Everyone who has bought shoes at online stores must have done these things:

After receiving the shoes, the first thing is to smell it. Well, no bad smell is detected. Then compare every detail of the shoes you’ve received with that on its official website, including its logo, embroidery, and alignment. You would probably be sure that it’s 100% authentic.

However, it is probably a pair of brand shoes made in Putian. You may not even know where Putian is, but you must have heard of fake sneakers from Putian.

How did Putian become the capital of fake sneakers workshop?

Let’s begin the story with the pictures below. This is a pair of AJ11 Concord. The original version looks like picture on the left, and its price has soared up to $427 per pair. The Putian high imitation version on the right costs you only $119.

In addition to its cheap price, Putian high imitation shoes are so “authentic” that its appearance, its quality and everything is so identical to the genuine products, which will fool your eyes.

You can easily distinguish common fake sneakers in the market from the genuine ones from logo or other details.

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But Putian high imitation shoes shows respect for every customer who does not like high imitation shoes but has to buy high imitation shoes.

If you don’t take a ruler to measure the distance from the logo to the edge of the shoe in millimeters, you can’t see the difference between them and the genuine product.

What’s more, some Putian high imitation shoes are more “real” than the real brand shoes. Can you find out the fake sneakers from the authentic ones in the following picture?

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In 2014, Wenzhou Quality Inspection Institute (according to the sports shoe standard GB/T15017-2005) has tested the high imitation Adidas ZX700 running shoes, and found that its material is the same as the genuine shoes. And the wear resistance and folding resistance are almost the same. There is only a slight difference in the hardness of the sole.

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Some shoe lovers even reckon that if your shoes haven’t been worn out after one year, they must be Putian products.

How are the ultra-realistic Putian fake sneakers produced?

A Putian boss revealed that they would buy two pairs of genuine shoes, and one pair would be used for dismantling so as to facilitate the study of materials. The other pair is used for repeated comparison after the imitations are made, until no difference is visible to naked eye.

Such small workshops are everywhere in Putian, Fujian Province. Behind the “international” local indigenous brands like “Panix” and “Nev Buylane”, you would see rows of high imitation shoes lined up, and even the producer can’t tell the difference.

Putian embarked on the path of fake shoes workshop, coincidentally, but also compelled by circumstances.

You may not know that 50 years ago even before you were born, most of the sneakers in the world were originally produced in Taiwan, China. And at that time, Taiwan’s economy has risen rapidly and labor costs have skyrocketed.

As a result, multinational shoe companies quickly transferred their “workshop” and prepared to transfer to Southeast Asia and China, where labor is cheaper. Fuzhou, Jinjiang and Putian in Fujian Province were the main selected sites.

Putian was originally a shoe producing city and was the center of the shoe industry in Fujian Province. But none of these could compare with Putian’s later achievements. Nike, Adidas, Puma, these international brands have entered Putian.

In 1986, the total output value of shoes and leather industry in Putian reached 110 million yuan. Within only ten years, the total output value of Putian’s shoe industry soared to 4.29 billion yuan.

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Unfortunately, history always repeats itself.

It didn’t take long that the newly emerging Putian is taken place by Southeast Asia. In 2001, the minimum wage in Vietnam was about $24 per month, but Putian’s minimum wage has reached $54 per month.

Putian has only enjoyed such profits for just 20 years. The way Taiwan was taken place back then is now happening again to Putian.

Then what should Putian do?

Putian shoe factory has been manufacturing Nike and Adidas for so many years, and many people are full of shoe making skills.

They only need one weapon to get back its yesterday’s flourish. As a result, some counterfeiters bribed workers in the OEM factories to take out design drawings and samples.

Nike foundry had to come up with a trick: nail the sample to the wall.

But there is no way to stop these counterfeiters. Even before the genuine shoes were produced, Putian fake shoes were already on sale.

It must be emphasized that Fujian is not only making fake shoes in Putian, but also in Jinjiang.

However, later, Jinjiang is better known for its own domestic independent brands, like Anta, 361 degrees, and Hongxing Erke, all made by Jinjiang people.

Putian, on the opposite, has gone further and further on the path of producing fake shoes.

According to the survey of the International Consumers Union, the gross profit of shoe factories only accounts for 2%, and the labor cost is only 0.4%.

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That is to say, if you buy a pair of genuine AJ13 at the counter for 1399 yuan, the OEM shoe factory can only make 28 yuan, and the workers get less, 5.6 yuan.
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However, a pair of sneakers costs 5000 to 6000 yuan in the market, and the Putian high imitation version only costs 280 yuan. The profit in between can reach 100 yuan, accounting for 36%.

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Larger high imitation shoe manufacturers can benefit nearly one million in a month.

It’s not that Putian has never thought of tearing off the label of “the capital of piracy”. Since 2014, Putian government has organized 3 large-scale anti-counterfeiting activities, and the pirated shoes seized each time can make countless scalpers lose their jobs.

It’s just that Putian’s fake shoes are backed by the clan society. It is as difficult to smash the fake shoe industry in Putian as smashing the roots of a century-old tree.

Today, Putian’s high imitation shoes are still exported overseas.

They would put a “Made in Vietnam” tag on the inside of the tongue, accept credit card payment, and provide you with a formal invoice.

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That’s right, the half price AJ you get back from the domestic website overseas may be made in Putian for one-day overseas tour.

Putian’s dream is to make the world wear famous brand shoes.