History of ASICS

A Step Back in Time: Exploring the History of ASICS

ASICS is one of the top athletic shoe brands in the world. Millions of athletes worldwide use Asics running shoes, tennis shoes, and cross-training shoes daily, making them highly regarded for their quality, comfort, and high performance. 

Despite this, many people do not know about the origins of this iconic brand. In this blog post, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the rich history of ASICS.

The Birth of ASICS

The ASICS story begins in post-World War II Japan, at a time when the country was going through a period of reconstruction and modernization. A group of six entrepreneurs, who shared a passion for sports and fitness, came together to create a brand that would provide runners with high-quality, performance-enhancing sneakers. They named the brand Onitsuka Tiger, after one of the founders, Kihachiro Onitsuka.

The first Onitsuka Tiger model, introduced in 1949, was the Tabi, a running shoe that was inspired by the traditional Japanese socks with a separated toe. This design allowed runners to grip the ground more effectively and reduced the risk of slipping. 

The Tabi was a hit with Japanese athletes, and soon, the brand began to expand its product range with new models like the Marathon Tabi, the Magic Runner, and the Limber Up.

In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with the GTO and JELENK companies to form ASICS, an acronym for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” which translates to “a sound mind in a sound body” in Latin. 

The new name reflected the brand’s commitment to creating products that promote health and fitness, and it signaled a new phase in ASICS’ development. The brand continued to innovate and introduce new technologies to improve its products’ performance, such as the GEL cushioning system and the Duomax support system.

Over the years, ASICS has become synonymous with quality, innovation, and performance. The brand has sponsored some of the world’s top athletes, including Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic, and Yohan Blake, and has been endorsed by numerous sports teams and organizations. 

Today, ASICS offers a wide range of sneakers for all kinds of sports and activities, from running and tennis to volleyball and wrestling. Their products are sought after by athletes and casual wearers alike, thanks to their stylish designs and superior performance.

Evolution of ASICS Footwear

The first ASICS running shoe was called the ‘Magic Runner.’ This shoe was introduced in 1953 and was designed to be both durable and lightweight. The Magic Runner had a unique ‘crocodile’ leather spike-sole, which provided excellent grip for runners on all surfaces. The design of the shoe was revolutionary at the time, and it quickly became popular with runners in Japan.

ASICS made significant strides in the 1960s when they introduced their first model with a flexible sole, called the ‘Tiger.’ The Tiger was designed with an innovative outsole that allowed the runner’s foot to flex naturally, thereby reducing the incidence of injuries. The shoe was also lighter than its predecessors, which further added to its popularity. 

In the 1970s, ASICS introduced the ‘Marathon Star,’ which became the brand’s most popular shoe. It was specifically designed for long-distance runners, with a comfortable, cushioned sole that provided excellent shock absorption. The Marathon Star’s revolutionary design was one of the first shoes to incorporate gel technology, which helped to reduce the strain on the runner’s foot and leg muscles.

By the 1980s, ASICS had become a well-established brand in the running world. They introduced the ‘Gel-Lyte’ in 1987, which was the first ASICS shoe to use gel technology in the heel. This technology allowed for better shock absorption and comfort, which, in turn, reduced the risk of impact injuries. The Gel-Lyte was a game-changer in the world of sports footwear, and it quickly became a bestseller.

In recent years, ASICS has continued to innovate and improve its shoes. The brand has expanded beyond running shoes and now offers a wide range of products, including trail running shoes, cross-training shoes, and more. The shoes have been designed to incorporate the latest technology and materials, making them more comfortable, durable, and effective. 

ASICS in the Olympics

ASICS has been a part of the Olympics for over half a century, providing the most advanced and high-quality sports footwear to athletes around the world. The brand’s involvement with the Olympics began in 1952, when it made its first international appearance in the Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland. Since then, ASICS has remained a key partner of the Olympics and has provided its footwear to a large number of athletes.

