So the Bathing Ape Roadstas have finally dropped here in Japan (and tomorrow in NYC) and allow me to provide the first official (official meaning I have a legit pair sold to the public, NOT a sample, NOT a variant, NOT a "back of the truck" special) review of the sneaker at hand.
First off, I must say that the first colorways (a combination of white and grey with the 6 "camo" colors Red, Green, Blue, Purple, White, Pink) are the very subtle and very low key; I didn't even notice staff wearing them when they were handing out lottery tickets. With jeans covering over it, you'll easily mistake them for a pair of Nikes if it weren't for the pointed edge of a star sneaking under your selvedge.
The stitching is great; seams seem strong and potent, but not too tight. A foot can easily flex the strings for a tight fit, but also allow for you to cram your foot in with the laces fully flat against the leather. The leather is soft and very durable, but just because these are not patent leather doesn't mean they don't crease! The toebox is made of a preferated leather which can easily bear creases and (unfortunately) seems like it may have the potential of the white paint on the leather to crack.
Under careful inspection, you'll notice 2 midsoles; 1 in the front (grey colored), and the middle to the back (white colored). The grey front midsole is very tough - it even feels plastic. A quick tap with your fingernail will prove how durable this sneaker will be if you come across a curb you didn't quite step high enough for. The mid/back midsole came as a surprise as it is VERY soft. They feel like my dad's New Balance trainers he plays Badminton with. Squeeze-able which leaves an imprint, these are the key to the comfort of the Roadsta.
Moving to the inside, the sneaker is very snug (notice: Roadstas seem to run a half size too big. If you can, try on a pair before you buy, otherwise it would be ok to buy a half size under your normal run-of-the-mill Bapesta or AF1. 9.5 Roadstas fit me like 10 Bapestas) and conforms to your foot very well with a slight arch support. The bottom of the insole actually has a second "soft" layer of cushion, which again reveals a very comfortable setting. The insole is slightly narrower than a Bapesta insole, so the skate shoe "wide" look is absent.
The soles lacked a bit of detail in my opinion; 2 colors, fully lined with "stas" and 2 neon colored "stas" in opposite directions. Under closer inspection I noticed the neon "stas" were a different rubber material - a tad stickier than the rest of the sole. Why did he do this? Who knows. The sole will match the color of your shoe, but White has opposite "stas" in a very random Brown color on a white sole. Odd, but very nicely done.
And finally, the most eyecatching detail on the shoe has to be the camo bubble. A lot of speculation came towards this "gimmick" but I must say it's very tastefully done. The air bubble itself is in fact NOT an actual air bubble. If you can picture any Air Max you'll notice that Nike uses a "column" design to utilize the air bubble. Bape did not "sample" this design at all, the air is basically just surrounding the edge of your heel. This again is an "illusion" of comfort, but if you find that you step down with the right edge of your left heel and vice versa first (instead of applying all your force to the back of the heel which would be ideal for both sneakers and your posture), then the air bubble will do it's job by absorbing that impact. The camo print is very neat and very sharp, but the entire bubble is not covered in camo. The print ends about 3 cms from the window, both on the bottom and on the top. Enough for the viewer outside to see, but would need to take the shoe off to notice the print finishing.
All in all, the Roadstas are more of a comfort shoe than a fashion shoe (at least the first string of colorways is, just wait for the classic 4 to drop sometime in October possibly for the more outrageous color combos) and I feel it's a great approach for Bape. The price is the same as a pair of Bapestas with a heel stitch, so there's no complaint here towards that, but I do wish these shoes came with a different colored shoelace to match the colorway. Would've been a nice touch, but easily overlooked.
"Worth the wait"
Pro: Camo bubble is nicely done, comfortable as hell
Con: Small design oversights in first string of colorways, leather shows weakness