Nike’s Air Jordan 16 Retro “Countdown Pack” sneakers and the adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Pirate Blacks are a few favorite sneakers you can find in this StockX sneaker authenticator’s closet.

Raymond Jones is a level two sneaker authenticator at StockX, curator of a marketplace for apparel and accessories. The company is most notable for its sneaker resell program, and the primary aspect of its authentication process is making sure products are authentic. AfroTech previously reported that StockX has a global team of more than 300 authenticators across 11 authentication locations with a 99.95 percent accuracy rate.

Photo Credit: Jeff Kowalsky

Fashion was a big part of Jones’ upbringing and one of the reasons why he’s always dreamed of becoming a sneaker authenticator. He recalls being in high school and seeing all his peers apply for jobs at Foot Locker and similar stores so they could be the first to get their hands on the latest Jordans. Jones has been working for StockX since last summer. Before landing his first sneaker authenticator role with the prominent company, he worked in various roles in high-end retail at stores like rag and bone and Bloomingdales.

Photo Credit: Jeff Kowalsky

A little sneaker knowledge, eagerness to learn, and interest in sneakers are all you need for a role like this. Authenticator candidates at StockX go through a month-long training and onboarding process where they get to work alongside seasoned authenticators before they work alone. Jones started his authentication education by watching videos of other authenticators detailing what to look for in fake and authentic products.

Courtesy of StockX

“I like to call it having hood knowledge on sneakers. We used to walk into stores and be able to tell if sneakers are fake or real,” Jones said. “It’s the little details you have to look for and working here at StockX, and they helped me polish my knowledge and showed me things I wouldn’t know to look for.”

A Day In The Life Of Working As A StockX Sneaker Authenticator

Each day, Jones checks how many sneakers are coming in the daily shipment. Being a higher-level authenticator, Jones has access to authenticate almost any pair of sneakers, so he grabs a rack, sits down at a computer, and gets to work. One major stipulation about listing products on StockX is that they have to be brand new; they don’t resell used products. Even with that, StockX still has a rigorous verification process that includes investigating the sneakers’ condition and packaging, going over a sneaker construction checklist of more than 100 data points, and ensuring all accessories and add-ons are included.

“It’s like playing with sneakers all day,” Jones said. “Learning how to authenticate is a journey, and we don’t all have the same skills.”

Jones would often take the initiative to grab the high-priced sneakers and ask questions about them as he was working his way up. He said StockX would host an exam for authenticators to take to be promoted once or twice a year. His favorite part of the job is gaining access to sneakers that most people in the world never touch, like NCAA team-exclusive Jordans and Nikes. One of the most recent authentications Jones has been geeked about is getting his hands on the exclusive sneakers created for the basketball team at Kanye West’s academy.

“Only a handful of people actually get to touch them. If they’re in a sneaker store, they’re probably going to be in a cage,” he said. “Seeing rare sneakers in my hands that would normally be in a case is really cool. If I didn’t work at StockX, I probably wouldn’t see these up close.”

For A Sneaker Authenticator, The Opportunities Are Endless

There are also some little downfalls with having a fun job too. With his close association with StockX, Jones said people often tell him when they have received a counterfeit pair of sneakers or even sold a couple to the company. Either way, the good outways the bad for Jones.

Collecting sneakers soon became a hobby for Jones working in this industry, especially when you have the connect. Before working at StockX, Jones said he had about 30 pairs of sneakers, and he now has up to 60.

With a little more than a year under his belt, Jones is in the sneaker authentication game for the long run. He plans to continue learning more about authenticating the latest drops and making a name for himself as companies add more technology to the sneaker authentication process.

“StockX provides a lot of different opportunities,” Jones said. “If I get tired of authenticating shoes, I can do streetwear or work in another part of the company. The opportunities are endless.”