Some time back, I decided I was going to try to save some money by buying my new pair of cheap soccer cleats on eBay.

I went on, found the soccer shoes I wanted (Nike T90 Laser III’s, size 11), and placed the order. The vendor I was buying from was located in the U.S., had thousands of positive reviews, and a near perfect 5-star rating.

A few days later, I got the package in the mail and opened it, but I was greeted with a rude surprise:

Instead of shoes I got a shoe. A left shoe to be exact.

I contacted the seller and they were apologetic. A week later the right shoe showed up and was reunited with its lost mate.

The Real Problem: Authentic or Not?

As much as it stunk to have to wait an extra week to get a complete pair of soccer cleats, it occurred to me much later that I really didn’t know what I had been sold.

To this day, I really don’t know if my Laser III’s are an authentic Nike product or not. And more and more, we’re hearing stories about counterfeit cleats being sold on the internet. I expect that this will continue to be a problem as the price of the high-end models continues to climb.

Protecting Yourself

I saved about $15 by going through eBay on the purchase of my Laser III’s, but it wasn’t worth the price. The only way to truly know you’re getting an authentic product is by buying from reputable sellers. I’ve had good luck with Soccer.com (a.k.a. Eurosport), who has been in the online/mail-order game for decades, even before the internet via their print catalogs.

My dad has an old saying: you spend most of your life asleep or standing on your feet. Don’t skimp on beds and shoes.

Couldn’t have put it better myself Dad. Whether the potential savings is $15 or its $200, when it comes to the best soccer cleats, I won’t cut corners. You shouldn’t either.