ASICS Tiger Gel Kayano Knit
The rebirth of an icon deserves some attention: in this case, the ASICS Tiger Gel-Kayano. A beloved trainer from the ’90s gets a futuristic reboot in the material of now: knit.
February 23, 2017
The idea of having gel and air in a sneaker is no longer big news; being the first to offer it, some 30 years ago, was a big deal. In 1986, when ASICS first introduced the alpha gel or A GEL into its shoes, it was revolutionary. The Gel Kayano, which came along in 1993, was a sensation. In 2017, the iconic Gel Kayano is back in the material of now, the knit.
Before we get into it, it’s probably worth noting what the fuss is all about. Onitsuka Tiger was founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, who began making basketball shoes in his hometown of Kobe, Japan. In 1977, the company merged with two other sportswear companies (GTO and JELENK) to form ASICS Corporation. ASICS is an acronym for anima sana in corpore sano, Latin for "a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
The reputation of the sneaker brand is even bigger when its link to another sneaker giant, Nike, is factored in. Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, went to Japan in 1962 and discovered the Tiger sneakers. Impressed by their quality and low cost, he made a cold call on Mr. Onitsuka and acquired the rights to distribute the sneakers on the west coast of the USA. With Mark Bowerman, Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports in 1971 (a company later renamed Nike after the Greek goddess of movement) to distribute the Onitsuka sneakers. The sneakers were sold from the trunk of a Plymouth Valiant at track meets all along the Pacific west coast. When Nike started producing its own sneakers, engineers from Onitsuka made the earliest Nike shoes at the Asahi Corporation in Fukuoka, Japan.
The rebirth of an icon, today’s Gel Kayano represents the marriage of sneaker heritage with the latest technology. There is legacy that reverberates through the sole of ASICS shoes that are now fused with a knit body featuring a new silhouette and minimal aesthetic that defines modern sneaker aesthetics. The stretch knit upper of the trainer molds to your feet and makes for a light shoe that has a sock-like fit. It is the perfect fusion of a past model with present technology. Likewise, the monotone colorways are minimal and modern yet feature a touch of retro. The shoes are perfectly retro-future: the rebirth of an icon indeed.
The Gel Kayano is now available in Bangkok. We can’t wait to try our ASICS Tiger on. Roar.