You may be familiar with Asics, the legendary sports equipment manufacturer known for its innovations in running. Graduate is happy to present you its brand new collection Asics Onitsuka Tiger also called Asics Tiger composed of different types of feet, there is something for everyone.
Discover our entire Asics collection!
The new Asics Onitsuka Tiger feet
The technique in the spotlight
Asics proves its taste for technicality with a collection focused on aggressive shapes and sportswear pairs. New collection rhymes with new collaboration for Asics. Indeed, this year, the Japanese label offers us its famous running shoe Sonoma in GORE-TEX.
A pair specially designed to boost your performance in the greatest comfort, especially with its waterproofing, all in a black color. We also find one of the most technical pairs of the brand: the Fujitrabuco.
A model with a more aggressive look than ever that combines style and technology. Suitable for all types of running, whether in the forest or in the city. Seamless welded upper, better traction, excellent grip thanks to its pronounced lugs on the outsole, GEL sole for good cushioning and so on … A pair almost futuristic as its technology is at the service of the user’s comfort.
To finish on the technique, we also find the famous Asics gel Kayano, they are also the proof of a remarkable technology which they are the only ones to have the secret. Distinguished in several colors both discreet and assertive, the Japanese brand has always known how to combine technical innovation with sports design.
Back to basics
In addition to the technical range we find the classics of the brand. In particular with a pair of Onitsuka Tiger Gsm, the first name of Asics that resurfaced in the early 2000s. A retro model with a streetwear look, inspired by those of the 80’s, updated with its little “Onitsuka Tiger” tab that will please the purists of the Japanese brand. Added to that the latest models of the Gel Saga including the Zebra, a new special colorway SS19.
Reissued last year in a retro style of the 90s, it undergoes the same fate this year with a white and coral color of the most beautiful effect. A model that honors its roots in addition to a zebra pattern on the iconic Tiger brand.
In addition to its eye-catching retro design, Asics is still true to itself and advocates the technical side. This model released in 1991 combines a GEL insole for a better cushioning, an EVA midsole and a very light upper that together made the success of this pair. A sneaker that combines attention to detail and technical prowess to perfection.
Onitsuka Tiger: the birth of a tiger
Now we will discover, over the decades, how the firm has been able to distinguish itself and has always been ahead of its technology. But Asics is not only technology, it is also a state of mind, a message, a way of thinking that its creator has never abandoned.
Kobe, birthplace of the sports shoe
Kobe, hometown of the Japanese brand Asics. Created in 1949 by a young ingenious shoemaker who spent his time analyzing basketball players. His name: Kihachiro Onitsuka, also known as “Tiger“. Just after World War II, the sports industry really started to develop.
Being passionate about sports, it was after returning from several years in the army that Mr. Onitsuka decided to found his own company called “Onitsuka Tiger“. His story is closely linked to his home town: the Japanese city of Kobe.
Kobe has the advantage of having both the sea and the mountains. When the port of Kobe opened, many foreigners came to settle down. They settled in two distinct areas: Kitano and another one by the sea.
These two features greatly changed Kobe and nurtured the city. Throughout history, Kobe has been a shoe manufacturing city. In this shoe city, individual shoemakers helped each other to perfect their skills. People worked side by side in a spirit of solidarity. It is this collective spirit and collective craftsmanship that exemplifies Kobe.
Historically, Tokyo and Kobe were the two largest shoe manufacturing cities in Japan. Tokyo was the home of leather shoes and Kobe was the home of chemical shoes. Shoe-making materials, parts, tools and all elements of the process were made in Kobe. There was even a time when all Japanese shoe molds were made in Kobe.
It was also the city where the first marathon in Japan was held. The marathon started in the Minatogawa district of Kobe and ended in Osaka. Kobe has a special connection with sports.
The humble beginning of a future giant
Let’s go back to Onitsuka Tiger. Its creator, passionate about the analysis of basketball players, decided to create essentially sports shoes intended for basketball players. His desire was to offer products combining performance and quality.
He was inspired by the octopus’s suction cups to make sneakers with the highest level of grip. He later renamed his company ASICS, which comes from the Latin phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” which literally means “A sound mind in a sound body.
Suggested by a wartime friend, Mr. Onitsuka was deeply impressed by these words and inspired his dedication to making footwear that promotes the health of young people through sport..
At that time, basketball shoes were considered the hardest to make in terms of sports equipment. For Kihachiro Onitsuka, this is not a problem. He even says that if he can overcome one obstacle at first, he can continue to overcome other obstacles. So he decided to give prototypes to one of the leaders in basketball to test, refine, and finally release the first model in the spring of 1950.