One of the most memorable moments in ASICS’ Olympic history came in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where the brand introduced its latest sports footwear technology known as ‘shock absorption’. Developed to provide maximum support to athletes, the new technology quickly became popular among Olympic athletes. The first winner of a Gold Medal wearing ASICS was Abebe Bikila at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

The brand continued its partnership with the Olympics over the years and continued to provide innovative sports footwear to athletes. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, ASICS introduced a new line of shoes, the Gel-Kayano, which became a favorite among runners. The brand’s high-quality sports footwear was praised by athletes, and many of them went on to win gold medals in ASICS shoes.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, ASICS became an official supplier of sports footwear for the games, solidifying its status as a major player in the sports world. The Olympics in Sydney saw a number of athletes wearing ASICS shoes, and the brand also provided custom-designed shoes for the Australian Olympic team.  This type of dedication and partnership has been continuing, and in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, ASICS is once again in the limelight as a major partner.

ASICS in Pop Culture

From being worn by athletes on the tracks to the runway, ASICS has been associated with so many iconic moments in pop culture. In the movie “Kill Bill,” Uma Thurman can be seen wearing a pair of ASICS while running around and fighting the bad guys. The sneakers were part of a carefully curated wardrobe that included a yellow jumpsuit, making the scene as iconic as the sneakers.

ASICS has also made its way onto the small screen, worn by characters in some of the most popular TV shows. On “Breaking Bad,” the character played by Bryan Cranston rocks a pair of ASICS Gel Lyte III sneakers. The sneakers have become so popular among sneakerheads that they have been released in different colorways and collaborations over the years.

Moreover, a popular female rapper from New York helped make the ASICS Gel Lyte III famous in a music video. In 1999, rapper Lil’ Kim wore a pair of white and gold Gel Lyte III in the “No Time” music video, and since then, there has been a surge in demand for the brand’s sneakers.

In addition, athletes and celebrities have made ASICS sneakers part of their everyday outfits. Serena Williams, who is a fan of ASICS, has been spotted wearing a pair of ASICS sneakers off the court. Additionally, rapper Kanye West has also been seen wearing ASICS sneakers on multiple occasions.

ASICS Challenges and Triumphs

ASICS, short for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano or “a sound mind in a sound body,” is a well-known brand in the athletic shoes industry. 

The company has been around for decades and has continuously innovates its products to cater to different types of athletes and sports enthusiasts. 

But despite their expertise, ASICS has also faced its own challenges in the market, as well as triumphs that set them apart from their competitors. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the ASICS challenges and triumphs list, and how these have affected the brand and its customers.


One of the greatest challenges that ASICS has faced is the rise of competition from other athletic shoe brands. With the rise of new technologies and materials, as well as changing consumer tastes, ASICS has had to adapt to stay competitive. Though they continue to dominate in certain markets, such as running shoes and volleyball shoes, they constantly need to improve their designs and materials to stay ahead. 

Another challenge that ASICS faces is price. ASICS shoes tend to be more expensive compared to other brands in the market. While this is justified by the quality and advanced technology used in each pair of shoes, budget-conscious consumers may opt to buy cheaper alternatives. In response, ASICS has introduced more affordable lines such as the Gel-Contend and Gel-Excite series.

Finally, one of ASICS’ most significant challenges is sustainability. As an athletic shoe brand, ASICS has a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact. They have started taking steps towards sustainability, such as using recycled materials and reducing water usage in their manufacturing processes. However, they still have a long way to go in implementing a more sustainable business model.


ASICS has had its fair share of triumphs that have set them apart from their competitors. One of these is their focus on technology. ASICS has been at the forefront of innovation in athletic shoes, introducing new technologies such as GEL cushioning and FluidRide midsole. These features have greatly improved the comfort and performance of ASICS shoes, making them a top choice for many athletes.

Another triumph for ASICS is their dedication to research and development. The company invests heavily in studying the anatomy and biomechanics of runners, enabling them to create shoes that are specifically designed to enhance the running experience. They also have an Institute of Sport Science where they conduct research and testing for their products, enabling them to create shoes that are not only comfortable but also effective in preventing injury.

