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ASICS' road to success in the sneaker world

May 7, 2023 7:48 PM
ASICS' road to success in the sneaker world

ASICS is a well-known and beloved brand in the world of shoes and sportswear. Especially in the field of sneakers, ASICS has managed to establish a strong position. But what makes ASICS so special, and how has it managed to become such a successful sneaker brand?

To answer this question, we would like to take you on a journey through ASICS' path to success in the sneaker world. Below, you will read about the history, innovations and technologies, successful releases and collaborations, and more!

The origin of ASICS

Going back to 1949

In 1949, Kihachiro Onitsuka founded ONITSUKA Shokai in Kobe, Japan. In that same year, the company was reorganized as ONITSUKA Co., Ltd. with only two employees and a capitalization of 300,000 yen. At the time of its founding, he aimed for the company to contribute to the nurturing of youth and the development of society through sports.

Not long after, the company name was changed to ASICS, an acronym for the Latin expression "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano" ("You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body"), a quote from the Roman satirist Juvenal.

The "A Sound Mind, in A Sound Body" proverb was proposed by Kohei Hori, a friend of Onitsuka who, during wartime, was director of Health and Physical Education at the Hyogo Prefecture Board of Education. It affected Onitsuka so much that it inspired him to dedicate himself to making sports shoes with the aim of enabling people all over the world to lead a healthy and happy life, both physically and mentally.

Ontstaan van Onitsuka

The first basketball shoe in 1950

Prior to the first release of ONITSUKA Co., Ltd., Onitsuka gave various prototypes of his shoes to players in one of today's leading basketball powers. Here, the shoes were regularly tested and improved. This led to the first athletic sports shoe made by ONITSUKA Co., Ltd. in 1950, which was a basketball shoe.

This was at a time when it was thought to be the toughest sports shoe to make. But Onitsuka was convinced that if he could overcome a high hurdle at the start, he could continue to overcome future hurdles.

De eerste basketbalschoen van Onitsuka

After the success of the basketball shoe, a wide variety of other categories of sports shoes were launched shortly thereafter. Think of marathon shoes, wrestling shoes, soccer shoes, fencing shoes, and volleyball shoes.

The Mexico-stripes

The iconic ASICS stripes that we all know were originally introduced as the Mexico line. As tradition, ONITSUKA introduced a new unique trademark every four years. This included the Mexico stripes in 1966. Eventually, this design would represent the shoes of ONITSUKA TIGER, ASICSTIGER, and ASICS.

Mexico-strepen op schoenen

De Cortez schoen en de strijd met Nike

Did you know that the Cortez shoe was released in collaboration between Bill Bowerman of Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka? This shoe was made specifically for the American market, where there was a demand for a shoe with better cushioning.

While the shoe was a huge success, Blue Ribbon Sports changed to Nike, who released their own Nike Cortez line, this time with the iconic Swoosh. This led to a behind-the-scenes battle that even resulted in a lawsuit over who would have the rights to the name. The decision was made in favor of Nike and Onitsuka was forced to rebrand their shoe under the name Tiger Corsair.

Innovation en Technology at ASICS

When it comes to innovation in the sneaker industry, ASICS is one of the leading players. The brand has made numerous technological advancements to enhance its sneakers and optimize the performance of athletes. Some examples are explained below.


One of the most notable innovations by ASICS is the GEL technology. The first GEL-based running shoe was released in 1986. The silicone cushioning material was designed to absorb and distribute shock during running. Eventually, it became and still remains one of the fundamental functional materials of ASICS.


Another significant innovation by ASICS is FlyteFoam. In 2016, the first running shoe based on FlyteFoam was launched. The lightest midsole material in the history of ASICS is approximately 55% lighter than traditional EVA midsole materials. Due to excellent durability, low weight, and cushioning properties, FlyteFoam can promote the speed of runners.


When the foot moves in different directions, the shoe rotates. Excessive rotation of the shoe impedes stable movement. To improve shoe stability by preventing excessive shoe rotation, the TRUSSTIC technology was designed. TRUSSTIC is used in the middle part of the sole and the shape is tailored to the type of shoe according to the movements used in the sport.


The wear resistance of the outsole greatly affects the shoe's lifespan. For this reason, AHAR and AHARPLUS were developed. But also based on the concept of contributing to the reduction of environmental impact by extending the lifespan. AHAR and AHARPLUS are outsole materials that improve the durability of shoes without sacrificing necessary functions, such as grip.


DUOMAX reduces stress on the foot resulting from overpronation (when the heel rolls inward at the end of a step). It also supports the foot for a more comfortable walking experience. With DUOMAX, a part of the inside of the midsole is made of firm sponge material. This controls the inward rolling of the heel.

ASICS designfilosofy

ASICS on feet

ASICS has always had a strong focus on the functionality of its sneakers, especially in the running and sports industry. However, the brand has also become known for its innovative and stylish designs. By perfectly combining functionality and aesthetics, ASICS sneakers have become popular in both the sports and fashion world.

The design philosophy of ASICS focuses first and foremost on understanding the needs of the athlete and the challenges they face. ASICS then develops designs that address these needs and challenges, integrating the above-mentioned innovations and technologies into the sneaker design.

