Scrapes and scuffs may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of traditional luxury, but Golden Goose is all about “making craft of-the-moment” and “perfect imperfection.” And perfect is key. Founded in 2000 by husband and wife design duo Francesca Rinaldo and Alessandro Gallo, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand turns out sneakers that marry traditional Italian craftsmanship from their Venice, Italy, headquarters with the scuffs and abrasions your sneakers might sustain at a Venice, CA, skate park. The markings on Golden Goose sneakers may seem random, evoking haphazard encounters with cement and asphalt, but in fact, each pair is carefully hand-crafted and distressed by traditional artisans.
Devotees love them for their irreverent take on designer footwear, but also for their high-quality materials and elevated design — literally. Golden Goose sneakers have a secret tucked away within their distressed, low-key exteriors: a hidden wedge. This adds support, as well as a boost that elongates the legs. It’s a little bit of the height of a stiletto in the comfort of a sneaker.
The Golden Goose Deluxe Brand line inspired by skate culture includes fashion, but it’s the sneakers that are the stars — in fact, the most iconic is arguably the Superstar, one of many styles that range from the platform-soled Hi-star, the surprisingly un-scuffed Purestar, the chunky dad-vibes Running Sneaker and more. So many more. Another aspect of Golden Goose sneakers’ continued popularity is that they come in such a dizzying and seemingly endless array of colors, silhouettes and embellishments.
Along with the attention to craftsmanship and design, Golden Goose sneakers come with the peace of mind that you don’t need to worry about keeping your luxe investment sneakers looking pristine. But the other thing you’ll want peace of mind about? Authenticity. Yes, there are fake Golden Goose sneakers lurking about, and there is no perfection in fakes. To get the details on how to spot the real thing, we turned to The RealReal Valuation Managers Robert Finch and Lisa Jarda. Read on for his expert tips on spotting real deal Golden Goose sneakers.
Golden Goose Sneaker Construction
“When authenticating Golden Goose sneakers, I ensure the stitching is consistent and clean. Counterfeits often neglect detailed stitching near the toe and counters,” Finch warns. “Every pair has a raw, unfinished interior, Purestar included. There should be no visible glue residue.” Pay particular attention to the stitching and construction of the iconic star. “The top point of the star should not be visible (except on Running styles) and the tips of the star should never be lifting; always make sure the star is stitched down to the edge.”
The special wedge insoles also deserve a look when inspecting for authenticity. “The insoles should be constructed from a single molded piece with angular insets. To attempt to create the same shape, counterfeiters often fuse pieces together with clear, heavy glue that can leave a residue, so be on the lookout for that.”
As for their signature distressing technique, Finch explains it is “hand-done by Golden Goose artisans with various tools in order to achieve ‘perfect imperfection.’ The distressing is intentionally placed to offer a vintage feel, and should be identical per style and color; counterfeits often have random distressing from pair to pair of the same style and color.” Asked if distressing makes it more difficult to authenticate Golden Goose sneakers, Finch points out that actually, “if anything, the intentional distressing gives us another point of authentication. Because the distressing is consistent for each style, it’s something we can use when looking for uniformity from pair to pair. Ensuring the branding on the insoles of sneakers is clean and not pixelated or blurry is crucial. In addition, when removing the insoles, there should be a blush hue at the inner base with a printed size,” adds Jarda. “Moreover, one should feel for a terry cloth textured lining with a beige shade, as counterfeiters typically use a thin, inferior fabric that is the wrong color.”
Golden Goose Sneaker Materials
“The most commonly used textile is a sturdy calfskin,” notes Finch. “However, Golden Goose uses plenty of different textiles from denim to suede, even calf hair and goatskin.” But one thing all Golden Goose materials should have in common? “They offer durability, long wear and a rugged feel.” Another element to consider are the laces. “Most but not all laces come with knotted ends at retail,” says Finch. “The majority of laces are a distressed grey, but they do come in a myriad of colors — you can see variations in glitter and printed patterns like leopard.” But while there are many options, they aren’t just mixed and matched at random. “The color of the laces should correlate consistently with the color and style of the shoe,” he explains.
Golden Goose Sneaker Brand Identifiers
Italian craftsmanship is central to the Golden Goose brand, so all sneakers should be marked “Made in Italy.” Look carefully at the tags on the tongue of the shoe. Many say “GGDB Made In Italy Size ___” some have a perforated “GGDB,” and you may see other variations as well, but according to Finch the printing on the tag should be “bold with consistent fonts.” Another place to pay attention to the fonts is on the counter, or outer heel of the shoe, where the brand logo should be neatly debossed with a slight arch. “When authenticating, the font to watch out for is the traditional arched logo stamp on the exterior counters. This font will be serifed and have an arch. Again, this stamp will vary depending on the style, but styles with the traditional stamp are most counterfeited.”
The insoles for Golden Goose sneakers are also quite consistent. “Each will be stamped with black ink in a bold, sans-serif font,” notes Finch. “The stamp should include the style name of the sneaker, brand logo, a registered mark, and country of origin. The insoles should also be blind stamped with the European size and ‘Genuine Leather’ in a serifed font. Also keep an eye out for a perforated ‘GG’ and ‘DB’ near the toe and notches on the edge towards the instep.”
Ready to add a pair to your collection? Shop Golden Goose sneakers here.
All items are pre-owned and consigned to The RealReal. Trademarks are owned by their respective brand owners. No brand owner endorses or sponsors this ad or has any association and/or affiliation with The RealReal.
Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.