Finally, ASICS has a loyal fan base. Many athletes and sports enthusiasts swear by ASICS shoes, praising them for their comfort, durability, and performance. This loyal following has helped the brand maintain its status as a leader in the athletic shoe industry.

ASICS Global Influence

ASICS, like many other companies, have set their sights on global expansion with the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s foremost sports brand. By increasing its presence worldwide and acquiring a significant customer base on an international level, ASICS aims to achieve this objective. 

The company has already made significant strides in achieving this goal by setting up offices in different parts of the world. One key aspect of the company’s success in global expansion that sets it apart from other manufacturers of athletic footwear, is its focus on localization. Localization is the process of adapting and customizing the brand’s offerings and product lines to appeal to specific markets and regions. This has helped ASICS gain significant market share in different countries around the world.

In recent years, ASICS has made partnerships with major sports organizations and increased visibility through sponsored events and endorsements. This has enabled the company to reach out to a broader audience worldwide. 

The brand has also been investing in developing innovative products to improve the athletic performance of its customers. Groundbreaking advancements in shoe and midsole designs have been made to enhance the user’s experience while using their products.

ASICS has a considerable advantage over its competitors in the global market because of its knowledge of the sports industry and its reputation amongst professionals. This is a distinct advantage which greatly affects consumer buying decisions, making ASICS the brand of choice for those looking to invest in high-quality athletic footwear. 

The company also conducts research and frequently works with professional athletes to gain valuable insights into the needs of its customers. This fundamentally informs the design of new products, meeting the needs of the end-users and ensures that the brand is continually innovating.

First Basketball Shoes Of ASICS

ASICS started producing basketball shoes in the late 1970s after launching their first basketball shoe named “ASICS BB-1” in 1977. At that time, the BB-1 was a game-changer for athletes that played on indoor courts. 

One of the significant features of the BB-1 basketball shoes was their unique design that allowed them to be laced around the heel. This design had its advantages because players could easily customize the tightness of the shoes around the ankle for extra support when jumping, running, and guarding other players. The BB-1 inspires most of ASICS’ basketball shoes till date.

In 1981, ASICS released their next basketball shoe, the “ASICS BB-2.” Back then, this shoe made major upgrades to the previous model and had significant features that distinguished them from the predecessor. The BB-2 basketball sneaker has a honeycomb lattice system in its sole that not only increased durability but also provided extra cushioning than the BB-1. The honeycomb design of the BB-2 made it a crowd favorite and even some professional basketball players prefer this shoe for their on-court activities.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, ASICS continued to upgrade their basketball shoes. There were a few not-so-successful models during this period, but the “GEL-BLOCK” basketball sneaker was one ASICS trademark model which made waves in the basketball market.

ASICS GEL-BLOCK was released in 1995, and it took the basketball world by storm with its elegant design and groundbreaking cushioning technology. The GEL-BLOCK sneaker was undoubtedly one of ASICS’ best basketball sneakers as it provided unparalleled comfort, balance, and support to the wearer.

First Wrestling Shoe Of ASICS

The creation of ASICS’s first wrestling shoe was a result of their partnership with Dan Gable, an American wrestling legend. In 1977, ASICS approached Gable to develop a shoe that would help wrestlers achieve their maximum potential on the mat. Gable’s input was crucial in producing a shoe that was lightweight, flexible, and provided the necessary support for successful wrestling tactics.

The first ASICS wrestling shoe was made from a simple design with a soft sole and a lace-up front. Its lightweight and flexible construction allowed for quick movement and agility during matches. Moreover, the shoe’s suede and rubber materials provided athletes with the ankle support they needed. The shoe quickly became popular among wrestlers, as it was a game-changer for athletes’ footwear.

From the first ASICS wrestling shoe, the brand continued to evolve the design, improving it along the way. The most recent version is the GEL-CUMULUS 23 wrestling shoe, which has enhanced features, such as the Gel® cushioning system, designed to provide lightweight support and comfort levels. 

ASICS has also committed to upgrading other design elements, such as the ventilation system, to keep athletes’ feet dry and cool during matches. The recent redesign of the shoe’s upper helps wrestlers achieve even more agility and flexibility while holding onto the mat firmly. Plus, the shoe is available in a range of colors to suit all wrestlers’ needs.