In addition to the functional aspects, ASICS also places great importance on the aesthetics of its sneakers. The brand believes that a sneaker, in addition to performance, should also be an important part of your personal style.

To create a distinctive and recognizable sneaker, ASICS uses various contrasting colors, textures, and patterns. To achieve this, ASICS regularly collaborates with designers and artists, such as Ronnie Fieg.

In addition, new collections and color schemes are regularly released that are inspired by the latest fashion trends and colors. This keeps the brand not only stylish but also innovative and forward-thinking in the world of sneaker design.

Most successful releases and trending colorways

Over the years, ASICS has released a wide range of sneakers, each with their own unique features and styles. However, some of these releases have garnered particular attention and have become true icons in the sneaker world.


If you're wondering what ASICS is known for, the GEL-Kayano shoe is worth mentioning. The GEL-Kayano is a powerful shoe and is considered a bestseller because of its high performance.

It is also available in many different styles in both women's and men's sizes. Some popular colorways at the moment are the GEL-Kayano 28 'French Blue' and the GEL-Kayano 14 'White'!


The GEL-Nimbus was first released in 1999. It owes its name to the cumulonimbus cloud, due to its lightweight and soft characteristics. The GEL-Nimbus is considered a successful release due to its gender-specific forefoot (TRUSSTIC) and cushioning technology (FlyteFoam), providing ultimate stability and shock absorption.

Trending colorways of the GEL-Nimbus include the GEL-Nimbus 9 'Nightshade' and the GEL-Nimbus 'Black/White'.


Another model that has been popular among sneaker enthusiasts worldwide for decades is the ASICS GEL-Lyte. The GEL-Lyte is popular because, in addition to excellent cushioning and comfort, it also has a striking design that remains relevant and stylish. It is a sleek shoe with clean lines and subtle details.

The countless color combinations and materials make it a popular choice for both athletes and casual sneakerheads. The popular color combinations of the moment are the Awake NY x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Della Robbia Blue' and the ASICS Gel-Lyte III 'Watershed Rose'.


An emerging, but already successful model is the ASICS EX89! This shoe is made of high-quality materials such as mesh and synthetic leather, which provide a good fit and long-lasting durability.

Another popular feature of the EX89 is its striking retro style. It is inspired by the 80s and 90s and has a unique, nostalgic look. This makes it a popular choice for sneaker fans who are looking for something different from the standard models. Some examples are the Bellahollic x Asics SportStyle EX89 'Cream' and EX89 'White Classic Red'.

Famous collaborations

Collaborations with athletes

Over the years, ASICS has collaborated with many famous athletes. This has not only contributed to the company's success, but also to the development of some of the most iconic sneakers. Sports in which ASICS mainly collaborates with athletes are running/athletics, tennis, wrestling, and triathlon.

Running and athletics

When it comes to running and athletics, you can think of names like Sara Hall, Deena Kastor, Taliyah Brooks, and Johnny Gregorek. By incorporating feedback and expertise from these athletes, ASICS has been able to develop some of its most popular running shoes, such as the GEL-Kayano and the GEL-Nimbus.

Makenna Myler loopt hard in ASICS uitrusting


When we talk about one of the most successful tennis players of all time, we are of course talking about Novak Djokovic! Together with ASICS, he has worked to develop his own line of tennis shoes, including the popular ASICS COURT FF.

Novak Djokovic tennist in ASICS uitrusting


Wrestlers have unique needs and specific requirements when it comes to their equipment. That's why ASICS works closely with world-class wrestlers to develop products that enhance your performance on the mat. For example, the company works with Adeline Gray, Nick Gwiazdowski, and Joey McKenna, among others. This has resulted in the popular ASICS Aggressor collection.

Nick Gwiazdowski worstelt in ASICS uitrusting


In addition to wrestlers, triathletes also have unique needs and specific requirements. To improve the performance of triathletes, the brand collaborates with Flora Duffy. A Bermudian triathlete known for her powerful swimming and running. This collaboration has resulted in the GEL-Noosa Tri and Metaspeed Sky collections, among others.

Flora Duffy loopt triatlon in ASICS uitrusting

Collaborations with brands

In addition to famous athletes, ASICS also has several iconic collaborations with brands under its belt.

For example, with JJJJound, where the two worked on the GEL-Kayano 14. The JJJJound x ASICS was released in two colorways and was sold out in no time - which is not surprising when it comes to Justin Saunders.

Or consider Awake NY, who have had multiple successful collaborations with ASICS. For example, the GEL-Kayano 5 360 from 2020 or the new GEL-NYC collection!

Finally, there is the colorful version of Brain Dead on the GEL-Nimbus 9. This shoe has an industrial look that was typical during the Y2K era. It also features the classic Brain Dead moniker on the sockliners and two lace options for a more personalized look.

Awake NY x ASICS
Awake NY
Brain Dead x ASICS
Brain Dead

We hope to have given you new insights into the iconic sneaker brand ASICS! Are you convinced that a pair of ASICS sneakers should not be missing in your sneaker collection? Then discover your favorite ASICS sneaker in the Sneakerjagers search engine!