Birth of the Stripes

So like told you in my post last friday; I visited Berlin for a press trip with ASICS/Onitsuka Tiger. Asics is one of my favorite brands. Both their general releases and collabs are so on point and the quality and fit are just perfect. The Gel lyte III is so comfy! 

But did you know where the stripes on the Onitsuka Tigers and ASICS come from? To be honest; I didn’t know either. We celebrated 50 years of tiger stripes in Berlin last week (see recap here) with a Party and the re-release of the classic Mexico. Read the story below to find out the history behind the tiger stripes. And I added some of my favorite stripes!

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 For the first time ever, the story behind the Onitsuka Tiger Stripes is being told, giving a rich insight to the Japanese brand’s history. The 50th anniversary of the iconic Stripes provides the perfect framework to tell the whole story – and to introduce one of the very first shoes to sport the inimitable Onitsuka Tiger Stripes; the MEXICO DELEGATION.

In 1964 Onitsuka Tiger realised that it needed a unique distinctive sign to give its products great recognition value. The company launched an in-house design competition, encouraging all of their employees to submit their own suggestions. In line with the brand’s clear philosophy – form follows function – there was only one rule; the resulting design should not only look one-of-a-kind, but also improve the shoe’s performance significantly.

More than 200 Onitsuka Tiger employees submitted a wealth of ideas and visions. The sheer spectrum and breadth of entries encouraged a scientific approach; step by step, the developers narrowed down their selection, until only five models were left in the final round. These entered the prototyping stage and this is where the real research began. Together with athletes and experts from Kyoto University, the brand’s designers tested the submissions for one particular feature; which design offered the best, tangible performance boost? The answer turned out to be the Onitsuka Tiger Stripes. Their encompassing concept, integrating the design’s vertical stripes into the lacing, brought more stability to the surface material and significantly improved the shoe’s fit and durability – factors that turned out to have a direct impact on athletic performance. This approach not only convinced the Onitsuka Tiger developers, but also the participating university researchers and athletes; the Onitsuka Tiger Stripes were born as a perfect combination of iconic design and groundbreaking performance ability.

Sanne Poeze
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