Onitsuka Tigers have a long and storied history, capitalising on various jogging booms of the twentieth century. With many titles under their name including ASICS and a rather large connection to the creation of Nike, Onitsuka Tiger have had an impressive impact upon the state of athletics and fashion. They take pride of place in our own Spring/Summer range and it’s clear to see why. Nowadays, Onitsuka Tiger carries what is considered retro, staying true to their old designs with tweaks that let it perform like the best in casual jogging trainers.
Onitsuka Tiger was actually founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, a military officer who wanted to raise the self esteem of post war youth through athletics. His first product was a basketball shoe that heavily resembled straw sandals. This clearly didn’t take off the way he would have hoped and he went back to the drawing board to have a second try. He looked at the way Basketball players moved and what they required of their footwear. The next generation of the shoes had a modified sole that could react better and bend to the ground. It was released in 1952 and became a major hit in Japanese athletics. By 1955, the brand could be found in 500 sport shops across Japan. The quality of the new shoes even saw sporting celebrities like marathon runner Toru Terasawa abandon is barefoot style, convinced that the new footwear would increase his abilities. During the 60s, he was winning marathons all over Japan. Onitsuka Tigers were even seen in the Olympics from 1951 onwards.
Nike was originally known as BRS and were founded to sell Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. Their co-founder Phil Knight visited Japan in 1963 just before graduating from Stanford University. He visited their factories and was impressed by the quality on offer at such low prices. He was so impressed, he hired many Onitsuka Engineers and made much of the early Nike trainers in Japan because of it.
In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO and JELENK to form the ASICS corporation. The name refers to the latin phrase “Healthy mind and healthy body,” describing their dedication to athletics and good fitness. Even with the new brand, Onitsuka Tiger still sell the vintage design ASICS, pushing that retro design that catches the eyes. The bright colours coincide perfectly with the new fashion movements towards the bright and exciting. ASICS coopted the ASICS stripe that was first shown in on the Mexico 66, in 1966. The style is still one of the most popular and new twists on the old design are still being sold today.
Onitsuka Tiger are a worldwide company that have gone from strength to strength, making a greater impact on the athletics and fashion industry that most people ever think. It’s a pleasure to sell some of the retro fashion ourselves as we get in on the colourful fashion that will make the near future so exciting.