In April 2021, eBay’s sneaker Authentication Centre opened in the UK in order to help buyers of new and used sneakers shop with confidence. It was also a timely move, with sneaker demand surging during lockdown and eBay selling sneakers on its marketplace every 9 seconds. 

Working with crep experts SneakerCon, sneaker enthusiasts staff the centre, a warehouse on the outskirts of London which has become one of the coolest spots you never knew existed. In the last year, eBay has authenticated over 1.5 million sneakers globally, with more than 1.9 million pairs available to buy every day.

With the rapidly increasing scale of the footwear market, and the emergence of sneakers as a new asset class, there has never been more incentive for unscrupulous hucksters to get in on the game and create and push non-authentic merchandise. 

To combat that, the authenticators are here to give you the real, their passion for the job palpable. With rap music blasting from the speakers, it was good vibes only in the UK centre when we recently paid a visit. Whilst it may have the community spirit of your favourite hangout spot, this is an operation that puts up some serious numbers. From what was an empty warehouse space back in April, the Authentication Centre has now become a thriving hub, full of conveyor belts, racks and racks of sneakers, and more Jordan, Yeezy and New Balance 550 boxes than your average sneakerhead could dream of.    

The program currently authenticates all sneakers in new and used condition that are valued for £100 and over. Once a pair of sneakers has been authenticated, it receives a unique smart tag that provides detailed information about their authenticity. This tag can be easily read by your smartphone, making relisting them a breeze.

We chopped it up with some of the UK authenticators to discover what got them hooked on sneakers, what it takes to be an authenticator, and why there is a genuine sense of community at the Authentication Centre.