Our four ASICS rugby players, Springboks Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit and Elton Jantjies, recently received custom-detailed boots to celebrate the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa.
A British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa is a hugely significant event for both players and supporters, as it takes place only every 12 years or so. The 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series will be the 14th Lions Tour to South Africa in the 130 years since the first one took place in 1891.
The boots were hand painted by Cape Town-based customisation-art specialist, Zubair Mahomed. “I always try to keep my designs minimalistic, clean and understated,” said Mahomed, whose work orbits around the fashion and lifestyle industry. “I don’t want to draw too much attention away from the boot but rather enhance it.”
Mahomed started by detailing the ASICS stripes in colourful dots. “I used the six colours on the flag: Black, yellow, white, green, blue and red. With that I wanted to basically showcase the complex mix of ethnicities and cultures and bring those together to represent the rainbow characteristics of the country,” he explained.
The forwards – Eben Etzebeth and Thomas du Toit – received the ASICS LETHAL WARNO ST2 which features a six-stud configuration at the forefoot; is outfitted with a very lightweight upper material, and has a 10mm heel raise to minimise stress on the lower limb.
Following the dots, Mahomed painted a South African flag on the tongue, added a Springbok logo as well as the players’ initials and birthdates. “That last personal touch was very important to me,” he said of the initials which were done in green and gold to go with the limited edition British & Irish Lions Tour Springbok jersey (which features a vintage colour way and special commemorative 3D logo, among other things).
“When I used to get boots as a youngster I always wanted my name or initials on them, but I didn’t have the chance to do that, I feel like it makes it more sentimental to the players putting them on,” he said.
"It's a massive honour to be part of the Springbok squad in the British & Irish Lions test series. It's an even bigger honour to be part of brand like ASICS that celebrates this achievement with me," said Thomas du Toit.
The backs – Damian de Allende and Elton Jantjies – received the ASICS LETHAL TIGREOR IT FF 2. This boot offers lightweight comfort constructed with kangaroo leather that wraps the foot for a soft and flexible feel. It also features a moulded sockliner which delivers increased comfort.
"A Lions Test series is a massive motivation. It only comes once or maybe twice in a career. It’s something as a schoolboy you dream of," Elton Jantjies said.
The 2021 Tour is the 14th time the British & Irish Lions have visited South Africa and ASICS wanted to celebrate this rich history by not only putting a very classic spin on the most modern jersey but also to honour our ASICS rugby athletes with keepsake commemorative boots.
Aside from the tour jersey, there are also other supporters items in the range, such as the ASICS long-sleeved traditional Springbok jersey worn here by Beast Mtawarira who played in the previous British & Irish Lions tour.
Learn more about the jersey, and the tour, here.