While brands riffing on well-known silhouettes may seem like a recent trend—be it designer sock trainers inspired by athletic sneakers or simple Champion hoodies with thousand-dollar price tags—it’s actually a remixing practice that’s been in the game for a while.

Take NIGO’s BAPE. When it comes to footwear, the brand has reimagined some of the most iconic sneakers by simply placing a lightning star on the side of shoes. Recently, BAPE has collaborated officially with adidas, but the brand has also taken inspiration on Vans, Puma and Nike for its own footwear releases.

The Bapesta, first introduced in the early ’00s, has become BAPE’s emblematic silhouette. It is a near one-to-one replica of Nike’s iconic Air Force 1—which was released two decades earlier, in 1982. The differences are subtle, but important. The lightning star replaced the Swoosh, while the words “APE” or “BAPE” replaced the “AIR” that typically appears on the Air Force 1’s midsole. Most important was the fact that the Bapesta was constructed from patent leather, giving pairs a distinctive sheen that Uptowns (the Air Force 1’s most commonly used nickname) didn’t have. Besides that, though, the shoes are, ostensibly, the same. But, rather than be demonized and mocked, the Bapesta has been celebrated. It is representative of the subversive and meta-referential methods that guided early streetwear—an idyll of cleverness rather than plagiarism.

Here are eight of the most important Bapestas released over the last 15-plus years—examples of why the shoe has become such an important part of sneaker culture.

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