A Bathing Ape (or BAPE) is a Japanese streetwear brand that was founded in 1993 by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao). Inspired by 1968’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ and Tokyo’s club scene, BAPE is recognised for its quirky graphics and use of colour, and especially its iconic Camo pattern.
Introduced in 2000, their BAPE STA sneaker model is known for its bright colorways and niche collaborations with brands like Marvel, Spongebob, JJJound and more. Modelled after the Nike Air Force 1, BAPE swaps their Swoosh for a shooting star logo and covers the patent leather build with vibrant colour schemes.
It was Pharrell Williams that brought BAPE to the attention of the USA, and in 2005 Pharrell’s brand Billionaire Boys Club partnered up with BAPE, ensuring that their flashy aesthetic became a mainstay of hip-hop fashion. BAPE’s first overseas stores opened in LA and New York in 2005 and 2006, and Kanye West designed his own pair of the BAPE STA sneaker in 2007.
BAPE have also collaborated with big sneaker brands like adidas. In 2019, the two brands teamed up on two camo-patterned Ultraboost sneakers for the Super Bowl. Other models the two have collaborated on include the NMD_R1 and the adidas Originals Superstar.
Generally, BAPE sneakers fit true to size.