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Why Nike's Quality Control Is Suddenly Under Scrutiny

Problems with the Air Jordan 3 'White Cement' Reimagined keep cropping up as Nike fights a legal battle against high-quality counterfeits.


Has Nike's quality control gotten worse? There's certainly a big uptick of anecdotal reports pointing out botched products. A bevy of recent Tweets call out mismatched logos, missing (or bolded) patterns, misshapen heels and more.

Most of them cite the recently released Air Jordan 3 'White Cement' Reimagined, a popular reissue and shoo-in for sneaker of the year. And while it may make some sneakerheads's year-end lists, the $229 shoe has been a disappointment for many. Anecdotes about the popular Panda Dunk are a dime a dozen, too, from unfinished stitches to missing parts.

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All of this comes as Nike wages a legal war against sneaker resale site StockX, which Nike says has sold over 100 fake Nike sneakers — 38 of them in a single purchase to a reseller. But StockX says the shoes passed authentication checks Nike itself approved. The implication? Fakes are eclipsing the genuine item in quality.

Canadian sneaker program the Sockjig Sneaker Podcast has been in touch with the reseller who purchased the 38 fake pairs that passed StockX's Nike-approved authenticity checks. The shoes, Air Jordan 1s in the University Blue, Mocha, and Hyper Royal Jordan colorways, had been purchased at an all-time low price. Why? "Very good quality fakes [flooded] the market in summer of 2022, which is why the market had dipped on them," Sockjig explains. The reseller has since returned the fakes to StockX for a full refund, but not before Nike came by to inspect them.

StockX, for its part, has responded, emphasizing its commitment to customer satisfaction.

"We take customer protection extremely seriously, and we’ve invested millions to fight the proliferation of counterfeit products that virtually every global marketplace faces today," StockX said in a statement. "Nike’s latest filing is not only baseless but also is curious given that their own brand protection team has communicated confidence in our authentication program, and that hundreds of Nike employees – including current senior executives – use StockX to buy and sell products."

Nike has declined to comment publicly, preferring to settle its issues with StockX in court. In terms of shoes with quality control issues, Nike is accepting returns of affected pairs, as always, and cannot guarantee a one-for-one swap for a pair without problems.

StockX pledged a similar commitment. "While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we are confident in our legal defenses and have continuously supplied appropriate information in a timely manner," StockX tells Gear Patrol. "We stand by our verification process as one of the first and best in the industry, and in 2022 alone, rejected more than 330K products worth nearly $100M."

"StockX also has a Buyer Promise in place, which is central to our mission of offering a safe and secure marketplace for both buyers and sellers. If we make a mistake and incorrectly verify an item, we’re committed to making it right for our customers."

We'll update this story as the lawsuit unfolds, and more information about the alleged quality control issues inevitably surface.

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