The Most Important Bootleg Sneakers, From Bape to Warren Lotas

From Nigo’s A Bathing Ape’s “Bapesta” to the most recent Warren Lotas “Dunks," these are the most important bootleg shoes in sneaker history.

bootleg sneakers
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

bootleg sneakers

Fake sneakers have been around for what feels like forever. Entrepreneurial bootleggers have tried their hand at reproducing the most popular shoes in the hopes of deceiving naive consumers and making a quick buck. Clear Air Jordans, ones with suspect Jumpman logos, and pairs that come in every shade of the rainbow have long been the lasting image of what constitutes a fake sneaker. The crinkly leather, misprinted box tags, and suspicious smell are what crosses people’s minds when we speak of fake footwear. But there’s also another sort of bootleg sneakers: The ones made with the intention to take elements from a brand’s well-known designs and mold them into something different. We’ve seen this recently with the fiasco surrounding Nike’s legal pursuit of Warren Lotas’ Dunk-esque sneakers. but it also goes back to Nigo’s work on A Bathing Ape’s Bapesta, copycat Air Jordan 1s, and more. Here’s a quick history lesson.

Sang Jordan 1

Sang Jordan 1

A Bathing Ape Bapesta

Bape Patent Leather Bapesta

Reebok S Dot Carter

Jay Z Reebok

Ari Menthol 10

Ari Menthol 10s

Consolidated BS Drunks

Consolidated Drunk BS

Mike23 Chuck Taylors

Mike 23

Gourmet "Cease" and "Desist"

Gourmet Air Jordans

Rick Owens Dunk

Rick Owens Dunk

Hender Scheme MIP-10

Hender Scheme Air Jordan 4

Warren Lotas x Staple Pigeon OG

Warren Lotas Pigeon Dunk Staple