Real Vs Fake: KAWS x Air Jordan 4 Retro “Cool Grey” 2017
jordan 4 Retro Kaws

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What sets apart a high quality, brand authentic sneaker from a manufactured fake? Find out with Real Vs Fake: KAWS x Air Jordan 4 Retro “Cool Grey” edition.

When it comes to Jordan brand, a retro sneaker can elevate your collection. The more exclusive, the better. However, with elusive kicks comes frauds looking to sell you a fake version. Flex your Real Vs Fake expertise with the KAWS x Air Jordan 4 Retro “Cool Grey.”

What you should know…

Originally released in March of 2017 along with an apparel collection, the Air Jordan 4 Retro Ks retailed for $350. Now, only three years later, the resale value is 5 times over. While the AJ 4 silhouette comes from designer Tinker Hatfield, the Retro Cool Grey marks the collaborative efforts of Joran brand and street artist Brain Donnelly. Or, as he’s better known, KAWS.

jordan 4 Retro Kaws
jordan 4 Retro Kaws

The KAWS x AJ 4 Retro removes OG plastic accents. A premium Grey suede upper and matching midsole take their place. Looking closely, you’ll note the cartoon gloved hands embedded in the suede overlays. Additionally, KAWS’ ‘XX’ branding on the heel tab as well as Jumpman hang tag. To say people wanted these shoes is an understatement. In London, raffle participants had to be read Riot Act by the police during an in-store lottery. On top of that, hackers straight up attempted to rig the drawing on Brain Donnelly’s site directly for better odds at winning.

Needless to say, some one could make real bank selling a forged pair of KAWS AJ 4s. Particularly to someone who wasn’t aware of the hype surrounding these sneakers. With that said, let’s get into the differences between and real vs fake pair.

Round 1…

Real Vs Fake KAWS x AJ 4 Retro


1. Color on the fake sneaker look dulled when compared to the real one. Additionally, the fraud is bulkier with quarter panels expanding further out. This means, low quality materials were used in the hasty construction.


2. Stitching often becomes a giveaway. While the factual AJ 4 has slightly curved edges around the Jumpman tongue tab with special attention paid to the corners.
3. Speaking of Jumpman, on the legit sneaker we see a finely detailed outline and shiny embossed silhouette of MJ. The bogus KAWS comes off flat, faded, and visibly less precise.
4. While obvious on this pair, thickness and color of laces aren’t always easy to fabricate. The wide, flat, darker laces seen on the fake Retro aren’t standard for the Air Jordan 4. Moreover, the switch in tone throws off the colorway and completely hides the tongue below.


5. Stitching where upper meets midsole extend outward. Particularly, this shows at the toe. This is due to the use of Light Grey thread, making it stand out even more.
6. Looking at the forefoot flex notches that surround the vamp, we can see smaller perforations in the stitching. The phony has larger stitching here like the rest of the upper.
7. Toe box of the outsole glows in the dark on both iterations. However, the glow is less obvious on the lookalike and reads more blue than transparent.
8. Graphic detailing of gloved hands that covers the suede upper are definitely the most defining element. Yet on the imitation AJ 4, you almost can’t make out what the graphic is supposed to be.

Round 2…


1. Top stitching outlined on the heel stabilizer uses small, even stitches with a tonal Light Grey thread on the real sneaker. While the fake’s top stitching uses a much darker thread and the stitch pattern comes off as continuous and sloppy.

Real Vs Fake KAWS x Jordan 4 Retro
KAWS X Jordan 4 Retro

2. This brings us to the overall shape of the heel stabilizer. The legit AJ 4 is perfectly symmetrical while the knock-off is uneven.

3. The midsole girth differs from cop to copy. The copy’s is bulkier and takes up space where the outsole should be, making it visibly uneven when viewed from the back.

jordan 4 Retro Kaws
jordan 4 Retro Kaws

4. Again, girth becomes an issue on the midsole throwing off the forefoot outsole. Ultimately, the fake looks rushed and unpolished from the side view.

5. We see more top stitch issues on the ankle stabilizer. Darker thread makes tiny, uneven stitch work with lower quality materials went into the fraudulent KAWS x AJ 4. This leaves no space for perforations as seen in the real sneaker.

6. The exposed Zoom Air unit in the authentic Jordan 4 midsole looks smooth, filled-in and crisp on the authentic kick. Not so much on the lookalike.

7. When in doubt, always check the font. Artificial sneakers can’t match the patented script perfectly and comes out bolder, bulky or uneven.


So, how’s your eye for detail? Could you spot all of the details on your own? Was this round easier than the last? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for the next installment of Real Vs Fake as well as more sneak peeks, reviews and releases of the hottest kicks.

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