Fans of both brands awaited the release of the teaser video for the Ronnie Fieg and A Bathing Ape sneaker collaboration. Bapestas Shoes hoped for something that would be both memorable and acknowledge both KITH’s deep understanding of quality urban streetwear as well as A Bathing Ape’s long history with limited edition footwear.
This anticipation led to the KITH x BAPE collaboration. It was a return to the original silhouette, handcrafted in Portugal using the finest suede and tumbled leather uppers, as well as a custom outsole and special packaging. The bag also features a matching dust bag with a dual-branded branding. While the colors didn’t bring back fond memories from the 2000s, A Bathing Ape’s low top got a glimpse of what they had hoped for since the beginning of time — a triumphant return of the BAPESTA hockey elbow pads.
What was it that made the Bapestas Shoes so beloved?
It was a copy of Nike’s Air Force 1: a nearly identical upper shape, a “Swoosh” STA to skirt copyright claims by the Swoosh, “APE” midsole branding and the familiar cup sole. This made it very popular. While Nike’s original style was a classic that brought decades of fashion to urbanites, A Bathing Ape’s version of the Uptowns brought hip hop, Japanese streetwear children and collectors to their feet with its unique color palettes, vibrant references and “no holds barred” approach to styling and coordination.
We are considering a revival of the BAPESTA and decided to look back on some of the most coveted and memorable colorways ever created. While some were not widely known at the time, others were instantly recognizable and were found in magazines and MOOK pages all over Japan.
The colors of the Japanese convenience store were easily recognizable by anyone who bought a Pocari Sweat in the hot summer. This colorway was originally released in the Fall/Winter 2007 collection. It was also part of the “Conbini” pack that included Bapestas Shoes to match LAWSON, Family Mart, and 7-11 stores. However, the AM/PM was deemed the best among the bunch by fans.
Rainbow 11th Anniversary Bapestas Shoes
The “Rainbow”, BAPESTA was born on the 11th anniversary of NOWHERE. It embodied everything we loved about A Bathing Ape’s footwear: a maniacal mixture of color, vivid imagination, and a loud color palette that let the sneakers speak for itself. These were a true unicorn for collectors, and one of the most sought-after colorways ever created.
Daft Punk, an electronic supergroup, collaborated to create a pair BAPESTAs. It was released only through the BAPE Mania member site for domestic residents. They were shown in the Teriyaki Boyz “Heartbreaker” video opening and proved that they could be bought.
The release of the Lichtenstein BAPES was at a time when NIGO began to take serious steps in collecting and appreciating art. He converted his BAPESTA colorways into polka dots in tribute to Roy Lichtenstein. Not only did the classic dot colors have their use, but street artist KAWS collaborated with NIGO in order to create his own line dot colorways for his BAPESTA-modifying CHOMPER/KAWSTA footwear.
City Limited Bapestas Shoes Color Camo
Bape Stores can be found in Japan’s major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. A Bathing Ape created a color scheme and camo palette to honor each store, as well as a pair BAPESTAs that highlighted each palette. There were more than 20 released simultaneously. The brand’s response to the air-filled sole runners, ROADSTA, was the next step. Every city showed pride in its colorway, with some cities more than others. The New York grey/purple and Nagoya’s purple/blue are the most notable color combinations. Aoyama’s ghost-green with greys, Taipei’s mixture of purple hues, and Nagoya’s purple/blue are also standouts.
Kanye West was one of the first to collaborate on sneakers with the artist. He partnered with Japanese streetwear label Bapestas Shoes for a highly hyped pair. The sneakers featured Ye’s cartoon mascot bear, the Late Registration and College Dropout albums. Many fans loved the pair with their strong mixture of red and brown textured leather panels. A colorful “APE” midsole branding sealed it. It is impossible to find a pair of these neon shoes in good condition for less than $1500 USD.
SpongeBob Squarepants’ SpongeBob Squarepants partnership came at a time when A Bathing Ape fan began to leave. It was an indicator that the brand may never be free from the “cartoony”, immaturity, and image it gave its core audience. However, the SpongeBob Squarepants BAPESTAs were a rare exception and enjoyed a very successful release. The sneaker-bubble’s pop color was given a boost with its yellow and brown colorway. Collectors also received a bonus packaging that included a special croc skin version and a sample Pharrell Williams appearance.
The snakeskin Bapestas Shoes, which first appeared on the market in 2006, was born as a result of BAPE’s venture into exotic leathers. The texture allowed for new life to the visually striking colorways with a touch of luxury. The UK’s trip hop group UNKLE collaborated with James Lavelle, frontman of the band. However, fans still seem to be more interested in the in-line versions.
BAPE was perhaps launched to streetwear stardom by Pharrell Williams’ 2003 music video “Frontin'”. Later, he wore the brand in “Let’s Get Blown”, a Snoop Dogg-starrable movie. Skateboard P wore a vivid red camo hoodie which would become known as “Pharrell Camo” in the streetwear world. A pair of BAPESTAs in the same colorway with the N.E.R.D. logo would be released to the masses. The rear quarter panel has brain embroidery. The N.E.R.D. is still considered one of A Bathing Ape’s greatest releases. BAPES have become a holy grail for collectors, and they are among the most sought-after pairs of resale today.
Marvel Comics Bapestas Shoes
A Bathing Ape collaborated with Marvel Comics to create a line BAPESTAs. These sneakers saw some of its most iconic superhero characters transform into the hottest sneakers of 2005. They were also released in blister packs that resembled action figures, making it one of the best “complete packages” ever. The selections included Spiderman, Thor, Captain America and The Human Torch. However, for many, the top three choices were clear: Cyclops’s pair wore bright red soles that resembled the X-Men’s optic blast, Silver Surfer wore the colors of Galactus and the radioactive Hulk couple wore his classic mix of purple and green. BAPE continued their comic book pack collections with a DC Comics publication, but couldn’t compete against the incredible Marvel Comics release.