“if I can overcome one obstacle at the beginning, I can continue to overcome other obstacles.” – Kihachiro Onitsuka
Thanks to the quality of its shoes and its commercial policy, Onitsuka saw the success of its company soon after. Indeed, in 1951, the winner of the Boston Marathon wore the Tiger sneaker, which led to the beginning of a commercial success that will endure over the years.
The rise of a precursor
Mr.Onitsuka is gradually spreading his empire by expanding his market. Despite its imposing competitors such as Nike or Adidas, Asics manages to make a place for itself among the best-selling sports shoes in the world.
The brand began to present models specially designed for other sports such as running shoes, volleyball, soccer and tennis. All this while distinguishing itself on the quality of its products, because its creator always aims to offer products studied and designed for the well-being of young athletes.
Asics has established itself in the world of sports culture. The famous Asics stripes on the side of the shoe were first introduced in 1966 during the pre-Olympic trials for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The “Limber” model was the first to feature these famous stripes that will become the icon of Onitsuka Tiger as well as Asics over time.
An interesting fact about the history of Asics is that the Japanese brand is the originator of the famous American brand Nike. Its creators, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, began collaborating after Knight acquired a significant amount of Onitsuka Tiger. The original name of their company was Blue Ribbon Sports, which played a major role in bringing Limber to the United States.
Impressed by the quality of Onitsuka Tiger, they wanted to sell Asics shoes. It was after this that they began to imagine the very famous “Cortez” model created in 1968, inspired by the Tiger Corsair model of the Japanese brand.
Thus, the two companies, Onitsuka Tiger and Blue Ribbon Sports (predecessor of Nike we recall) decided to join forces for the import in the United States. Onitsuka Tiger began to inspire the world with its blend of tradition and modernity. Notably in the industry of the 7th art, where Uma Thurman wears the famous Tai Chi of yellow black color in Kill Bill, which is also a nod to Bruce Lee.
It was in the late 70’s that all the brands of Mr.Onitsuka’s company were merged into the Asics brand. Onitsuka Tiger became ASICSTIGER, linking his first brand to his mindset that he never lost sight of: “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”, a healthy mind in a healthy body. This led to a greater awareness after the victory of the Finnish runner, Lasse Virén, during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, all while wearing Onitsuka Tiger.
A little one who became big
Between ASICSTIGER, Asics and Onitsuka Tiger, the company of Mr. Onitsuka begins the 80s, always keeping a technical lead on its competitors. We arrive in 1986 when the first shoes of the Japanese brand are equipped with a new material of silicone padding: the “GEL”.
The GEL is specially designed to support the shocks and thus serve as a mattress for the supports.
The brand continues to innovate with its “ComforDry Sockliner” shoes, which have the particularity of resisting abrasion and improving air circulation in the shoe. Or the “Solyte” technology, patented by Asics, which allows to lighten the soles in terms of weight but also deformation.
After being discontinued, the Onitsuka Tiger brand was relaunched in 2002, with reissues of the Mexico66, Ultimate81, and Nippon60. Their desire is to acquire a global expansion in the sports style market.
They decided to launch a full line of apparel and accessories under the Onitsuka Tiger trademark shortly after the footwear line and opened the first stand-alone store the following year, a real independence for the Japanese label.
Japan is also highlighted six years later with the release of their premium range “NIPPON MADE” which is a series of two models marketed under the brand Onitsuka Tiger. A range where all parts of the shoe are manufactured in Japan. A return to the roots for the brand, with the Keirin Nippon and the Ultimate Trainer which are made of vintage Japanese leather.
Kihachiro Onitsuka, aka “The Tiger”, slowly led his company to glory until his death in 2007 leaving it in the hands of Motoi Oyama a former Japanese athlete. Mr.Onitsuka has no more worries for his company, which has become a world-renowned brand that has influenced a generation of young athletes and conveys a very positive message. Today Asics has become a real player in the clothing world. In 2010, the firm acquired all the shares of Hanglöfs, an alpine clothing brand. Then the Runkeeper app in 2016, which is a global fitness tracking app, still in the brand’s DNA.
From a simple straw sandal, to the acquisition of several global sports companies, to ever more innovative technologies, the Asics brand has come a long way. A long journey that its faithful creator has led throughout his life to convey and inspire a message to young generations around the world: develop the spirit and body of youth through sport. And this thanks to a simple phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”, ASICS.
By Arthur Appercé