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History of Asics

Asics was founded in Kobe, Japan in 1949 after the Second World War. Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka established a company under the name of  ONITSUKA Shokai. the company was dedicated to the creation of athletic footwear. In fact, the company started out producing basketball footwear. Soon, after adding a range of sports, the company catered to a variety of Olympic disciplines during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Onitsuka became very well known for its Mexico 66 shoe design, where the brands distinctive crossed stripes were first featured.

In 1977, the company would officially change its name after a merger with two other companies: GTO and JELENK. The new company was named ASICS Corporation, an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”. Which means “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body”.  Even with the name change, there is still a vintage range of ASICS shoes that are produced and sold internationally under the Onitsuka Tiger label.

Asics and Nike

Nike was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports and the company was founded initially with the sole purpose of selling Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. Phil Knight, the founder of Nike/Blue Ribbon, visited Japan in 1963 shortly after graduating. The Onitsuka Tiger shoe impressed Mr. Knight because of their high quality but reasonable prices. He was so impressed, he immediately visited the Onitsuka Tiger head office and asked to be their sales agent in the USA. The relationship between the two companies eventually soured, and both companies would eventually sue each other.