”

“Every pair of authentic Nike shoes comes with an SKU number that is identical to the SKU number on their box,” the website says. “If the numbers are missing or do not match, they are likely fakes.”

Tyler Carter, a Real-Time reporter based out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is an avid lover of media, fitness, sports and telling impactful stories. Previously, he served as a trending/breaking news/crime reporter for and The Mississippi Press.