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Impress the Sneakerheads

Everything you need to know about ASICS Tiger.

Paid Partner Content – this content was paid for by ASICS and was created in collaboration with VICE creative services, independently from the VICE editorial staff

The only way to really get down with knowledgeable sneakerheads is to get to know your sneaker history. You may think you know it all about Nike, Reebok and Adidas (including Kanye). But that's not enough if you want to upgrade your "it" factor. Turns out ASICS Tiger is a vital contender, too. That's why we've gathered everything you need to know about the Japanese shoe manufacturer. What better way to impress your friends than to share your vast knowledge of kicks?


Kobe, Japan, Is More than Just Meat

You probably recognise the black and yellow Onitsuka Tigers and their iconic stripes worn by Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. But the stripes have also become synonymous with the world's absolute elite athletes. It all began in Kihachiro Onitsuka's living room in the city of Kobe, Japan (yes, the place famous for its expensive beef) where the first ASICS shoe was born in 1949. Later Onitsuka created the brand Onitsuka Tiger, focusing on the health of young people through sports.

A Technological Marvel in 1986

The Onitsuka Tiger brand was a precursor for the ASICS universe, which was really put on the map 30 years ago, in 1986. This is when ASICS introduced their famous alpha GEL in their sports shoes – an advanced technology that made ASICS shoes a must-have for athletes.

In recent years, however, ASICS has developed into a strong contender in the game of fashion sneakers with their ASICS Tiger brand. Now, you can spot them more frequently among the absolute top of the fashion world. The brand merges its Japanese heritage with functionality and a different take on the global sneaker trend.

A Brand On the Move

Emily Petersen works as a design assistant at the female sneaker shop Naked in Copenhagen. Emily used to work as a manager of the sneaker shop HYPE DC in Melbourne, Australia, and she used to write segments for Sneaker Freaker Magazine. She's quite the sneaker expert, obviously. We got her to answer a few questions to teach us even more about the development of the ASICS Tiger brand.

We've learned about the history of ASICS, but what's the differences between the brands in the ASICS family?
Emily Petersen: ASICS Tiger represents current models and, more often than not, the shoes with new technologies made for athletes, brought into an everyday context. In one sense, Onitsuka is the original brand. They have a tendency to stick to a style reminiscent of the running shoes produced in the 1960s, but with more stylish colours and exciting materials.


In what ways have the ASICS brand developed in the last 30 years?
ASICS has a large and loyal fanbase when it comes to sports shoes. It hasn't always been considered a "cool" brand. But their collaborations with other brands has definitely attracted young sneaker enthusiasts. Coupled with some interesting and well-promoted releases they have managed to create a hype in the sneaker community. Sneakers and fashion have always gone hand in hand, but lately, ASICS Tiger has been very good at creating designs that are comfortable to wear while still being fashionable.

Speaking of comfort – what's the GEL about?
GEL is the material they use in the majority of the ASICS sneakers. The technology creates a comfortable sole that absorbs bumps. It's the technique that makes ASICS Tiger so successful when it comes to creating high-tech sports shoes. It's the same technique that makes their sneakers super comfortable to walk around in every day.

Have you noticed increased sales of ASICS Tiger's sneakers in the Naked shops?
There's no doubt that ASICS has become a popular brand. ASICS has always been famous for sports shoes, especially for men. When ASICS Tiger in cooperation with Naked released the shoe Naked x GEL Lyte V "Hafnia" last year, I definitely think we converted some sneaker fanatics who'd never considered ASICS a fashion sneaker brand.

So what makes ASICS Tiger a cool brand you need to know when you talk to sneakerheads?
ASICS Tiger is Japanese functionality merging with European minimalism. The brand is modern, street and comfortable – what more could you wish for?

30-Year Anniversary Celebrated with New Releases

There – now you know more about ASICS Tiger. The next step is to dress the part so you're ready to face your sneaker obsessed friends. Don't worry, it's easy: In honour of ASICS Tiger's 30-year anniversary, three special edition shoes were released on the 5th of November: GEL Lyte III, GEL Lyte V and GT Cool Express. The three models have been released in colour combinations inspired by the development of landscapes, so you are guaranteed a fly look that reflects your newly found sneaker knowledge perfectly. The three new releases are in black leather and a black mesh net, along with blue nuances and patterns. The GEL sole provides you with a shock-absorbing shoe that works every day – making your look fashionably cool in the club. You're welcome. Want to see ASICS Tiger's new shoes IRL? On the 24th of November, VICE will be celebrating the launch of their Music Issue together with ASICS. Check out the event on Facebook for more details.