Homepage > Avoid Fakes > Fake LeBron V


I must admit that it took me a lot of time to come up with a fake guideline for the fifth Nike LeBron signature sneaker. For the most part it’s very hard to get all the proper angles (for example labels underneath the straps or the sole), so identifying a fake can be a little tricky. It’s understandable that people, who are selling counterfeits don’t exhibit their merchandise and it’s hard to get good pics.

The box and the box label

The box and the box label are always the first things to check. The Nike Zoom LeBron V box is all Black with a large foil Roman Numeral V emblazoned on the front. The ZLV box features a drawer system that when pulled out, features Black and White Images of LeBron in action along the sides.

The lables:

Birthday Exclusive: China Exclusive:

Labels (nicknames)

There are two panels underneath the straps of the Zoom LeBron V. They contain nicknames for each shoe. For example the White and Navy colorway is named FAMILY, Black and Crimson FEARLESS, White and Gold VISION and so on. The main thing to remember is that the inner panel, on both left and right shoe, contains the nickname and the outer panel [23LBJ Collection] script, which is a constant for every Nike LeBron V sneaker with exception of PEs that sometimes have customized text on both panels (f.e. Tribute PE).

White/Navy [INNER] – FAMILY: White/Navy [OUTER]:
Black/Crimson [INNER] – FEARLESS: Black/Crimson [OUTER]:
Birthday [CORRECT] – WINNING: Birthday [FAKE]:

See all the labels: Label Dictionary.

The nicknames are also incorporated into the lower pod on the sole. The lower pod is the one with a trasparent [V] logo.

China [SOLE] – PASSION: White/Navy [SOLE] – FAMILY:


One the best thing that helps identify fakes is some kind of a difference between the left and the right shoe. We’ve seen it many times before and when it comes to the V’s there’s one useful detail that you should turn your attention to. The ankle straps have a small text embossed near the gold L23 buckle. The left shoe has written [King] and the right one [James]. This rule also applies to the PEs and samples so it’s a pretty safe bet. The only exception are the China’s where the strap is redesigned and doesn’t contain these particular words.

Left shoe – KING: Right shoe – JAMES:
Fake example – both shoes have the same text, in this case KING:

The map

Every part of the Nike Zoom LeBron V is inspired by part of LeBron?s life. Inside the tongue, for instance, is a map of the States with Akron prominently displayed, because LeBron “always wanted to put Akron on the map.” The map is visible in two different places – on the back of the tongue and underneath the upper pod, which is a part of ZLV’s sole pattern. The map pod is the one with a transparent [L23] logo. As we mentioned above the lower pod is reserved for the “nickname”.

Black/Crimson – Tongue map – AKRON: China – Tongue map – AKRON:
White/Gold – Upper pod map – AKRON: China – Upper pod map – AKRON:

Laser etchings

The rules we’ve mentioned above are kind of hard to spot when you don’t have any close ups pics. There’s however one more thing that should help you spot a fake. The first Nike Zoom LeBron V colorway that was released was the China edition, which has been the case for all three Asia exclusives so far. Being the first one and also unique, the fake China’s are a common case. The true China colorway (Crimson/White/Gold) is very hard to identify, because the etchings on fakes look scary good, but when you look really close there are some differences. For one, the laser on fakes is too strong, not as blend as the real one. Two, the alignment of the etched components may be wrong so it’s good to compare it with a valid shoe side by side.

CORRECT – China front: FAKE – China front:
CORRECT – China back: FAKE – China back:

Also, there are several non-China fake colorawys that feature the laser engravings, which is of course wrong and it’s very easy to tell. Remember that there is only one true China colorway featuring the etchings.

FAKE – Black: FAKE – Green:

Fake colorways

This website provides photos of ALMOST every Nike LeBron colorway there is! If it’s not in our listing pretty much it doesn’t exist. Of course we can’t say we are one hundred percent sure, because we believe there are some PEs and samples that nobody on the internet has ever seen. But as long as this is a General Release shoe (priced $100-250) you can be certain that it is on our list. Here are some photos of fake V’s that we’ve encountered so far:

Update – 1/1/08

Fake Chinas

Apart from the tips above here are some more photos of fake Chinas. The new angles should be helpful cause there are some really good counterfeits out there.

Update – 7/14/08

Fake Yankees and Mr Basketball

Usually fakes are done long before the actual product hits the stores. However, there are some cases where it’s the other way around. Fake merchandise is “designed” based on the first samples and past releases implementing the popular colorways. When the real manufacturer, in this case Nike, does something unexpected and one of a kind, the fakers are trying to keep up with them, cause for them it’s just another chance to make money. That’s why instead of the usual, early fakes there exist fake versions of selected PEs and exclusives. This happens very rarely, but you need to be prepared. Below you will find several pics of the fake Zoom LeBron IV New York Yankees and Mr Basketball. Fake Yankees can be spotted thanks to the gold outline. The original version has all the details in silver (f.e. the eyelets), but the fakes are in gold.