Bape Sta history and background.
Born in the city of Maebashi, Japan around 2 hours outside of Tokyo, Tomoaki Nagao (who goes by Nigo) would eventually rise to become one of American hip hops biggest tastemakers. Before he could reach those heights, he would begin to DJ, produce records, and found his then-brand A Bathing Ape. The brand's rise throughout the early 2000s can be attributed to the likes of Pharrell Williams and Ye (FKA Kanye West) who were often spotted rocking Nigo’s take on the Air Force 1, the Bape Sta.
Debuting in the year 2000, the AF1 craze was at an all-time high, and in response, Nigo essentially created a bootleg version of the silhouette that came at a higher price tag and featured mostly patent leather takes. On top of this, collaborations with brands, pop culture figures, and artists like Marvel, Spongebob, and Kanye West drummed up significant demand at a time when being a sneakerhead (or even finding an authorized BAPE retailer in the US) was rare.
While in today's era of sneaker culture brands and consumers look at knock-off products with their noses held high, back during the beginning of the Bape Sta’s history it caught fire in the community. Considering Nike’s attitude today on customs/rip-off AF1s, its continued reverence in the sneaker world puts the Bape Sta in its own lane of products even with its close resemblance to the AF1.
If you’ve been eyeing a pair of A Bathing Ape Bape Sta’s for yourself, you’re in luck as the Sole Retriever Bape Buyers Guide should answer all the questions you have about the Bape Sta.
What are the best Bape Sta colorways?
BAPE has given the public plenty of options to choose from on the Bape Sta model with OG colorways like the recently returned “Red White,” “Yellow Blue,” or “Yellow Brown” giving you a more simple pair of kicks compared to some of the top collaborations the brand has worked on. For those really looking for versatility, the "Black" colorway that released in 2021 gives serious "Panda" vibes with BAPE's elevated touch of patent leather and iconic logos.
When one thinks of BAPE, their collaborations are some of the first that comes to mind. Recently, the Japanese-based label revived a collaboration from the early days of the model with the Marvel Pack, including “Black Widow,” “Iron Man,” “Hulk,” “Captain America,” “Rocket Racoon,” and “Thor.” They even recently worked with the USPS (who shut down an unauthorized nod to the institution from Nike) on a colorway that utilized forms and logos you’d find at your local post office.
You obviously cannot talk about Bape Sta’s without arguably the most famous colorway to release, “The College Dropout” pair. Released in 2006, this marked the first publicly available sneaker that was designed by Kanye West and featured tonal browns and tans with his infamous “Dropout Bear” which was featured in his first three albums.
Other key collaborations from this early era include the KAWS “Chompers” pairs that also launched in 2006. Added teeth graphics around the mudguard paid homage to the American artist's Chomper design released in 2003 through a Bearbrick collaboration.
What material is the Bape Sta made of?
Early iterations of the Bape Sta came constructed out of patent leather, noticeably different from the usual smooth leather or suede you would get from a Nike AF1. As time went on, BAPE played around with different materials and now you can find models that utilize leather or suede.
How does the Bape Sta fit?
Just like the Nike Air Force 1 that the model mimics, the Bape Sta fits slightly big compared to other models on the market. Our recommendation would be to go down half a size from your typical sneaker size, though stick with whatever you wear in Nike AF1s. It may be difficult, but if you can find a resale shop or storefront that carries pairs of Bape Sta’s, it's recommended to try on a pair to make sure you’re getting the correct size.
How much do Bape Stas cost?
Considering BAPE's elevated status in fashion, pairs don’t come cheap. On average, if you’re in the US, a pair of inline Bape Sta’s will run you back around $310. For collaborations that are typically exclusive to BAPE itself, expect to pay an extra premium that could make the sneaker cost nearly $400.
Where do I buy Bape Stas?
If you’re looking to buy a pair directly from BAPE, you can head to one of the many BAPE stores located across the world or head to their online shop. Select retailers, like Concepts, also carry pairs online, though your best bet is to directly purchase from BAPE itself.
What’s the hot take?
The Bape Sta came at a time when streetwear began its meteoric rise, making its mark in the history book and maintaining its status in the sneaker world. While you may be able to buy a cheaper version of a similar-looking shoe from brands like Nike, collaborations and playful takes on the model distinguish the premium-priced model from more affordable options. Overall, if you’re looking for something that slightly stands out from the crowd and will have those in the know giving you the head nod, the Bape Sta’s are a model you definitely should check out. If you’re looking to buy a pair in the near future, keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest releases, raffles, news, and more in regards to Bape Sta’s and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.