Encouraged by their ‘Anima Sana In Corpore Sano’ (You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body) acronymity and their association with evolutionary sportswear styling, ASICS arrives at Always in Colour to present its formidable 70-year legacy with respect to heritage track-and-field stylings and an undeniable loyalty to modernised sports-centric functionality. Letting their 1987 associative sports technology for active lifestyles slogan adhere to the developing necessities of modern-day streetwear, Kihachiro Onitsuka’s ASICS is a revolutionary footwear brand that finds itself well-placed at the centre of advancing sports culture.
Originally founded as ONITSUKA Co. in 1949 by Japanese salary-man and World War II veteran Kihachiro Onitsuka, the brand was founded on the principle of raising self-esteem amongst the post-war youth through pioneering athletic encouragement. After the Onitsuka Tiger label revelled in the success of Derek Clayton’s breaking of the World Marathon Record in 1967, whilst wearing a pair of the brand’s founding sneakers, and the Japanese Women’s Volleyball team’s gold medal success just three years earlier during the ‘64 Tokyo Olympics in the same design, the now widely recognised sportswear collection collaborated with GTO Sportswear and JELENK Knitwear in ‘77 to rebrand as ASICS. Inspired by their philosophical ideal that innovative design and skilled craftsmanship was the key to success, the Onituska Tiger umbrella continued to siphon influence from Japanese sporting legacy, the celebrated notion of harmonious connections and conceptualised creativity to curate a high-performance sporting legacy with the statistics to prove it. Pioneering profiles from the brand’s Onitsuka Tiger subdivision such as the MEXICO66, ULTIMATE81 and the NIPPON60 were intrinsically tied to the love of sport, whilst ASICS’ choice use of exclusive tech-engineered advancements such as their FlyteFoam, fuzeGel and Solyte contributions gave way to the next generation of athletic sneakers imagined with both athletes and sneaker enthusiasts in mind.
Inspired by 1986’s revolutionary introduction of ASICS’ silicone-based GEL™ technology that was designed to absorb shock and dissipate vibration across any demanding setting, the remastered Gel-1090 takes influence from its 2003 predecessor whilst combining conceptual likeness to the contoured lines of a motorcycle through its reclaimed ‘tiger-claw’ waving race-flag markings and its emphasised notion of speed. Part of the heritage-mindful GT-1000™ series, these track-and-field minded shoes are crafted with mixed-material uppers styled from both premium-grade leather and breathable mesh to ensure a protective yet well-ventilated ode to performative function, whilst the throwback contoured sole and GEL™ technology inserts across the stacked EVA midsole remain loyal to the brand’s heritage trail-running designs and its early ‘90s aesthetic revival.
Another early ‘00s profile redesigned to honour the contemporary streetwear market, the Gel-Preleus was a pioneering silhouette curated by two different designers; one who created the upper and the other that constructed its iconic tooling. Heavily influenced by the nonchalant nature of an amoeba and the free-flowing movement of clouds, as expressed through its layered mesh and synthetic-leather formation, ASICS’ conceptual Gel-Preleus remains true to its sporting cause through its updated underfoot treat, it’s pre-installed GEL™ technology inserts and its advanced TRUSSTIC™ support system. A discreet looped and rounded lacing system maintains the designs late ‘90s undertone with respect to its secure-like fitting, whilst the embroidered tonal ankle support suits the brand’s ageless ‘sportstyle’ design manner.
Turning to 2001 for inspiration, the Gel-Nandi’s visibly rugged design is one that celebrates its 20th anniversary in line with its ability to meet the demands of serious off-road runners. Pro-actively redesigned with the necessities of modern-day individuals also at the forefront of its creative mannerisms, the leather-layered Gel-Nandi combines the spirit of off-road adventure with traditional function pioneered by the modernised urban explorer. 360-degree GEL™ technology ensures a secure and stabilised fit, whilst the integrated tooling system and pre-installed EVA midsole keeps the Onitsuka Tiger sporting legacy in check. A textured 3D rendering pays tribute to the challenging terrains that inspired its early ‘00s fabrication, whilst revitalised restructurings make for a resilient wear outside of the design’s trail-running remit.
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