There is no denying the importance of Tinker Hatfield in the sneaker industry. His creations have reshaped the entire footwear market, giving us a brief insight into his inner mind. One creation more than any other, however, truly sparked a once in a generation development in footwear; Air Max. For more than 33 years, Air Max sneakers and visible Air Unit’s in sneakers have all been down to Tinker Hatfield. His innovation created one of the most successful lines in shoe history, and rightfully so.
In 2019, Nike celebrated Hatfield’s iconic achievement by releasing a limited edition Nike Air Max 1. Called the “Sketch to Shelf”, the shoe featured the original notes that Hatfield made when he designed the Air Max 1 outside the Georges Pompidou Centre. Adorned in the familiar white mesh and red and grey suede, the sneaker is a tribute to Hatfield’s iconic design. After selling out fairly quickly last year, the Nike Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” has since become a collector’s piece. However, it also means that more fake Air Max 1s have entered the market.
Our resident authentication expert Dr KLEKT thought it was about time to teach you how to spot a fake Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf.” This is one of the best Air Max 1 fakes that has come through KLEKT HQ and the differences are hard to tell. As with all our fake Air Max guides, we’ll be teaching you the key points to look out for. Without further delay, let’s take a look at how to spot a fake Nike Air Max 1.
As with all of our Real vs Fake Guides, we’re going to test your expertise before we dive into the comparison. One of the Nike Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” sneakers below is real and one is fake. We want you to decide which you think is the real Air Max 1 and which is the fake Air Max 1. So, which of these Air Max 1s do you think is authentic?
As with any Real vs Fake guide, the first thing that we want to talk about is the price. Fake sneakers, and in particular fake Air Max, are not too expensive. By no means is this the most expensive sneaker that we have covered in RvF, but our advice is still the same. Most fake Air Max 1s will be cheaper than the real deal as a way to entice the buyer.
This was a limited edition release that cost around £130 at retail and varies from £200-300 depending on the size. If the price of the Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” is too cheap, then chances are its not the real deal. As we always say, if it’s too good to be true, that usually means that it is!
If you said that the Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” on the right-hand side was real…you’re correct! This was certainly one of the tougher comparisons that we have done so congrats if you got it right. If you got it wrong then don’t worry. Dr KLEKT will show you how to tell a fake Nike Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” in a few simple steps. Let’s get started, shall we?
Now, although this Air Max 1 Sketch to Shelf is good, there are a few key areas that you can check straight away that will determine whether or not it.s real or not. The easiest section to take a look at is the suede throughout the shoe. As you would expect, Nike has used a premium suede on the sneaker to showcase all the fine details.
On the real pair, this suede is soft, furry and reactive to the touch. You can see that when the suede has been touched that it moves, showcasing all of those key details that we spoke about. With this being a Nike shoe sketch, those small details really stand out.
However, on the fake Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf”, it’s not suede at all. From afar, these sneakers look very close, but up close the differences really show. The material used is not suede at all but more of a felt. It is cheap and rough, almost “like sandpaper” as Dr KLEKT pointed out. If it feels rough then it’s not real.
With this being a drawing of a Nike shoe, there is text all over it. As we mentioned, Hatfield made a sketch of the Nike Air Max 1 in 1986 after visiting the Georges Pompidou Centre. The sneaker shows of the original Nike sketch details such as mentioning materials etc.
You can see on the real pair that there is writing on the midsole that states “Air Max Sketch”. On the real Air Max, this text is perfectly written and not blotchy. The font is thick and you can see that there is no cracking on any of the letters.
On the fake AM1, this writing is too thin and is blotchy. It shows that the fake manufacturer has rushed the job, not taking enough time to make sure that the font is the right thickness. Although it’s a small detail, it plays a big part in how to spot a fake Nike Air Max 1.
Another small detail on this particular Nike Air Max 1 comes on the lateral side of the Air Unit. Above each of the Air Max 1 Sketch to Shelf shoes, there are six dots. You can see that on the real pair, these dots are printed perfectly. They are crisp, have no smudging and they also do not have any chip marks.
However, when looking at the fake Air Max 1, you can see that it’s an entirely different story. The dots are smudged and some have not been pressed into the midsole unit at all. This is a serious flaw on these Air Max 1s, but it’s a good sign on how to tell a fake Nike Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf”.
Nike really put a lot of effort into getting these Tinker Air Max. So much so that even the sole of the sneaker managed to get a clever graphic application underneath. You can see that this graphic goes throughout the entire upper and is a cleverly hidden detail from Nike as a homage to Tinker Hatfield.
On the real Air Max 1 Sketch, you should see that this graphic has thick black lines across the entire piece. It also features a cloudy style sole which makes you really focus on the detail. However, on the fake Air Max 1 Sketch, the sole graphic uses much thinner lines and has a see-through sole. These are small details but make a difference if you want to know how to spot fake Nike Air Max 1s.
As with most Air Max 1s, there is a “Nike Air” on the heel of this shoe. However, this classic logo can be seen on just the left shoe of this sneaker. On this particular Air Max 1, it’s important to take note of the “I” in Air.
On the real Air Max 1 Sketch to Shelf, this “I” starts out quite fat at the top and gets a bit thinner. Nike did this as this was what the logo looked like on the original Air Max 1 sketch. Although it may look incorrect, it should actually look like this.
However, the fake has not got this detail right. They have actually stitched the “Nike Air” perfectly, which in this case, is incorrect. The devil is in the detail on these Nike Air Max 1s!
If you ever want to know how to spot fake Air Max, then just remember the following steps:
- The Price – if it’s too good to be true then it usually is!
- The Font – make sure that the font has been printed perfectly and has no bleeding
- The Dots – same as the font, make sure that the dots are printed and do not bleed
- The Sole – the graphic underneath should have thick lines and the sole should be cloudy
- The “I” – make sure that the “I” in “AIR” is fat at the top and then gets thinner
Well, there you go. Now you know how to spot fake Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf” sneakers! We hope that you enjoyed this week’s Real vs Fake and if you need any more fake education guides, check out the KLEKT Blog.