25 August 2016

Nike Air MAG vs V3 Knockoffs

If you have not heard, there is a new pair or Nike Air MAG knockoffs on the market.  These are known as 'V3' to the cool kids.  I did a review on the V2 a while back...perhaps you have read it. I hesitated on purchasing a pair and doing another review, it is a lot of work and I am kinda lazy.  It is like writing a ten page paper.  But, someone requested that I do a comparison of the two...so, basically on a dare, like calling me 'chicken', I dropped the $600 and got a pair...and here we are again. It is fun to see how well bootleggers can copy something, and I like pointing out the flaws.

As with my previous comparisons, I will go through what to look for to spot the knockoff.  I am sure there will be those out there that will try to pass these off as authentic Nike Air MAGs.  Side note, a few years ago, I caught someone using my photos of my real MAGs in their auction.  Screw that!  I know that fool did not have the real deal and he used my photos without permission or gave credit.  I reported the listing and it was removed.  I thought about watermarking my images, but figure it is best to share these images without any obstructions.  So be careful if you are looking to purchase these shoes and know what you are getting.  Oh, if you need/want to steal/borrow my images, I cannot stop you, but please credit your source.  Like I said, this post takes a lot of time to write, edit, proofread, examine the shoes, shoot photos, etc....and you are getting it for free, and I spent $600 for your enjoyment.

Enough babbling, let us get started.  Remember, as always, that the authentic Nike will always be on the left side of the image and the V3's will be on the right.

Packaging:

Nike Aid MAG boxes
Nike:  The Nike's came in a well protected shipper...well, multiple shippers...so the box is very clean.  There is a subtle texture on the box that is hard to see in photos.

V3:  The V3 came in a standard shipper box, so any mishandling of the package resulted in dings and dents that translated onto the final box.  The walls of the box while a little weaker than Nike's, are still very strong.

The texture is not as noticeable on the V3 box, but it is there.  They even matched the colour almost perfectly.  Although, the wrapping of the yellow paper is not as perfect as Nike's.  You have to look for the minute details.  If you can inspect in person, you can tell right away, but through photos, it is very difficult.  They also weigh about the same.

Close up of MAG logos
Nike:  Of course, the label on the authentics are crisp.  You can clearly see the signatures of  Nike Designers Tiffany A Beers and Tinker Hatfield.  Lines are thin and the label is perfectly centered in a crisp recess on the box.

V3:  While the recess for the label is there, it is not as crisp and the label is slightly off-centered. The recesses is a little smaller than the label...or, the label is larger than the recess.  Note the uniform border on the Nike label versus how my V3 label sits a little lower in the recess.  This causes the corners to curl up a bit on the V3 label.

Looking at the logo, the upper yellow triangle is too yellow, the authentics have a slight orange to it.  Comparing the stylized nuclear logo, you can see the line weight is thicker on the V3.  The signatures of the designers are fuzzier on the V3, as if they are out of focus.  This is most likely due to a low-res scan of the original.  The lines, "Prepared by", and "Approved by" are also what you might call pixelated.  Again hard to see if you have nothing to compare to.

As you may recall, I mention that my V2's were marked as a size 10. These V3's are correctly marked as size 8, but as you can see, the font used is slightly different.  the V3 '8' is more rounded, where as at the Nike '8' is more square and sits flatter, matching the existing font for 'Magnetic Anti Gravity'.   If you really want to be anal about it, the V3 '8' is slightly off centered, too.

Bottom of boxes
Nike:  The bottom of the box as some legal mumbo jumbo, various warning, and logos.  I never mention this on my other MAG comparison posts since this is not usually something of interest.  Until now.
Close up of legal on bottom of box

V3:  What?  They totally copied all the legal and logos.  Even the positioning is near perfect.  Unlike the top label the graphics on the bottom are crisp and clear.  Given a clean box, it would be hard to distinguish the authentic from the knockoff based on the bottom graphics.


Magnets on the box
Nike:  It only makes sense to have magnets on the box. MAG's, Magnetic Anti Gravity...magnets, get it?  There are four magnets on each box, two on the flap and two on front wall of the box.  While it is not a secure closure, the magnets do make a magical closure.

V3:  My V3 box is far from perfect due to mishandling during shipping.  Notice the walls on my box are slightly bent.  This means my lid does not sit properly.  Regarding the magnets under the wrap, they are not as flush as Nike's.  Although the Nike magnets do stick out a little, see image above.  The V3 magnets stick out a bit more and the wrapping is not as clean, leaving what looks like an air bubble.  This is on both sides of the box.

