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AUTHENTICITY

April 27, 2017

By Jody Hume

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHANEL SHOES ARE REAL

SHOP CHANEL SHOES
While many of fashion’s top designers have several classic pieces to their name, not many can claim head-to-toe icon status in the way that Coco Chanel can. She started Chanel in 1910 as a millinery shop, in fact, before turning to fragrance, couture and ready-to-wear, and along the way she changed the world with her enduring creations — in 1921 Chanel No. 5, in 1955 the 2.55 Flap Bag, and in 1957 the two-tone cap toe slingback. The nude color of the body of the shoe is designed to elongate the leg while the black cap toe is meant to shorten the look of the foot, a design that hasn’t lost its allure in the intervening decades.
These days, with Karl Lagerfeld as Creative Director, Chanel turns out a dizzying array of shoe styles from combat boots to beachy espadrilles to architectural heels. But even within this vast array, house codes like pearls, tweed, and yes, the cap toe, ensure Coco’s sensibility is felt throughout. In fact, it’s the recently revamped block heel slingback that’s been popping up on street style stars lately, proving the lasting popularity of her design instincts. Of course, when you pair up a brand as iconic as Chanel with street style and Insta fame, there are bound to be knockoffs afoot. So we asked our Senior Director of Authentication, Graham Wetzbarger, to break down just how to tell if your Chanel shoes are the real thing. Read on for his tips.
Chanel Shoes Construction

How To Spot Real Chanel Shoes Cap Toes

The majority of Chanel shoes are made in Italy, and produced with the highest quality standards. “Stitching around the top line and details should be fine and precise,” notes Wetzbarger. “There should be no folds, bubbles or ripples where the upper is attached to the outsole of the shoe, and the insole should be cleanly finished with no glue residue.”
Most pumps and many high heel sandals feature a leather outsole that is smoothly sanded down and left unfinished, so it may change color. “If the leather looks like it’s been coated or is plastic-y, that’s not a good sign,” he says. On Chanel shoes with leather outsoles, you will find the size stamp there. However some styles like espadrilles and boots may have rubber outsoles, in which case the size can be found foil stamped on the interior of the shoe.
Chanel Shoes Materials
The quality of Chanel shoes is impeccable and the materials should be just as high quality as those used in their ready to wear. “Chanel uses a wide variety of materials such as leathers like calfskin or lambskin, fabrics like satin or canvas, as well as exotics and novelty materials like lace and crystal,” says Wetzbarger. “Look out for synthetic leathers, canvas or satin that shows pilling, or imitation lace (fabric that has been cut out as opposed to lace which is knotted in unique patterns) — these materials can be signs that a pair may be fake.”
Another rule of thumb? Don’t judge a shoe by its heel taps. “Chanel heel taps will always be cut to match the contour of the heel shape, whether round or square. While Chanel uses very sturdy heels in the construction of their shoes, these may be replaced when worn down.”
Chanel Shoes Hardware

How To Tell If Chanel Shoes Are Real Hardware

Chanel shoes run the gamut from very minimal or nonexistent hardware to over-the-top embellished styles. “We’ve seen unique hardware including a pistol shaped heel, pearls for buckles, and sandals adorned with chains like the new Trop Iconic sandal shown here,” Wetzbarger explains. “Wherever hardware is used on Chanel shoes, it should be well cast, sturdy and securely affixed. Hardware will often be decorated with a logo such as the CC or ‘Chanel.’”
Chanel Shoes Brand Identifiers

How To Spot Real Chanel Shoes Brand Markings

When authenticating any piece by a top brand, it’s important to look at the designer markings. “The outsole of every Chanel shoe will be marked with the word ‘Chanel’ and the country of origin,” says Wetzbarger. “Most are made in Italy, but some are made in other European countries — for example espadrilles, which are always made in Spain. The insoles of Chanel shoes will have similar markings, often foil stamped in the same color as the hardware or blind debossed. If the shoe has a leather outsole, the size will be stamped on it beneath the phrase  ‘Made In Italy.’  If the shoe doesn’t have a leather outsole, it will be stamped on the interior.” 

Most Chanel shoes will also have a style number printed on the interior. “The style number will be foil stamped in the same color as the interior logo, which should read ‘Chanel,’ along with the ‘Made In’ stamp. On strappy sandals with very little material, there may not be enough room and the style number stamp may be omitted.”

Ready to add to your Chanel shoe collection? Shop our authenticated collection here.