Back in 1949, Kihachiro Onitsuka created Onitsuka Co., Ltd.
Onitsuka manufactured basketball shoes in Kobe, Hyoga prefecture and would created various Olympics style shoes from the 50’s through ’70s.
But it’s his Mexico 66 design (first introduced during the pre-olympic trials for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico) with the crossed stripes that would be associated with the Onitsuka brand and in 1977, when Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO and JELENK to form the ASICS Corporation (ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” (healthy soul in a healthy body), to this very day, these vintage shoes produced and sold internationally by ASICS are known as Onitsuka Tiger.
Onitsuka Tiger – Mexico 66
What many people may not be aware of is that Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, took a trip to Japan and made a stop in Kobe back in 1962, where discovered Onitsuka Tiger running shoes.
He was impressed by the quality of the shoes and how it was sold at a low cost and he would meet with Kihachiro Onitsuka and secured Tiger distribution rights for the United States.
Knight would send shoe samples to Coach Bill Bowerman who was impressed by the shoes and they would go on to create Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) in 1964, which would later be known as Nike.
ASICS Onitsuka Tiger California 78 Vintage
ASICS Onitsuka Tiger Vickka Moscow
ASICS Onitsuka Tiger OC Runner
While one may be able to find ASICS shoes at various stores, Onitsuka Tiger shoes are not as widely available. And so many people tend to look for these shoes online. While some may find them at specialized sports shoe stores. But because of that, they are often priced higher than regular ASICS shoes but still under the price of quality ASICS running shoes.
It’s important to note that unlike other ASICS shoes, I would recommend these shoes for dress and not for athletics as they have slim soles. Of course, there are some Onitsuka Tiger shoes with slightly thicker soles but the majority are quite thin.
But I personally love the look of ASICS Onitsuka Tiger shoes. They are stylish, cool and there are a good variety released each year.
But similar to my Converse Chuck Taylor, while they look cool, they are average when it comes to comfort and I personally wouldn’t wear these when I’m traveling and have to walk many miles.
If you love ASICS shoes and want one for long travels and for better comfort, then look towards running shoes like the ASICS GEL-Kayano or ASICS GEL-Nimbus.
But for style alone, I do recommend ASICS Onitsuka Tiger shoes.