ASICS is a Japanese athletic equipment company, producing footwear and sports equipment for a wide array of sports, incepted as Onitsuka Co. Ltd. in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka. It was originally aimed at producing basketball shoes in his hometown of Kobe, Japan. The company’s trademark branding of crossed stripes first made its debut in the Mexico 66 design and has since become ubiquitous.
In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO Sports Nets & Sportswear and JELENK, giving birth to the ASICS Corporation. The acronym ASICS, or ‘Anima Sana In Corpore Sana’, meaning ‘A Sound Mind In A Sound Body’, stems from the philosophy of Kihachiro Onitsuka, who believed that sport promoted a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Onitsuka’s innovative approach to sporting footwear filtered through to ASICS’ values, which came to be at the forefront of designing footwear exclusively for women. Now attracting both male and female world-class athletes alike, ASICS started sponsoring competitors in major sporting events. This public endorsement of the sporting excellence of its shoes spurred the brand to further improve its shoe technology. In the 1980s, ASICS branched out from Kobe, Japan, opening a state-of-the-art research and development laboratory with the sole purpose of meeting the needs of the modern athlete. The brand continued to innovate and develop well into the 21st century, and today ASICS’ range of performance sportswear is as popular with leading athletes as it with recreational enthusiasts. The brand has historic ties to Nike, whose founder Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports (before it was Nike Inc.) to sell ASICS shoes. The first Nike shoes were made when Knight hired some of ASICS’ engineers, and so original models were developed and made in Japan.