Since their release in 2015, Yeezy Boosts are easily the most coveted sneaker on the internet. They're almost impossible to buy in store and come with a hefty price tag (upwards of $1,000) when resold. Meaning if you see them on anyone's feet they're likely fake.
Because they're so in demand, fake Yeezys can be almost indistinguishable from the real thing for most people—but for Yeezy Busta, that's not the case. With over 500,000 Instagram followers, the anonymous expert can spot a real Yeezy within seconds. Calling out celebrities from rappers to YouTubers on their fake Yeezys, Yeezy Busta teaches his loyal following all about how to spot a fake.
We caught up with the 19-year-old student on why he got started and how he realized Yeezy busting was his true calling.
VICE: You're pretty anonymous online, what can you tell me about yourself?
Yeezy Busta: Not much, I like to stay anonymous for specific reasons. Basically, I'm a 19-year-old medical student. I'm from Los Angeles and I love sneakers. Otherwise, nothing really special.
How did you get into Yeezy busting and why?
The way I started is because my dad had bought me a pair of fake Yeezys for my birthday. I ended up finding out they were fake from someone else and ended up getting my money back from eBay. After getting a taste for them, I really wanted real Yeezys. I decided to do a little bit more research online and anything I could pretty much get my hands on, if someone had a pair of Yeezys I wanted to take a look at them. I ended up getting myself a real pair but at the same time, the kids from my high school were wearing fake ones, and they would tell people they were real and that they'd spent $1,000 on them. I thought it wasn't fair because I had got a job literally just to get this pair of shoes. I worked hard to get them, and these guys paid 80 to 100 dollars for a pair but were getting the same gratification from other people. I didn't agree with that and I'm a big fan of Fake Watch Busta. I took his idea and turned it into Yeezys. I started calling out people in my high school and people outside of my high school because I didn't want people to know it was me. Complex found out about it within 24 hours of making the account and they wrote an article about me. It just took off from there, it's been a year and a half now and that's pretty much it.
Looking at your account now, it seems like you get a lot of requests of people online wanting you to call out reals and fakes. How are you able to know this based on photos?
It does take practice. At this point, I can look at a pair of shoes and tell if they're real or fake in five seconds. Of course, some fakes are so good so it can take a little bit longer than that. For really bad fakes, it's easy to tell from a Instagram or Twitter photo. For some fakes that are coming out, I can only tell if I get specific angles of the shoe and specific details. I also offer a service on my page where people can pay $10 and me or someone on my team will get photos and be able to tell. As far as the requests to call out people, it's more of me taking a look and if I can say that one million percent they're fake, I will call them out. Even if I'm one percent unsure I keep quiet. I've never been wrong and I don't want to lose my credibility.
Sorry, you have a team? How did that happen? Do you train people to spot fake Yeezys?
It's just really good friends of mine, a couple of guys who are also sneakerheads. They were curious and I showed them the signs of how to distinguish real from fake. I also do educational posts on my page that show people the difference between real and fake. I try and do as many as I can myself, but I am in school. I'm occupied almost ten hours day with school so I try my best.
You're a bit of a Hannah Montana where you're going to school and nobody knows who you are, and you are wildly popular online. What's that like?
In terms of the Hannah Montana double life, I used to say I was the Yeezy Batman. There are certain opportunities that have been brought to me. If I meet someone or go to an event I have to be really careful with who I tell. There are only about a handful of people who know I am, maybe five people. I told my family about it once I hit 100,000 followers and that was right before I started medical school. My parents are really strict with school so they think that anything outside of school will take my time from school. I decided to do this and school at the same time while maintaining my grades, so I told them about this.
You probably have made some enemies online, what's your experience been with the public?
Everybody reacts differently. One thing I always try to do is be as respectful and as straight to the point as possible. If someone is wearing a fake pair of shoes, I'm not the kind of person to name call or anything. I get a mixed response. Some people take it really well, most people DM and [say] they don't know they're fake. They ask me for help and to let them know what the signs were. Some people attack me, where they try and bash me. Some celebrities like Rich the Kid went off on me. I mean they can do whatever they want but it doesn't make the shoes less fake. I always am very helpful to those people and try to be respectful. I've caught Tai Lopez [Youtuber] who had a pair of fake shoes and he reached out to me. I was able to help him get a real pair and got him a followup post. I'm always there to set things right.
What is the best way to get real Yeezys? What are your tips?
Yeezy's get sold for upwards of $1,000. The resale value is ridiculous, very expensive. People who don't understand the resale value get sold fakes. They think they're getting a pair of shoes just like them and are willing to pay $200 for them. I recommend people try and get them for retail, if not go to a 100 percent authorized dealer like Flight Club. There are many places that have buyer protection, so even if you end up getting a pair of fakes you end up getting your money back. There are a lot of outlets and places where you can get a real pair. What I recommend is to wait, you will eventually get a real pair. If anyone is selling it on Instagram or a sketchy website, I don't recommend it. If it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true.
Why do you think people are so into Yeezys?
Arguably they are the most hyped sneaker in the last 15 years. I'm not sure how long Kanye has been designing shoes but I know that his first collab with Louis Vuitton, the retail price for the sneakers at the store were like $600 but the resale price just to sell them sell for about $8,000 now. I think that hype his name brought. Kanye fans will do absolutely anything he does. I feel like the Kanye hype, the mixture of celebrities wearing them and also how scarce they are is the reason why people want them. Pretty much every celebrity has a pair of Yeezys and people can't get them because they're too expensive or too rare so they want them.
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