ASICS Philanthropy and Social Initiatives

1. ASICS Run for the Next Generation

Run for the Next Generation is an Asics initiative that aims to promote health and prevent childhood obesity. The program focuses on enabling children to adopt active lifestyles by introducing them to running as part of their regular routine. Asics partners with educational institutions and organizations to provide equipment and coaches that will help children achieve their health goals. Furthermore, Asics takes things a step further by regularly hosting 5K/10K runs in various countries, where the proceeds go to supporting local sports programs. This program shows just how committed Asics is to not only creating top-quality athletic shoes but also developing healthier communities worldwide.

2. ASICS Better Your Community Program

Asics Better Your Community Program is another program that highlights Asics’ commitment to giving back to the community. This program is aimed towards young people seeking to create positive change in their neighborhoods. Participants apply with their ideas for improvement, and Asics selects the outstanding entries and provides them with financial support or equipment necessary to implement their projects. Some of the past winning projects from the Better Your Community program include urban gardens, food banks, and arts and sports programs for underprivileged youth. This program empowers young people to make their communities better places to live.

3. ASICS Solidarity Fund

The ASICS Solidarity Fund is Asics’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has brought about a great deal of economic uncertainty worldwide, with some regions being hit worse than others. Asics has set up the Solidarity Fund to support entrepreneurs and small businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic. The fund provides financial support to these businesses so that they can continue to operate and contribute to their communities. This program highlights Asics’ concern for humanity, and the company’s willingness to lend a helping hand during challenging times.

4. ASICS Project Support

The ASICS Project Support is Asics’ long-standing program that provides various forms of support to aspiring athletes striving to realize their sporting dreams. The program provides athletes with financial support as well as technical support to help them hone their skills and reach their full potential. This program highlights Asics’ commitment to sports development as well as its dedication to supporting individuals seeking to push the limits of their abilities.

Best Shoes ASICS Made 

  1. ASICS Gel-Kayano:  The ASICS Gel-Kayano is one of the most popular running shoes out there, and for good reason. The design of this shoe focuses on providing the wearer with the perfect balance of support and comfort. It has a lightweight upper, a responsive midsole, and a durable outsole. The Gel-Kayano is perfect for those with overpronation, making it one of the top choices for runners. This shoe has been around since 1993 and continues to be a favorite of ASICS fans.
  2. ASICS Gel-Nimbus:  Another highly-rated ASICS running shoe is the Gel-Nimbus. It’s designed to provide a comfortable and cushioned run, thanks to its gel cushioning system and FluidRide technology. The Gel-Nimbus is great for long-distance runners who need extra support for their feet, as well as those who want a lightweight shoe that won’t weigh them down. This shoe has been around since 1999 and continues to be a go-to choice for runners.
  3. ASICS GT-2000: The ASICS GT-2000 is another popular running shoe from the brand. It’s designed with a firm support system to help prevent overpronation, making it a great shoe for those with relatively flat feet. It has a flexible forefoot and a stable heel, with a breathable upper to keep feet cool and comfortable. The GT-2000 has been around since 1993 and has received praise from both elite runners and casual runners alike.
  4. ASICS Gel-Quantum: The ASICS Gel-Quantum is a favorite among those who need a good-looking shoe that’s also functional. It’s designed with a sleek and modern style, with a lightweight upper made from breathable mesh. The Gel-Quantum also features gel cushioning to provide a comfortable and responsive experience for the wearer. This shoe is perfect for those who want a versatile shoe that’s great for running, walking, and running errands.
  5.  ASICS Onitsuka Tiger Mexico: Lastly, we have the ASICS Onitsuka Tiger Mexico, which is a classic shoe that has been around since the late 1960s. The Mexico is a lifestyle shoe that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks to its stylish design and comfortable fit. It’s perfect for those who want a retro style shoe that’s also comfortable enough to wear every day.