Also, the paper used to wrap the V3 box is a little thinner than the stock on the Nike box.  You can kinda feel the difference and see it in some areas where there is overlap.

Pack out of shoes and accessories
Nike:  The shoes are packed in foam, three layers, with the top two layers cut with the shoe's silhouette.  Bottom layer is uncut and provides protection for the shoes.  There is no foam on the lid to 'seal' the shoes in foam.  The charger is placed on the top left corner with the booklet wedged in between the foam and the back wall of the box.

V3:  Just like the Nike's, the V3's are packed in foam.  From what I can tell, this is the same type of foam in colour and density...you are my density, and the same three layers construction.  There is a booklet included, but this was placed under the left shoe (on top).  The charger is also placed on the top left, but there is an extra piece of foam to wedge in the box.  Note that the V3 charger box is a totally different size and shape as the Nike charger box.  But, we will get to the booklet and charger later on.  I should mention that the V3's came individually bubble wrapped, and the Nike's came in the box as you see in the photos.

Overall, the V3 box is a really good copy of Nike's box.  Every detail has been replicated and executed really well.  With the exception of some minor details (like the label and magnets), it would be hard tell one from the other...especially if you have a clean and undamaged box.

Shoes:

Outer side of Air MAGs
Nike:  Hard to tell at first, but when comparing the two side by side the authentics have a sleeker/sexier overall shape than the V3's.  I will try to break it down as best I can.

V3:  There are a few areas that are slightly different from the Nike's.  The one that stands out the most are the ribs.  On the Nike's, the ribs are very subtle.  I imagine this is very difficult to replicate as none of the knockoffs have been able to pull it off.  The ribs on the V3's look like bad case of visible panty lines.  Still, these are an improvement from the V2's. I will get into more detail soon, but the ribs stand out the most.  Also, the V3 ribs are more vertically laid, the Nike's lean far more forward, giving it more speed.

There is small dip on the outsole, between the first and second rib, that is not as defined in the V3.  This also translates to the outsole/sole curves to be slightly off.  If you look at he peaks of the rear EL panel (light up part), the Nike's are slightly back.  Note that the peak of the Nike arch is pretty center to the opening of the shoe. On the V3, this arch is slightly forward.

Front of Air MAGs
Nike:  Again, it is sexier.  You can tell there was more time spent on the construction of the shoe.  Whereas, there are some areas that look rushed on the V3.  Everything is just a little tighter and cleaner.

V3:  If you look at the quarters, other than the issue with the ribs, you can see that the Nike's sit lower and closer to the foot.  I would imagine this is a tighter fit.  I would not know, since I have yet to put these on.

Another area to notice are the laces.  Sorry, no auto lacing.  Like the Nike's, the V3's use elastic bands in place of traditional or power laces.  The V3 elastic band is much closer to Nike's than on the V2.  If you remember, the V2 elastic laces are too wide.

The V3 laces are not as straight and parallel as they should be.  Also looking at the edge of the quarters, you can see that the Nike's are parallel, while the V3's have a slight V-shape to them.  When compared side by side, the lace area of the V3 is narrower towards the front and wider towards the back.

Inner side of shoes
Nike:  If I say sexy or sleek one more time, you will probably smack me.  But really, look at the edge of the outsole.  From toe to heel, notice how the line is kinda flat and rises up fast at the front, then around the arch, and glides towards the heel. This gives the authentics a faster feel, as if it the shoe is in motion.

V3:  The outsole edge sort of just curves up around the arch and down to the heel.  Note that arc is almost constant, and does not look as fast as the Nike's.  From this side, you can also see that the volume at the throat is larger than the authentics.  The issue with the ribs is also quite noticeable on the inside.  They matched the seam that is between the second and third rib, but it is not as 'invisible' as Nike's.  I think Nike used a tighter stitch with more stitches per inch than the V3.

Heel cup inner side
Nike:  The texture of the outsole and heel cups is very pronounced on the Nike's.  As you can see, there is more of the aqua splatter, and the splatter is very fine.  The size of the splatter dots are about the same size as the small bumps of the texture pattern.  Looking at the wordmark, notice the 'Nike' and 'MAG' are very clean, not so with the V3.

