Asics Brand Guide
Playing a major part in modern day sneaker culture is no mean feat- in an arena that has become the stomping ground for some of the world’s most iconic and historic sporting labels, getting noticed among sneaker profiles that have become giants of their genre requires any label to bring something fresh to the ever growing trainer table- and ASICS are one brand who are doing just that.
With a world famous history in providing apparel for some of the best long distance runners on the planet, ASICS have been up there amongst the best when it comes to innovation. In a history that sees its roots run deep into sporting achievement, ASICS have never stood still- instilling new technologies, ground breaking designs and elegant silhouettes to help their athletes go further, faster. With sneaker culture experiencing a major boom in recent years, ASICS trainers have emerged as a true sneaker head favourite, with their heritage and subtle styling making them the perfect casual styling option.
The ASICS story starts in Kobe, Japan, in 1949, with one man- Kihachiro Onitsuka. Motivated by the rise of basketball in Japan, and the need to rehabilitate juveniles after the effects of World War Two, Kihachiro formed Onitsuka Co., a brand that would create sports footwear-despite its owner having an incredibly limited knowledge in athletic production. Throwing himself into a design obsession that drew inspiration from everything around him, Kihachiro created styles that were both innovative and effective. From the first Japanese made basketball shoes that featured a tiger’s face on the side (which later became a company trademark), to line patterns on the side, Onitsuka’s designs were instantly recognizable. Onitsuka used materials that hadn’t been used on athletic shoes until that time- elements such as vulcanized rubber soles, synthetic fiber and suede uppers, and features like enhanced arch supports began to give Onitsuka trainers a bold reputation.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Onitsuka began to appear at some of the world’s leading sporting events on the feet of some of the best athletes of the time. Onitsuka shoes helped two athletes to medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and in 1966, research showed that nearly two thirds of competitors in the Boston Marathon wore Onitsuka trainers.
1977 saw a huge turning point for Onitsuka Co.- by merging with fishing and sporting goods company GTO and athletic uniform manufacturer JELENK, Onitsuka Co. became ASICS. Kihachiro Onitsuka was named as president of the newly formed company, which was named after the prefixes in the Latin phrase ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ meaning ‘a sound mind in a sound body’.
Continuing on where he left off with his self-titled label, Kihachiro Onitsuka persistently innovated through his designs. The tweaking of the Onitsuka stripes to give two horizontal lines intersected by two vertical lines fast became the trademark of a pair of ASICS running shoes. By the early 1980’s ASICS were exporting their running shoes, which were packed with up to date technology to over 80 countries, from Brazil to China.
It was technology such as shock absorbing gels that were inserted into ASICS sole units in the late 1980’s that forced ASICS into the eye line of some of the world’s running elite. Making their trainers superior for being lightweight yet incredibly comfortable when compared to others in their class, the ASICS Gel technology became the stuff of legend amongst a pulsating running culture- something that has recently transcended into urban street styling.
The silhouettes that followed from the design-obsessed minds at ASICS resulted in the classic runner being put on a strict diet. ASICS trainers got lighter and lighter, thanks to a purpose built design and research centre back in Kobe, Japan. ASICS continued to innovate, dueling with American sportswear giants Nike and European based Puma and adidas to offer something unique in the running market, as well as concentrating on supplying a huge range of sports, from football to volleyball, with ASICS footwear that was armed to the teeth with their unique technology.
Now an established name in athletics, ASICS have graced the feet of everyone from the amateur runner to Olympic champions. A staple in the field of sporting apparel, ASICS have begun to make a name for themselves in sneaker culture with the steady re-release of some of their heritage silhouettes.
With retro running profiles that perfectly display the iconic labels penchant for using plush, durable materials along with their own technology such as Gel cushioning systems, ASICS trainers are injecting a unique twist into today’s sneaker culture.
View our full collection of Asics Trainers here