ASICS Modern Era

GEL Technology: One of the latest innovations from ASICS is its GEL technology, which is designed to provide superior cushioning and shock absorption. This technology is found in many of their running shoes and is especially beneficial for runners who suffer from joint pain or other types of injuries. The GEL technology absorbs impact and helps to disperse the shock, reducing the amount of stress on the body during a run.

FLYTEFOAM Technology: Another modern innovation from ASICS is its FLYTEFOAM technology, which is designed to provide a lightweight, responsive, and durable cushioning system. This technology is found in many of their newer running shoes and helps to provide a more responsive and snappy feel when running. It also provides a level of energy return, allowing runners to push off the ground with more power.

Knitted Uppers: One of the latest trends in running shoes is the use of knitted uppers, which are designed to provide a more customized and comfortable fit for runners. ASICS has embraced this trend with many of its newer shoes, including the GEL-Nimbus and GEL-Kayano models. These shoes feature a knitted upper that conforms to the shape of the foot and provides a snug, yet breathable fit.

Impact Guidance System: The Impact Guidance System is another innovative feature found in many ASICS shoes. This technology is designed to help promote a more natural gait cycle, reducing the risk of injury and allowing for a smoother run. The system works by implementing a series of grooves and channels in the midsole, which guide the foot through each step of the running motion.

MetaRun: Finally, we have the MetaRun, one of the most innovative and advanced running shoes ever created by ASICS. This shoe was developed using years of scientific research and cutting-edge technology to provide the ultimate in running performance. With its seamless knit upper, Dual Density Midsole, and adaptive Stability+ technology, the MetaRun offers a level of comfort and stability that is unmatched in the world of running shoes.

ASICS Future 

Firstly, it is important to understand what ASICSTone is and what it does. ASICSTone is a newly introduced technology that is designed to absorb the impact of the foot as it strikes the ground. 

This technology is also said to offer a much higher level of comfort, cushioning the feet, helping prevent injuries and decreasing fatigue – especially during long runs or other intensive sports. As ASICSTone gains more popularity and recognition, more Asics users will be drawn to it, looking to benefit from its performance-enhancing properties.

Secondly, the future of ASICSTone looks bright. With its superior level of technological advancements, ASICSTones are bound to become highly sought-after in the athletic shoe market. 

The technology is well-positioned to provide real value to Asics shoes users, as more and more individuals look for shoes that offer comfort, durability and performance. In fact, Asics has stated that it aims to integrate ASICSTone in all its running shoes in the coming years, which shows that the company has a strong belief in the technology, and its potential to reshape its products.

Thirdly, the technology behind ASICSTone is unique, and this gives Asics a key advantage over its competitors. Asics has always excelled in its ability to innovate and create impressive technology for athletic shoe users’ benefits. With ASICSTone, the company has succeeded in combining innovation with performance, ultimately positioning itself as a leader in the running shoes market. This means that other competitors will have to play catch up to keep up with Asics.

Fourthly, Asics has committed a significant investment in the research and development of ASICSTone. The company has been consistently working on making the technology more innovative and better performing, ensuring that the shoe users get maximum benefit from it. 

This financial investment makes it clear that Asics believes in the long-term viability of the technology, and it’s aggressively pursuing research that enhances ASICSTone.

Lastly, the future of ASICSTone is also tightly linked to the development of a sustainable and environmentally friendly brand. Asics is working to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious, thus reducing its ecological footprint; ASICSTone is a technology that plays a critical role in decreasing the amount of material previously used in their shoes without compromising performance. 

Adopting the technology indicates the company’s commitment to sustainability and will gain more traction, especially among the environmentally conscious running and sports enthusiasts.


ASICS’ history is rich, diverse, and fascinating. From a Kobe-based basketball shoe brand to a world-renowned athletic shoe giant, Asics has always been dedicated to providing excellence in footwear. 

ASICS has kept its philosophy of innovation and pushing boundaries alive, and remains a trusted and reliable name in the world of athletics. ASICSis more than just a brand- it embodies a way of life for athletes worldwide, honing their practice, and perfecting their performance.

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