V3:  While they corrected the shape of the heel cup from the V2's to better match the authentics, the issue is with the raised letters.  There are little nipples on the corners of every letter.  These nipples are there for injection molding, having a little extra reservoir allows the material to flow into corners of the letters better.  You see often see these in new tires as they want the rubber to flow into all the corners of the tread or lugs.  The V2's did not have this issue.

Nipples are present in both Achilles pads, but they are more pronounced on the V3.

Heel cup outer side
Texturing of the outsold and heel cup is not as obvious as the Nike's.  There would not be as noticeable the splattering was tighter and smaller.  At quick glance, the Nike's outsole and heel cup almost look more aqua because of the fine splatter.  The V3 did get the base grey correct, but since their splatter is minimal and too large, it does not have that 'aqua-tinted' effect.

Nike's seam along the back, while noticeable, is much cleaner and flatter than V3's.  The seam on the V3 forms a bit of a butt crack...MAG cleavage.  Also, there was traces of adhesive on the V3 along the valley where the heel cup and outsole meet.  If you look closely under the "MAG", you can see it.

Air MAG Soles
Nike:  My Nike's are starting to yellow.  Not sure why, it does not, has not seen any daylight.  Heck, they barely see any light...put the lotion in the basket.

V3:  They finally got the soles right.  In previous reviews, I have mentioned the wide flaring at the base of the soles on the authentic ones, other knockoff versions did not have this, V3 has that coveted flat tire look..  Damn it, their soles are more clear than mine.  One thing you usually cannot see in pictures...if you are trying to copy from photos...is the 'negative pyramid' tread pattern of the Nike's.  The V3's replicate this pattern very well.  Again, if it not for the splatter, it would be very difficult to tell the real ones from the fake ones just by looking at the bottom of the shoes.  Funny, you cannot tell from real from fake if looking at the bottom of the boxes, either.  They really have the bottom view...the view that no one sees...perfect.

Air MAG collar
More minute details to look for as we focus in on specific areas.

Nike:   The Nike collar (white trim) has a slim cross section, meaning that it has the same thickness as the main grey collar part.  It almost has straight sides and only rounds at the top, like an upside down U-shape.  Stitching of course is clean an precise.

The shape collar itself is one smooth transition.  This can be seen better in side view, see previous photos.  The collar starts at the instep and goes straight up, turns down, and flows down toward the Achilles with a subtle flattening towards the last fifth before it reaches the center back.

V3:  Starting at the instep, the collar goes up like it is supposed to, makes a turn down towards the Achilles, but it flattens out faster before reaching the Achilles.  This creates a slight more noticeable S-shape to the collar if looking from the side.   The valley where the white and grey meet also dips down further than the Nike's.  Again, see side view.

The V3 collar is a little puffier than Nike's.  Not as noticeable on the outside, although there is a little butt cracking happening where the white meets grey.  The puffiness is more noticeable on the inside, see image.  You can see that the cross section is more round and the stitching and construction is not as clean as Nike's.

There is also a slight variation on the triangle hole.  The front vertical edge on the Nike's leans a little more forward than the V3's.  I am really nitpicking, here.  But, the V3 holes are really clean and well made.

Air MAG inserts
Nike:  There are inserts placed in the shoes to help keep the form of the collar area.  In addition, the toe box is stuffed with your standard tissue paper...which on mine has yet to be removed.

V3:  I am amazed that they copied the shoe insert.  It is a nice to see they went that extra step include this part than no one really cares about.  The construction is very similar.  Hard to tell the difference as there are no real distinguishable marks. The only difference that stands out is Nike's have a perforated edge where the top folds down, the V3 is a straight crease. Yes, there is also tissue stuffed into the toe box.

Inside of the shoes and  label placement


Since we have the inserts removed, let us take a lookie into the shoe.

Nike:  Here is another part that people rarely see...even for myself.  The MAGs have a standard Nike label on the inner wall of the inside, left side of right foot.  Still has that new shoe smell.

V3:  They flat out copied the inner label.  Yes, even the barcode.  I wonder if they made different ones for different sizes.  These are either a very good scan or they had files of the label to reproduce from.  The V3 label is placed on the opposite side (outer wall of inside), right side of right foot.  No one is going to notice that the label is on the wrong side.  They may even have some that are on the correct side.

The V3 matched the inner fabric of the shoe.  The tongue, inside and out, is near perfect match.  Even the footbed liner fabric, texture,and colour is well matched.

