The most recognizable Bape shoe, the Bape Sta, was introduced in the early 2000s as a flashy, more expensive alternative to Nike’s Air Force 1. That first Bape Sta was virtually the same as the retro Nike shoe, save for the upper’s Swoosh, which was replaced with a star logo on the Bape version.

In its complaint, Nike traced the history of Bape’s sneakers, arguing that the Japanese brand “drastically increased its infringement of Nike’s trademarks” since the early 2000s.

The Nike lawsuit was the latest in a long line of legal actions in the 2020s targeting labels that flip staple Nike silhouettes by stripping them of Nike’s logos and then rebranding them.

The conclusion is not a surprising one. Most of these lawsuits have ended in settlements, which usually involve the smaller brands agreeing in some way to modify their designs. At an initial pretrial conference on March 14, a lawyer for Bape said the parties were “remarkably close” to reaching a settlement.

According to Nike, Bape will change the Bape Sta and Sk8 Sta, which are based on the Air Force 1 and Dunk, respectively. Bape has changed the look of the Bape Sta before, altering it slightly to make its lines and shapes look more or less like the Air Force 1 over different iterations. Bape will also, Nike says, stop selling other models that are fashioned after Air Force 1 Mid, Air Jordan 1 Low, and Air Jordan 1 High.

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