Moving minds since 1949
The past, present and future of ASICS
After returning home from the war in 1945, Kihachiro Onitsuka started Onitsuka Co., Ltd in Kobe, Japan. He was inspired to help improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing and recognized that sport had the power to do just that.
The first shoe created by Onitsuka Co., Ltd. was a basketball shoe. Prototypes were repeatedly tested by leading basketball powerhouses and refined by Mr. Onitsuka until the first model was released in the spring of 1950.
One day, while eating octopus, Mr. Onitsuka found a piece stuck to the bottom of his bowl. Inspired by the grip of the octopus tentacles, he designed a basketball shoe with suction cup-like features – the first of its kind.
In addition to producing the DELEGATION shoes, Mr. Onitsuka also created Olympic-style basketball shoes to commemorate the first Japanese men’s basketball team at the Melbourne Olympic Games. After this, mainstream basketball shoes changed from black to white.
In 1966, the MEXICO Line was introduced, featuring the modern ASICS stripes that are synonymous with our brand today. It made its first appearance on the LIMBER UP KAWAK BK training shoes, which were worn at the fifth Asian Games in Bangkok.
The ASICS stripes next appeared on the CORTEZ shoe that was launched in the USA. The shoe bridged the gap between style and function and inspired more people to wear it for both sport and fashion. We later renamed the shoe, TIGER CORSAIR.
Onitsuka Co., Ltd made waves at the Olympics once again as Lasse Virén won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters wearing ONITSUKA track and field spikes. After the race, he made a lap holding his shoes above his head.
In July 1977, ONITSUKA Co., Ltd and JELENK Co., Ltd merged to form ASICS Corporation. ASICS is an acronym inspired by the Latin phrase, “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’. And although we replaced the word ‘Mens’ with “Anima” which means “vigorous mind”, the essence of the phrase remains the same. Anima Sana in Corpore Sano – A Sound Mind In A Sound Body.
The ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS) was established in 1985, formed from the Technology Research Department and Shoe Development Center at the time. The ISS was tasked with conducting more detailed and wide-ranging research into sports from a scientific standpoint.
After years in the making, the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS) center was finally completed. Home to in-depth sports research, the ISS is where we test our innovative products with the help of athletes, designers and scientists.
Onitsuka Tiger was established as a sport-inspired fashion brand.
At 89 years of age, our founder Kihachiro Onitsuka passed away. To this day, we honor him each year on his birthday on May 29th.
The ASICS Tokyo store opened. The specialty running store was the first to house the ASICS FOOT ID, which helped customers understand their foot type and running style.
Continuing our participation in the Olympics, ASICS became the only Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Gold Partner in the sporting goods category.
Boston-based company, FitnessKeeper was acquired by ASICS in 2016 and later renamed to ASICS Digital, Inc. This subsidiary runs the ASICS Runkeeper app, a tracking platform for runners.
ASICS entered the global tennis stage as we signed tennis champion, Novak Djokovic.
To honor the positive personality and entrepreneurial spirit of founder Kihachiro Onitsuka, we released a line of “100th birthday commemorative models” on May 29th, his birthday. The product line was designed with a sunflower motif that was painted by Mr. Onitsuka.
Our new Europe HQ office was opened in March 2019, designed, built and furnished in line with the ASICS brand identity and Sound Mind, Sound Body philosophy. The space is filled with beautiful natural light and indoor plants, a gym, coffee bar and restaurant to keep employees focused and inspired.
As the ASICS Innovation Summit, we launched our first carbon plate shoe, the ASICS METARACER™ allowing runners a stabilized landing every time. This shoe was replaced by the new and improved ASICS METASPEED™ range designed to give elite runners with different running styles the boost and support they need.
ASICS also launched the innovative METASPRINT™ model, a spikeless track shoe with a honeycomb sole. Designed for elite and competitive sprinters, the shoe went on to win a JEC World Composites Innovation Award.
ASICS produced the Tokyo 2020 sportswear of both the Japanese Olympic and Paralympic teams. The official sportswear was made of recycled clothes donated by people across the country.
ASICS partnered with world leading experts to develop the Mind Uplifter™, a tool that visually showcases the impact of movement on the mind. Each Mind Uplift now contributes to the #UpliftingMinds global study to help uncover valuable insights into the relationship between movement and the mind.
ASICS Movement for Mind, an audio program that is scientifically proven to improve mental wellbeing, was launched in the same year. The development of the program started in 2019 and was originally planned to launch in 2020. But because of the global pandemic, Covid-19, ASICS Movement for Mind was reimagined and launched in October 2021.
The ASICS Global State of Mind Study indicated that movement could have a positive impact on the mind – across the world. The study also outlined the activity levels and states of minds per country, city, gender and generation.
ASICS embarked on a project to understand what happens to our minds when we don’t exercise. Thousands of people signed up for the Mind Race – a live and global experiment run by Dr. Brendon Stubbs. The results indicated how essential exercise is to maintain positive mental wellbeing and how only 15.09 minutes of movement may be all that it takes to uplift our minds.
In a ground-breaking global study, ASICS indicated that exercise has the power to sharpen even the brightest minds and improve mental performance. We invited competitive Mind Gamers who rely on their cognitive function to start an exercise program. After four months of regular exercise, these gamers saw their cognitive function, wellbeing and gaming performance dramatically improve. Mind Games – The Experiment is now available to stream on Prime Video.