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What Does Reps Mean in Shoes? How to Avoid Buying Them?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

What Does Reps Mean in Shoes

In most corporations, political groups, and schools, the term reps stand for “representatives.” Meanwhile, among gym-goers and athletes, it is an abbreviated word for “repetition.”

So, what does reps mean in shoes?

For sneakerheads, it is short for “replicas,” and they are ranked based on how closely they resemble their authentic counterparts.

Whether these clones are worth buying or not is up for debate. In any case, we will share what we know below and leave you to decide!

Reps Definition


Reps for shoes refers to the replicated versions of authentic sneakers sold by well-known footwear brands. In other words, they are copies made by unauthorized manufacturing facilities, many of which are found in Putian, China.

Take, for example, Nike’s collection of Air Jordan kicks with price tags that can go anywhere from $100 range to $32,000, which already costs half of the average annual salary in the US. However, reps for these shoes rarely exceed the $200 benchmark.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that some folks would go as far as scouring the internet to find rep Jordan sneakers—essentially close imitations of the real ones.

After all, these imitation factories have skilled workers and decades of history manufacturing original athletic footwear for major brands like Adidas and Nike.

Why Are Reps Important in Shoes?

Despite its notoriety, clandestine factories remain in the business because of the increased consumer demand.

Although many clones are affordable, rich avid collectors are willing to get hold of these reps by matching the price of the OGs (slang for original), especially when buying the limited editions.

Of course, high-end brands can always shut down these back-alley shoemakers by making more quantities of their most-coveted products. But that would potentially devalue the authentic sneakers.

Rep Grade Levels


Most people assume that reps are poorly-made. However, the truth is some of them can look and feel premium. As such, counterfeit buyers take the time to check and rate the sneakers in the market based on their quality. These are the “standardized” grading system:

1. Unauthorized Authentic (UA)

You’re going to have a rough time spotting the differences between UA reps vs real shoes. They were manufactured in the same factory and underwent the same quality check, which they failed to pass—usually either due to minor defects or that the factory made way too many shoes than the shoe brand asked for.

Simply put, these shoes are labeled as “UA” because they are sold to the public but without the brand’s approval.

Other sources say these are only second to 1:1. But what’s funny is that some peddlers tend to pass off their shoes as UA so that you won’t know they are “unauthentic.”

2. One-to-one (1:1)


Next on the ranking are the 1:1 replications, which are the exact duplicate of the authentic trainers, just like the UAs. They are constructed using the same materials and technologies and may or may not be produced by the same manufacturer.

The only difference is that manufacturers intentionally add a few unnoticeable flaws to avoid legal charges from the brand that contracted them.

3. Super Max Perfect (SMP)

SMP are your average good shoes. But their mid-grade materials and constructions are nowhere near the likes of 1:1 and UA, let alone the originals. If you take the time to inspect and compare them against real ones, you will most likely see some imperfections. To be fair, it is hard to notice the difference just by glancing.

4. Super Perfect (SP)

Contrary to its name, SPs are neither “super” nor “perfect.” Look closely, and you will find several flaws. Besides, it is quite rare for SPs to survive past the three-month mark. Their only redeeming quality is that they are comfier than “perfect” reps.

5. Perfect

Branded shoes with elaborate designs are not easy to copy, especially when the original manufacturer uses certain types of mesh or holograms. When making perfect reps, factories utilize substitute—and often substandard—materials to mimic the authentic ones.

6. AAA

Also known as “super fakes,” AAA sneakers are constructed with shoddy components and sold with missing parts. Make no mistake, most of them would be lucky to last even a month.

7. A/Regular

A/Regular reps are the lowest of the low. Counterfeiters put very little care into manufacturing. You don’t need to be a pedant to see the inaccuracies in every feature.

How to Know if Shoes Are Reps


1. Shop in person

Buying shoes in a third-party brick-and-mortar store allows you to scrutinize every inch of the shoes and try them on.

Inspect the stitchings, soles, fabrics, and insides with your eyes and hands to check for irregularities. Logos, in particular, should look the same as the originals—no distorted shapes or spelling errors. And if you smell a chemical odor, it means the materials are cheap.

2. Research and investigate when purchasing online

Some rep dealers do not shy away from labeling items with grade levels on the home page of their websites; others don’t. So, put on your detective hat, read about the shoes on reputable websites, and watch product-specific Youtube videos.

Another fail-proof method is to check if the seller accepts payment through Paypal. You can take advantage of this payment gateway’s buyer and seller protection services in case of fraudulent transactions.

3. Inspect the packaging and tags

No matter how good the factories are at copying OG sneakers, somehow, their packaging and tags miss the mark.

You can gauge the legitimacy of those kicks you are eyeing by comparing photographs of the original packaging online against the seller’s packaging. Check if the SKU code on the tag matches the one on the packaging.

Pro Tip: Search the sneakers on the Goat website or app and look for the SKU number under the “Facts” tab.

4. Other things to consider

Does the price seem a bit too low? That’s a red flag right there. Unless, of course, you are shopping at legitimate buy-and-sell online platforms like Goat or Grailed.

Whether it’s brand new or secondhand, ask for a receipt or proof of purchase. If the seller refuses to give you one, move on and find another shop.

The Legality of Reps


Given our lengthy discussion about the rep sneaker meaning, it is pretty obvious that manufacturing, selling, and buying such a product is illegal. Though interestingly, hardly anyone gets jailed for openly talking about owning reps online. Still, its bargain-basement price comes with a lot of risks:

  • The quality of the shoes suffers as the manufacturers cut corners in sourcing materials, construction, and quality control.
  • Branded shoes are expensive since they factor in the cost of after-sales services like returns, replacements, and even repairs. You can’t have these benefits with counterfeiters. They will close their business if authorities finally catch up with them, leaving you on your own to deal with a new pair of kicks you can’t use.
  • The shoes may be made by exploited adult and child laborers in sweatshops run by criminal syndicates.

How to Avoid Buying Rep Shoes


In addition to the tips we shared earlier, we recommend buying only from the brand’s authorized distribution centers:

  • Flagship stores
  • Licensed retailers
  • Legitimate factory outlets
  • Buy-and-sell apps with consumer protection policies
  • Official websites

If you stick to these shops, you would never have to launch extensive research to confirm the product’s legitimacy or ask people, “Are reps fake shoes?”



Reals and reps: What is the difference?

Since we already talked about reps shoes meaning, let’s focus on the real thing. Aside from providing customers with warranties, major brands source superior materials, develop technologies to enhance features, and meticulously assess the quality of the sneakers before releasing them into the market.

This ensures that their shoes are as comfortable and durable as advertised. More importantly, sneakers are no longer viewed as mere functional shoes. Like any collector’s items, they possess artistic value, which increases their resale value.

Why do people get rep shoes?

Besides the lowered cost, the brand’s flagship store does not always carry specific models or limited edition kicks. Even if they are available internationally from the official website, the fees are higher when shipped from the other side of the world. In the consumer’s defense, these limitations can be frustrating.

Are reps considered fake shoes?

Yes, reps mean fake, yet not all are categorically bad shoes. UAs, for instance, are manufactured in the same factories where the OGs are made.


It’s not unusual to find folks asking, what does reps mean in shoes? Collecting sneakers has become a popular hobby since the ‘80s.

If you’re new to this community, be aware that “reps” is just one of the words in a long list of vocabulary to memorize. Otherwise, you would end up getting confused by all technologies that collectors use online. Hopefully, this article helps you relate with other collectors and make smarter decisions when buying a new pair!

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