Asics is a company that designs and manufactures sports equipment. The company is based in Japan and was founded by Kihachiro Onitsuka in September 1949. Originally called Onitsuka Tiger, Onitsuka began to produce sports shoes at home in Kobe, Japan. The company grew quickly and in July 1953 it merged with a sales subsidiary called Tokyo Onitsuka Co. Ltd and was renamed Onitsuka Co. Ltd.
Onitsuka Co. Ltd. was bought by the Chup Sangyo Company in June 1963 and the company assumed the name Onitsuka. The company became famous for its vast range of shoes for sports, ranging from football and running, to martial arts and wrestling, and to tennis and cheerleading.
In 1977 Asics merged with GTO, a company which produced fishing and sporting goods, and JELENK, an athletic uniform manufacturer. The company became Asics Corporation. The word Asics is an acronym of a Latin phrase, “anima sana in corpore sano”, meaning “a healthy soul in a healthy body”. The company expanded into Europe in 1975 and the USA in 1981 and finally reached Australia in 1986. Today the company is one of the biggest sports brands in the world, producing sports shoes and other sporting equipment. Asics still produces a range of vintage sports shoes, which is called Onitsuka Tiger and sold worldwide.
Asics uses a variety of different technologies to ensure that they create the best shoes they can. Many of these technologies were created especially by the company themselves and features, such as the ‘lace pocket’ for Nordic walking shoes, are the result of the company’s extensive experience in specific sports-related areas.
Biomorphic fit system
The biomorphic fit system uses advanced stretch materials which enable the upper to move the foot. This means less friction. Asymmetrical lacing is part of this system and allows the upper to follow the foot’s anatomical profile, providing the perfect fit.
Asics’ shoes feature an asymmetric heel which makes walking or running much smoother because the heel reduces overpronation (this is when the feet roll inwards too much). This makes the transition from impact to take-off much easier.
The shoes also provide something that Asics call ‘personal heel fit’. The material around the heel is dense foam. The foam moulds itself around the foot, cushioning the heel and reducing slippage. This again increases comfort.
Asics’ soles have various features to ensure they provide maximum flexibility, cushioning, and comfort.
There are ‘Flex Grooves’ in the forefoot and rear foot to give more flexibility and cushioning. The ‘Magic Sole’ is a mid-sole component, the ventilation holes of which allow the foot to breathe. To improve side-to-side stability, Asics have designed the ‘Wing Construction’. This helps to maintain the foot’s position within the shoe. The ‘DuoSole’ is Asics’ outsole solution, which is lightweight and flexible with outstanding grip.
This is just one example of Asics’ forward thinking and expertise in the individual areas of their industry. The lace pocket has been specially designed for Nordic walking shoes. The pocket prevents laces from getting tangled in walking sticks and from getting wet.
Over the last three years Asics have suffered disappointing reviews and customers appear to be disappointed as well. However, the 2008 range sees a welcome return to Asics’ high standard.
Asics’ 2008 range of running shoes has two points worth mentioning: first of all the Beijing line, which celebrates the 2008 Olympics in China, and secondly the Nimbus line of running shoes.
The Nimbus line turns ten this year, making it one of Asics’ longest running lines. It has won a variety of awards and Asics’ new technologies ensure that it is still a top-end shoe. Asics’ other signature shoe, Evolution, also makes an appearance this season. Asics’ technologies ensure maximum support and create a light and flexible shoe.
Hyper marks a return of Asics’ lightweight running shoe, suitable for all distances, from sprinting to cross-country running. Hyper is available in various designs, including one specifically for women as well.
The famous 2130 series has again been updated and is now firmer to provide even greater arch support. The series also features gel for cushioning. The junior version for children is a new addition to the range.
Trailattack was the new face of the last Asics’ season and this season’s updated shoes in the Trail range use new Asics’ technologies such as wet-grip rubber. The Trailattack is one of the lightest trail shoes on the market at the moment.
Fortitude has also been updated this season. It now comes as wide as standard and its versatility makes it perfect for long distances and high mileage.
The 2008 season also includes old favourites such as Stratus and Speedstar as well as Blackhawk and Virage at entry level.
Asics’ Dominator line is new this season and offers a brand new style of walking shoe. Dominator shoes are Teflon-coated to ensure that they are totally watertight.
The Nordic Gore range is specifically designed for Nordic walkers. The shoes in this range are completely waterproof, thanks to a Gore Tex XCR membrane and incorporate a number of other technologies from Asics.
The Gel-Track could be described as an entry level shoe but it still features Asics’ range of shoe technologies to provide great support and comfort.
The Gel-Treadmill series is the first of its kind. Specially developed for the treadmill, it offers both cushioning and support for gym workouts.
Gel-Aeroshape is the first shoe from Asics to be specifically designed for aerobics. New to the market as part of the 2008 season, the shoe is not only lightweight but also offers substantial cushioning.
Asics’ Lethal series of football boots again feature in 2008’s range. These boots are lightweight and feature heel wedges to protect players from strains. The range includes boots that are suitable for pre-season or hard ground training too.
The classic, Italian-designed Testimonial boots are once again part of this year’s range as well.
The Asics’ range also features sports shoes especially designed for hockey, netball, cricket, tennis, squash, badminton and rugby