The All-Time Greatest BAPE Sneaker Collaborations
A Bathing Ape have a rich history in the scene. Started in 1993 in Japan by the one and only Nigo, the brand was given its name after the 1968 Planet of the Apes movie. Since their inception, BAPE have been heavily rooted in hip hop culture, delivering a slew of colabs to reflect their presence.
Seen on the back of some of the world’s elite figures in our sphere, and with a roster of link-ups to back them up, trying to narrow down BAPE’s all-time greatest has been a hard task. We’ve managed to curate six of their heaviest hitters.
UNDERCOVER x BAPE (2009)UNDERCOVER x BAPE (2009)
A Bathing Ape and UNDERCOVER are pretty much childhood friends, having made their start together. So, we were never surprised when Jun Takahashi and Nigo announced they were doing a collaboration. After many years working together, a strong favourite is still this banger from 2009. Made for NOWHERE store at Dover Street Market, and using an UNDERCOVER sneaker silhouette that mimics the Converse Jack Purcell, BAPE hit this bad boy with their classic ABC camo.
KAWS x BAPE STA ‘Chompers’ (2006)KAWS x BAPE STA ‘Chompers’ (2006)
Any collaboration that KAWS is a part of will always be an instant classic, and the same can be said about BAPE. So, when the two cross paths you know you have a hit record! In 2006 the pair hit shelves with multiple BAPE STA models featuring KAWS’ signature X motif and ‘Chompers’ artwork. You’ll definitely break some necks walking down the street with these.
Kanye West x BAPE STA ‘Dropout Bear’ (2007)Kanye West x BAPE STA ‘Dropout Bear’ (2007)
This release is an iconic sneaker in both Kanye West’s impressive sneaker legacy and the entire BAPE universe. Hitting between Kanye’s The College Dropout and Graduation albums, it helped to celebrate the whole Dropout Bear period. Nowadays you would be hard-pressed finding a pair, so they go for the big bucks on the secondary market.
Marvel x BAPE STA (2005)Marvel x BAPE STA (2005)
BAPE are no stranger to the comic book world, having dabbled in both the DC and Marvel universes. However, their greatest is arguably this 2005 Marvel colab, solely because the BAPE STAs were packaged like action figures. We’re sure it had many not wanting to destroy the packaging, just keeping them on ice.
BAPE x adidas NMD (2016)BAPE x adidas NMD (2016)
If you were around during the peak of the adidas NMD hype, then you would definitely remember these. Hitting shelves in 2016, the BAPE x adidas NMD caused mass campouts outside sneaker stores when they dropped. Two colourways adorned the then ultra-hype NMD_R1, both featured ABC camo – with one in black and the other in the classic green and brown.
BAPE x adidas Cleat adiZero 8.0 (2019)BAPE x adidas Cleat adiZero 8.0 (2019)
Dropping for Super Bowl LIII, the BAPE x adidas Cleat adiZero 8.0 coincided with the matching pair of UltraBOOSTs and also arrived with other football-related accessories – including a helmet! An iconic collection arriving in two separate colourways, it certainly deserves its spot among these all-time greatest colabs.