Looking at the insides, it is another tough area to use a reference when trying to compare the two.

Nike Air MAG Swoosh
Nike:  A closer look at the quarters, you can see there is just a hint of ribs.  Photo above shows the texture of outsole and heel cup better.  Take a look at the Swoosh, note that it is just placed on top of the fourth rib with no recess. You can even see a faint outline of the rib underneath.

V3:  One word:  Ribs!  Anyway, there is a recess for the Swoosh.  I guess you need to sink in the Swoosh when you have a rack of baby back ribs on the side of your foot.  Although, placement is pretty much spot on.  The V3 Swoosh is slightly different from Nike's. I am no expert on the logo, but I do know that it was changed a bit throughout the years. The V3 Swoosh has a 'sharper' curve and has a thinner tail than Nike's.

Heel lights
Nike:  No power lacing, but these shoes do light up, just like the movie.  Both the Nike's and the V3's have activation buttons hidden in the outside wing of the collar.  The charging ports are in the same area, even the chargers look very similar.

Charge port location
Nike's heel lights have a more transparent cover, this allows you to see the individual LED bulbs in the heel.  The two D-shaped EL panels in the midsole light up with sharp edges due to the clear sole.

V3:  Tangent - Above is a good comparison of the texture and splatter patterns of the outsole and heel cup.  Not easy to forge a Jackson Pollock painting...not easy to forge the paint splatter on Nike Air MAGs.  Back to the heel lights, the lens (well, really silicone-like cover) is not as transparent as the Nike's.  When these light up, the light is more diffused than the Nike's

Charging port is in the same place.  I think they can even share chargers, although I would not recommend swapping chargers.

Chargers
Nike:  As mentioned, the chargers look kinda similar, I mean you would not know which is which as neither are not branded with any Nike or Air MAG logos. The Nike charger does have a legal/warning label and has a U-shape profile.  A twist tie is used to bundle the wires of the Nike charger unit.

V3:  The V3 charger has more of an S-shape profile, with no wire management system.  Also note the charger boxes are quite different, obviously because of the shape of the chargers.  If you reacall the packout photo earlier, you will see the size and shape difference between the two charger boxes.

Oh, the logo on the ankle strap lights ups, just like the Nike's.  As far as lighting, other than heel light lenses, the V3 pretty much nailed it.  But stupid me, I forgot to snap a photo of it.

Toe box
Nike:  The toe box on the authentics are really low profile. It has been a while since I have said this, but they are sleeker and sexier.  Ha!

V3:  If you have been looking at the other photos, you should have noticed that the toe box on the V3  is bulkier than the Nike's.  This is a pretty constant issue with the knockoffs in general, whether you are talking about he V2, Halloween Costumes, or the V3 versions.  Same can be said about the ribs.  But, they are getting better at it.

Weave pattern
Nike:  The texture or weave pattern of the fabric is very tight, almost smooth to the touch.  Okay, not baby's but smooth, but like 600 grit.

I mention the lacing area earlier, way earlier...for me, it was yesterday.  Notice that the throat is wider, yet the width stays pretty consistent it goes towards the tongue.  The laces are all relatively the same width apart, same with the gap between the two sides.  The laces are a rectangular shape, note that the bottom/first lace is also rectangular.

V3:  The image above shows that the throat is narrower than the Nike.  The first lace is a trapezoid shape, wider at the top than at the bottom. This is consistent all the way up as it gets wider, where the fourth (top) lace is wider than the first (bottom) lace, and they all have a slight trapezoid shape.

The weave of the fabric is not as tight, but it is very close.  I would say the feel of this is more of a 400 grit.  Much better than other attempts in the past.

Well, that is it for the shoe and the box.  But wait, there is more.  Seriously, when will this post ever end.  They included the booklet, too!  Remember?  We are finally going to talk about the booklet.

It's About Time
Nike:  You cannot have a shoe with this much history and not have a booklet.  So, Nike included a booklet that unfolds to a two-sided poster.  One side with instructions, the other a poster...of the shoe.  The great thing about the instruction side is the drawings by designer Tinker Hatfield.

By the way, look closely at Tinker's sketches.  Notice he did not 'draw' attention to the ribs...because they are no supposed to be that raised, damn it!  I mean everything we talked about is in his sketches... the ribs, the flat tire look of the soles, the sleek and sexy toe box, etc...all there.

