Fake Levi’s vs. Real – (Spot with 6 Checks)

Last Updated on March 4, 2024

Hey, savvy shoppers! If you’ve ever scoured thrift stores for that perfect pair of vintage Levi’s, you know the thrill of finding a gem. But, in secondhand shopping, the risk of stumbling upon counterfeit items is real. So, how can you distinguish between fake Levi’s and authentic Levi’s?

Fake Levi's


  • Real Levi’s have a three or four-digit number stamped on the back of the top button. No number? It might be fake.
  • The number on the button should match the first three digits inside the tag. If they don’t, be cautious about authenticity.
  • Learn the factory codes to see where your Levi’s were made. Make sure the codes on the button and tag match to avoid fakes.
  • Genuine Levi’s have six rivets, each stamped with ‘LS & Co SF’ on both sides. If the stamp is missing or different, it could be a fake.
  • A real pair has a rear patch sewn evenly along the top of the waistband. If it’s lower or uneven, consider the authenticity.
  • Genuine Levi’s have a diamond pattern where the stitching on the back pocket comes together. If it’s missing or not well-formed, it might be fake.

Fret not! We’ve got your back with a quick and user-friendly guide to help you separate the real deals from the phonies.

Fake Levi’s vs. Real – How to Tell if Levi’s Are Fake?

Distinguishing real Levi’s from fakes is quick and easy. Check for a stamped number on the waistband button, ensure it matches the tag, examine rivets for proper stamping, inspect the rear patch, and arcuate stitching – all within 30 seconds for a reliable authenticity check.

Here, we’re breaking down the art of distinguishing between genuine and fake Levi’s with six easy checks. These tips will give you the knowledge you need to ensure that denim in your hands is the real deal.

Let’s dive in and ensure your next thrift store find is an authentic Levi’s masterpiece!

1. Top Waistband Button

When distinguishing between genuine and counterfeit Levi’s, the top waistband button is a critical indicator. An authentic pair will bear a three or four-digit number stamped onto the back of the button.

Delving into the vintage realm might reveal single or double-digit numbers. However, a stark red flag emerges if the button lacks any numerical markings – an unmistakable sign that the Levi’s in your hands might be a knockoff.

2. Matching Numbers on Tag

Matching Numbers on Tag -
Matching Numbers on Tag

Once you’ve identified the number on the button, the next step is to cross-verify it with the interior tag. The first three digits on the tag should align with the number on the button.

For instance, if the button boasts ‘512,’ the tag should proudly display ‘512.’ Any discrepancy in these numbers strongly indicates that the Levi’s in question may not be authentic.

Additional Resources – Levi’s 511 vs. 512 – (Slim Fit vs. Slim Taper)

3. Factory Codes

Factory Codes - Fake Levi's
Factory Codes

Factory codes play a crucial role in adding another layer of authenticity verification. The numbers on both the button and tag aren’t arbitrary; they represent factory codes indicating the origin of the jeans.

Consulting a comprehensive list of these codes allows you to confirm whether the numbers on your Levi’s match the designated factory, further reassuring authenticity.

4. Rivets with LS & Co SF Stamp

Rivets with LS & Co SF Stamp
Rivets with LS & Co SF Stamp

Turning our attention to the rivets, authentic Levi’s exhibit six of them on the front – four on the right side and two on the left. These rivets should bear the stamp ‘LS & Co SF,’ signifying Levi Strauss and Company, which is based in San Francisco.

Crucially, this stamp should appear on both the outside and inside of the rivets. Any deviation from this standard, such as a missing stamp or an alternative marking, raises suspicions of counterfeit production.

5. Evenly Sewn Rear Patch

Evenly Sewn Rear Patch - Fake Levi's
Evenly Sewn Rear Patch

A meticulous examination of the outside rear patch unveils another dimension of authenticity. The patch should be seamlessly sewn, aligning perfectly with the top of the waistband.

Genuine Levi’s showcases three pairs of evenly stitched lines along the top. Any deviation from this alignment – if the patch sits lower or exhibits uneven stitching – signals a potential counterfeit.

6. Arcuate Stitching

Arcuate Stitching - Fake Levi's
Arcuate Stitching

The arcuate, or the stitching on the rear pocket, provides another layer of scrutiny. In authentic Levi’s, this stitching should be meticulously formed and centered and boast a distinctive diamond stitch pattern where the two arches converge.

A discerning eye can easily identify the genuine article by this unique and precise detail. Conversely, poorly executed or missing diamond patterns suggest a counterfeit pair.


Can I trust the number on the top waistband button alone to determine if my Levi’s are authentic?

While the number on the button is a crucial initial check, it’s essential to cross-verify it with the corresponding digits on the interior tag. The matching numbers on both the button and tag increase the likelihood of authenticity.

Are there any exceptions for rivets on Levi’s jeans, especially in vintage pairs?

Yes, vintage Levi’s might not follow the standard six-rivet pattern. Some older pairs, particularly from the vintage era, may need more coin pockets or rivets altogether. It’s crucial to be familiar with the specific characteristics of the era you’re dealing with.

Do all Levi’s jeans have factory codes?

Yes, authentic Levi’s jeans have factory codes on the button and tag, indicating where they were manufactured. Referencing a list of factory codes can help confirm the legitimacy of the jeans.

Can I use these checks for all Levi’s models and eras?

While these checks are generally applicable, specific Levi’s models and eras may have unique features. Familiarizing yourself with the characteristics of the specific era or style you’re interested in can enhance the accuracy of your authenticity assessment.

Are there other methods to authenticate Levi’s jeans?

These six checks provide a quick and effective way to spot potential counterfeits. Still, additional methods, such as analyzing stitching quality, zipper branding, and overall craftsmanship, can also be considered for a more comprehensive evaluation.

Can counterfeit Levi’s still have some of the authentic features mentioned in the article?

Counterfeiters may attempt to replicate authentic features, but inconsistencies in stitching, placement, and overall quality often reveal the imitation. It’s crucial to consider the overall coherence of the features and not rely solely on individual elements.

What should I do if I suspect I’ve purchased counterfeit Levi’s?

If you have concerns about the authenticity of your Levi’s purchase, consider contacting Levi’s customer support with detailed pictures and information. They can provide guidance and verify the authenticity of your jeans.

Are there specific regions or countries known for producing authentic Levi’s?

A8: Levi’s has factories worldwide; the factory codes can help identify the origin. However, be cautious of generalizing, as Levi’s has a global presence, and authentic pairs can come from various countries. Refer to the provided factory code list for accurate information.


While these checks aren’t foolproof, they provide a quick and effective way to assess the authenticity of Levi’s jeans in just 30 seconds.

Whether you’re a seasoned thrifter or a newbie, these guidelines will empower you to make informed decisions when purchasing used Levi’s. If you have any questions or additional tips, feel free to drop them in the comments below – happy shopping!