Ronnie FIeg x ASICS Gel-Lyte III 'East Coast Project.'
words // Luis Sanchez
Looking back on the past few years, it's hard to argue that any brand relevant in the sneaker community has placed more emphasis on collaborations than ASICS.
ASICS first broke into the world of collabs back in 2005 with a GT-II designed by Proper, and followed up with collaborations with a number of shops such as ALIFE, David Z and Patta over the Gel-Lyte III throughout 2007 and 2008. Since then, ASICS has only raised the bar with impressive collaborative releases alongside Ronnie Fieg over the past few years, who many would agree has played a huge part in the resurgence of several of ASICS' classic models.
ASICS also went on to work with other shops, including Boston's CNCPTS, Foot Patrol in London, NYC's Extra Butter, and even Barcelona's 24 Kilates. These collaborations helped them gain tons of energy behind several classic models such as the Gel-Saga, Gel Eprius, and classic Gel-Lyte V, opening the doors for more and more lifestyle-driven retro releases. The sneaker community has largely embraced the brand's quality and attention to detail, while other brands have continued to raise prices yet use questionable materials.
But have these notable collaborations helped establish ASICS as one of the top brands out there? Or will ASICS still need collaborations to stay relevant?
Working in ASICS' favor is their extensive back catalog of classic runners, including the entire Gel-Lyte line-up and appealing silhouettes such as the aforementioned Gel Saga, GT-II, GT-Cool and many more. It's those models that are now followed more than ever thanks to impressive collaborations of the past.
If ASICS could continue to impress us with great retro releases of their classic styles, using quality materials and functional colorways, then the help of continued collaborations won't really be needed.
ASICS could also stay relevant in the game with their own storytelling releases, such as the Gel Kayano's 20th anniversary celebration earlier this year. Limited to 1993 packs worldwide, the two-shoe pack helped share the story of one of ASICS' most respected original models, and also served as the perfect introduction for the new Kayano featuring the brand's latest performance running innovations.
But as with most things in the world of sneakers, it comes down to the consumer. What do you think? Do you feel ASICS still needs collaborations to continue to impress?
Assuming this is the route we'll see taken by ASICS in 2014, then expect to see their most iconic models re-released for many years beyond the next and less collaborations. Quality materials and impressive colorways will forever be tough to turn down, especially in an industry where most companies have seemed to put quality last.
24 Kilates x ASICS Gel Saga.
Patta x ASICS Gel Saga.
Ronnie Fieg x ASICS Gel-Lyte III 'Flamingo.'