For a large group of fashion lovers, and especially for sneakerheads, the motivation behind much of our shopping habits is having the thing that no one else has, or at least having it first. Exclusivity is a huge part of what makes a luxury item attractive, and no one understands that better than Jon Buscemi. With very limited production, little advertising and super-luxurious Italian craftsmanship, the stockbroker-turned-designer’s eponymous label has become the holy grail of sneaker brands. Inspired by the coveted Hermès Birkin, the 100MM is a pillar of the brand’s core styles and the ultimate trophy piece for any sneakerhead. But just as with the Birkin, limited availability and a high price point has led to a large number of copycats. To help us separate the real deal from the replicas, we’ve enlisted Senior Director of Authentication, Graham Wetzbarger to show us how to spot the real thing.
Buscemi Lock And Key
One of the most recognizable features borrowed from the Birkin are the signature padlock and keys. Though they appear on every pair of 100MMs, there is some variation between the releases. “As with many emerging styles in the shoe community, the first generation is a smaller production lot, and subsequent releases are larger,” explains Wetzbarger. “The brand may decide to change details if it makes more sense from a cost perspective or even based on comments from buyers. For the 100MM, so far there have been three generations.”
“The first release had a plain lock with no brand markings and a skeleton key. The clochette has a rounded top with a flared opening. The second generation is identical to the first, but with ‘Buscemi’ printed across the lock. In the third generation,” Wetzbarger continues, “they used a cut-tooth key instead of skeleton key, the lock’s logo is debossed instead of printed, and the clochette has a curved bottom with a flat top. These details help us to determine when a shoe was produced — variations do not necessarily mean a style is fake.”
“The 100MM features a stamp that runs parallel to the lace holes and at the top of the tongue. On earlier versions, the stamp was embossed in gold foil, but is now embossed in the leather, like a blind stamp. Compare yours to images on the Buscemi site to make sure they are the correct scale.”
“Buscemi uses vachetta calfskin for the liner. The insoles are stamped ‘Made in Italy’ along with the European size. (When shopping, it’s good to note that they run a half size large). Unlike some other sneaker brands, the sock liner in Buscemi sneakers is not designed to be removed easily,” warns Wetzbarger. “Buscemi also does not use a serial number or date code so there should be no extra numbers or markings on the insole or the outsole.”
“Prior to F/W 2018, Buscemi only used yellow gold-plated hardware, however they now have introduced styles using silver-toned hardware. Because they are a hardware-heavy style, if the lock on your pair isn’t functional, it could be a sign of inauthenticity,” says Wetzbarger. “On the clasp, turning the spindle vertically engages the locking mechanism, allowing each side of the belt to be snapped in. If you turn the spindle sideways, the belt strap should release.”
Ready to up your shoe game? Shop our authentic selection of Buscemi sneakers here.