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Asics Are Everywhere, But Why Now? We Found Out

Two prominent designers who've worked with the brand weigh in on why Asics are back in style.

jjjjound asics

"Does the rest of America know that the prevailing cool shoe right now is what, to the naked eye, appears to be a normally ugly pair of Asics but actually go for ~$300 on the secondary market?" Grid reporter Matthew Zeitlin tweeted in 2022, right after JJJJound designer Justin Saunders's special-edition Asics dropped. "You might even see them in certain parts of lower Manhattan."

Lower Manhattan, he implies, is where the cool people are, and if Asics are pervasive there, it was only a matter of time until they hit the mainstream. Fast forward six months, and they surely have. Asics are everywhere — even the gel-y, Y2K-era-looking pairs.

Why Asics Are Suddenly Super Popular

The brand's resurgence began more than two years ago, when it tapped Awake NY designer Angelo Baque to lead The Asics Collective — which they likened to a creative residency, not a permanent post. He invested in the brand's collaborations, which was a way, he argued, to make Asics more in demand. And to the surprise of many, most of which once saw the shoes as an eye sore, it worked.

Just ask Bodega designer Andrew White, who worked on the streetwear shop's signature GEL-MC PLUS, an all-new silhouette Asics introduced specifically for this collab.

"Asics are wild comfortable. The GEL-cushioning is no joke, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that’s the secret behind their success," he says. "Asics makes top notch performance running footwear period — and this will continue to happen wherever they happen to sit in the trend cycle [or not]. My friend Jordan Page, the founder of Colour Plus, said it best when talking about products that catch fire as trends move through: Brands and products that are inherently pragmatic will always remain relevant."

This is why, while it's gotten white hot as of late, the brand was already popular with dads and podiatrists, who often value function over form at all costs. But for younger shoppers, Asics scratch a different itch.

"When I started thinking about potential ASICS shoes to design [for JJJJound], I was drawn to the GEL-KAYANO 14 — it’s a classic and timeless silhouette,” Saunders says. "The heel design on the sole, the big mesh and the silver panels, the whole sneaker reminds me of those late night walks in the 2000s era, right as the internet was brewing to blow up for our generation."

Why You Should Buy a Pair of Asics

They recall a simpler time, when shoes were less of a status symbol. Plus, society now is particularly fond of this era's aesthetics, which is why Von Dutch hats, JNCO jeans and gas station sunglasses are all the rage right now.

"Asics has always had its niche and relevance, especially in performance running," White explains. "Older heads talk about the GL-III in certain cities; you can find old images of storied New York hustlers like Rich Porter rocking Asics. In our current market and landscape, I would say it was really through collaborations in the early 2000s and into the 2010s, with Patta, David Z, Ronnie Fieg, ALIFE, etc. [that have made Asics popular now]."

Collaborations have clearly always been key, and when if they sell out, people inevitably go looking for general release replacements. There are loads of good ones, too, and they're often on sale. Maybe I really am coming around on Asics?

In-Demand Designer Collabs

General Release Gems

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