Booklet poster
V3:  Although folded differently, the booklet is spot on.  It seems like they got a hold of one and did a really hi-res scan and reproduced it near perfectly.  It is possible that they had access to the original file.  There are some flaws, for example, the band around the booklet is poorly constructed where we almost lose part of the text.  The printing is slightly fuzzy, either due to scanning or lower quality printing.

Print quality of posters
Above shows the two posters with Nike at top of the image, the V3 poster on bottom.  The V3 is slightly fuzzier in print quality, also a little lighter. But, the folds are where they are supposed to be.

The Nike booklet included a DVD, you can see it attached to the poster on the bottom right.  No disc was included on V3.  Notice there are two blank spaces on the bottom right of the V3 poster. One is for the disc, the other is for the registration plate...which was included.

Plates
I was surprised to see the V3 plate as it looks just like the Nike original.  Mine has a bunch of scratches  and dings on it, but they nailed it.  Obviously, these plates were inspired by the 2015 plates that are on the Time Machine.  Oh, they are made from aluminum.  The plates had your registration number on it so you can register your shoe with Nike.  I wonder if they picked a random number or used the number from the shoe they copied it from.  Who ever has #64530321 must be pissed.

Wow, that was a long post.  I am surprised you made it this far. I think I pretty much covered everything about the V3 shoe.  Feel free to check on my other posts about the V2 and Halloween Customs versions to cross reference other details of the authentic Nike Air MAG that I may have missed in this post...or, to see if I repeated myself too much.

Conclusion: 

The V3's are the best knockoffs out there, so far.  There is very little room for improvement.  I have been nitpicking many details, but really they are mostly minute details.  They are a little on the pricey side, especially for knockoffs, but it beats paying more than ten times the amount to get the real ones.  It seems that the V3'a are relatively easily available, as they will pump out more if needed, while the authentic Nike ones were limited to 1510 pieces available to the public via high priced auction.

Oh, disclaimer time.  I do not endorse the sale or purchase of bootlegs and knockoffs.  Yes, I know I bought a pair, okay a few pairs, of the knockoffs...but it was for research purposes, I had to write this article for you.  Plus, I bought the real ones with the money going to a good cause.

If you want a pair of Air MAGs for about 1/6th the average 2011 selling price...these are the ones to get. Heck, the cheapest authentic pair is asking about $8000 currently on eBay.  That is over double the average price of about $3800 during the 2011 auction for the authentic Nike Air MAGs.

The average person will not be able to tell the difference with these V3's....well, unless they read this article, too.  The super geeky nerds, like me...and you, can spot the fakes.  Hmm, I just had a thought. What if the V2 bootleggers read my original comparison post and used those notes to help them create the V3?  Or, they could have just looked at a real par and replicate what was in front of them.

You can get a pair of V3's for about $600 at sneakerahead.ru.  Lucky for me, I did not have any trouble getting them and they arrived in about ten days.  But, you are buying a knockoff and they will be coming in straight from China (go figure), you might encounter some issues with 'delayed shipping' and you will most likely have to deal with poor handling of your item.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post comparing the authentic Nike Air MAGs and the V3 knockoffs.  I hope it helps you whether you are thinking about purchasing an authentic Nike pair and do not want to get screwed or if you are looking to get the V3 and want to know what differences there are.  Get the 'real deal' or the 'real steal'.  Be careful and watch out for scams.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment.  While I am not expert on the MAGs, I will answer what I can.  Thanks!

3 comments:

dmcmarty said...

High five on another extensive review. I don't even know what my shoes are. The knock-off knock offs. But whatevs... people still go crazy for them! -your friend in time, Marty.

Jeremy Soltis said...

i just bought these but have very hard time charging them at first the right shoe would hold a charge now that one works so now the left one wont even turn on any suggestions please. AND CAN CHARGE ONE SHOE at time?

thank you

awildermode said...

Hi Jeremy

It is possible that you have faulty electronics. If only one shoe charges, the issue will not with the charger, but the other shoe.

There can be a number of things wrong. The battery itself may not be taking a charge, the switch may be faulty, the wiring may have issues.

I am guessing you have the V3's, while they are well made, these are still knockoffs and you take the risk of getting something that may not be in proper working order. You can try to contact your seller and see if they will let you make and exchange. If you are handy, there are others out there that sell kits for repairing and upgrading the electronics.

Hope that helps. Good luck and thanks for reading.