Inside the Knockoff-Tennis-Shoe Factory

good article in the NYTimes you might enjoy about fake shoe production. Interesting to read about the dynamics of the copy production and the obvious demand coming from the west.

A shopkeeper in Italy placed an order with a Chinese sneaker factory in Putian for 3,000 pairs of white Nike Tiempo indoor soccer shoes. It was early February, and the shopkeeper wanted the Tiempos pronto. Neither he nor Lin, the factory manager, were authorized to make Nikes. They would have no blueprints or instructions to follow. But Lin didn’t mind. He was used to working from scratch. A week later, Lin, who asked that I only use his first name, received a pair of authentic Tiempos, took them apart, studied their stitching and molding, drew up his own design and oversaw the production of 3,000 Nike clones. A month later, he shipped the shoes to Italy. “He’ll order more when there’s none left,” Lin told me recently, with confidence.

great article btw

I talked to a friend here in footwear and asked him the information that was missing from the story. What would be the estimated price of the 3,000 fake pairs of shoes from Putian?

His estimate is 7-8$ a pair. Decent materials. The rubber sole molds have already been duplicated, according to him, so the biggest part of the investment has already been made. Full spec Nike material has various specialized coatings and might be sourced from Korea or Taiwan and move the cost as high as twenty dollars.