I just bought online a pair of shoes, and the seller forgot to remove the security tag, where this a physical store I would just go back there and kindly ask them to remove it. I tried talking to the seller, they read my message and ignore it. Negative review, here I come.

I tried a couple of hacks I saw on youtube (plastic bag, magnet) and none worked and I am thinking about just smashing the damn thing, theres no device that can wistand the full power of my brute force, when I am angry.

Any way I was wondering if any of you can identify if is regular tag or one of those that have Ink or another hack to safely remove them without ruining the shoes (they are white, of all things).

As a last resort I would just return the item and ask for a refund ( I have one month no questions asked), but I would like to avoid that as is too much hassle and time consuming.

I attach pictures of the device to help identify and of the purchase (so you don't judgme a thief). Thanks.




  • 1
    Be careful using brute force – the tag is probably stronger than the shoe and if you damage the shoe (even a small scuff) you won't get any refund. A hack could be to find a store that uses the same tag and doesn't sell that item, show them the receipt and ask nicely. It's probably less hassle to return it. Mar 4, 2022 at 20:30
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    How much do you trust the seller? If the tags are still attached, the shoes are probably stolen.
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 5, 2022 at 15:47
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    Chance you'll find a way to safely remove it are very small. Fact is, you got a defective product, it's not very different from getting torn shoes: in both cases, you can't use the product. So return it and demand refund, then look for better and more reliable shop. Mar 6, 2022 at 11:40
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    @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar, you are right unable to use the product, I just return it as defective and got my refund already.
    – Neto Yo
    Mar 9, 2022 at 16:41

3 Answers 3


If I were you, I'd send the goods back and demand a refund. If the seller isn't the manufacturer or a trusted store listed by the manufacturer, I'd report the seller for possible theft or fencing.

These security tags usually aren't attached to anything that's supposed to be sold online and shipped. Why would you? You'd only send the wares out after you'd received the payment. These tags are only attached to goods in a retail store to deter thieves. However, if the thieves ship the stolen goods off to unsuspecting customers, the tag is no longer their problem.

  • Thanks, this is just what I did, the seller seems like a reputable store has the platform platinum medal, so it must be trustworthy, anyway, the platform protects my purchase and I have 30 days, to no questions, return policy, so I did just that and already have my money back, a shame is the only store that sells those and I am questioning if place another order and hope it was a mistake. Thanks
    – Neto Yo
    Mar 22, 2022 at 16:18

First off, let's talk a bit about the anatomy of these tags and how they work:

enter image description here

Inside the bulge on the tag is some kind of device (blue) that can grip a metal pin, likely held in place by some weak springs (red). The pin (black) is pushed into the slot and the grips part/allow it to go in, but are arranged in such a way that the harder you try and pull the pin back out, the harder they grip the pin to prevent it. In store, a powerful magnet near the checkout is used to unlock the device - the bulge is inserted into the magnet and it pulls the grips (they're magnetic), overpowering the springs and drawing them away from the pin enough that the pin can then be removed. In the body of the tag (yellow area) may be a fragile vial of dye/ink that is designed to shatter and leak over the clothing, ruining them so you're discouraged from wearing or selling them, and identifying you if you've shattered it in store (in the changing rooms) and/or an electronic device detected by sensors at the door of the store to detect you walking out with the product

There are a few ways of attacking these; perhaps you can take them to a shop locally that has a similar magnet embedded in their counter, and see if they will use their magnet to unlock the device, you having shown your proof of purchase to them

If you want to remove it yourself in the same magnetic way you'll probably need some perseverance unless you can find a magnet that is the same shape as one in store, or are willing to make one (a loudspeaker magnet, drilled out.. or perhaps a few smaller magnets to place around the bulge). Some jiggling of the pin might also be required, and some patience

I've successfully removed these before with physical attack and you have a few choices:

On shoes like you have, the pin is probably put through a lace hole, so removing the head of the pin (it's the bit with the small metal part visible) by using wire cutters to nibble away at the plastic mushroom head, will mean you can get the pin out through the lace hole.

On clothing the pin would be attached through the weave of the fabric, and trying to remove it by pulling the head of the pin through the fabric may damage the fabric, even if you've reduced the size of the head of the pin

The other alternative is to gently detroy the locking end of the tag (the bulge that houses the grips). Using a pair of pliers or wire cutters you can squeeze around its circumference repeatedly, working your way round and weakening the structure of the plastic. It would be safest to engage a helper to hold the shoe and tag so that the tag is lower than the shoe - if you do manage to shatter any dye container then gravity will ensure the dye leaks downwards onto the work surface rather than the shoe. Wear gloves as a precaution, and work over an old towel. With care you'll be able to avoid damaging any dye container present

Remove enough of the bulge's outer plastic housing that you can start to pull the internals out and get the mechanism to fall apart. Even just chewing it up with the pliers may jam the grips in a position where they don't effectively hold the pin and some wiggling will remove it, but once you get the outer case of the bulge open and can see the mechanism inside you'll be able to see how to disable it

I think perhaps the quickest way would be to take an angle grinder fitted with a cutting wheel and gently cut the bulge off in its entirety, but not everyone has such a tool readily available. Pliers or wire cutters are much more likely to be something one has in the drawer, or inexpensively available in a local hardware shop

  • 2
    Best explanation ever. I would walk a mile in your shoes. Happy April 1.
    – John Canon
    Apr 2, 2022 at 2:30
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    +1 Again, another answer, beautifully done, Caius. Happy May Day.
    – Stan
    May 1, 2022 at 18:02

Strong magnet will do it or screw driver

  • Actually I bough this magnet articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-815103717, that was almost as expensive as the shoes and didn't cause any effect, seems like a strong magnet though I don't know if enough, coud you recomend another?. I avoided the Screwdriver because the tag is really tighly attached, the shoe would break before the tag. Thanks
    – Neto Yo
    Mar 7, 2022 at 16:07

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