If you had to name the biggest sports manufacturing brand in the world who would you name? Maybe Nike? Maybe Adidas?
While those two companies are the most valued sporting goods companies in the US. No one can even come close to the number of sporting goods that Asics Produces.
Founded by a Japanese ex-military WW2 soldier. Asics began their journey by producing simple basketball shoes. And by simple I mean REALLY simple, we are talking shoes that include straw material.
But despite this, they quickly managed to grow into the worlds no. 1 producer of sporting goods. Selling pretty much any type of equipment for any kind of sports. Whether it being wrestling, running, basketball, MMA, baseball, Cricket etc.
I was really surprised to learn just how many sports Asics actually got covered. Because up until now I only thought they produced running shoes and lifestyle sneakers. And today we are going to look closer at the later.
Like any of my similar articles on what a brand can offer when it comes to shoes for men. I´ve found 4 different shoes which fulfil these 3 criteria.
1. They must be widely available for the average consumer
2. The model in question must be available in a satisfying amuóut of colours
3. The shoe must be relatively affordable.
I´ve sat these 3 requirements up because I want to make sure that my choices are available to the average consumer. And I believe that these 3 things are the most basic things a shoe has to get right, in the mind of the consumer. But Enough stalling lets get into the best of the best when it comes to Asics shoes for men.
Starting off this list we got a heavyweight classic right off the bat.
Released back in 1990 The GEL-Lyte III was Asics third attempt at creating a running shoe that could outdo any other shoe on the market both technology and performance wise.
The GEL-Lyte III has in recent years seen itself being re-released over and over again. And becoming one of Asics flagship shoes. The GEL-Lyte III is their Crown Jewel, just like Nikes Air max or Adidas´s Stan Smith.
The GEL-Lyte II comes in a Suede and Mesh upper alongside a number of special details like the Asics logo in the middle, the GEL-Lyte III and Asics name embroidered on the back, and on the side of the shoes.
The GEL-Lyte III also carries a rather unique detail, that being the split tongue. A rather strange design choice in my opinion. But of what I´ve read this decision was made to accommodate runners so that they could perform a better stepping motion when running.
The GEL-Lyte III also carries as the name states Asics GEL-Lyte technology which can be found in the midsole of the shoe. This type of Technolgy is made out of a silicone-like material to not only provide effective shock absorption while running. But also provide maximum comfort for everyday use.
Anyone who has ever worn an Asics GEL-Lyte III can confirm that the shoes have a comfort like no other. And gives that “I can certainly get used to this” feeling for the person who wears it.
When it comes to availability, The GEL-Lyte III proves to be easy to find. As I´ve already mentioned the GEL-Lyte III is one of if not the biggest shoe that Asics has, so they made sure that they are highly available to the general public.
Which in turns mean that if your retail store carries Asics shoes, they WILL have GEL-Lyte III´s available and if you can´t find a retail store then don´t worry because they are also highly available on their site as well.
The shoe also sports a bunch of different colours. I’m not sure who is responsible for the colourways, for the GEL-Lyte III. But that persons deserve a raise because the GEL-Lyte III has some of the best colour blocking I´ve ever seen on a sneaker and that includes Jordan Brand.
I’m sure that if you like the model you are bound to find it in a colour that you like as well.
And now to the most important part, the Price. Surprisingly enough when considered that this shoe is so popular the price isn´t too bad, coming in at around 100$ for a retail pair.
The GEL-Lyte III is a great example of Japanese craftsmanship done right. And as a longtime sneakerhead, I recommend that you go check out the GEL-Lyte III. It’s a great sneaker that I think is way underrated.
Just make sure to buy them in 1/2-1 size up because they tend to be snuck.
The Asics GEL-Saga
While The GEL-Lyte III was created for a more hardcore running crowd. The Gel Saga was created for the casual jogging crowds that like to enjoy their route.
The GEL-Saga takes a lot from the GEL-Lyte series. From the way it looks. Down to the technology as well. But it takes those elements and creates a more simple version of the GEL-Lyte. And that’s one of those things I like about the GEL Saga. It’s Simple and yet good looking.
The GEL-Saga comes in a suede and mesh upper. With the GEL-Saga name and the Asics name embroidered on the back and on the side. Unlike the former mentioned GEL-Lyte III. The Gel Saga actually keep its tongue intact like an ordinary sneaker. The GEL-Saga also comes with a midsole that utilizes GEL Technolgy
When it comes to availability, the GEL-Saga tends to lack behind the more popular GEL-Lyte models. I´m not saying that its impossible to find a pair of GEL-Sagas instore. But I would suggest that you go buy a pair online since you will most likely have better luck finding a pair there.
The reason for this is that Asics itself is less popular in the States as a whole. So unless you go to an official Asics store or you are lucky enough to find a store that heavily peddles Asics products. You will have a hard time finding a pair of GEL-Sagas at a shoe retailer.
While the retail options seem to lack, the colour options don´t.
Unlike other brands who mostly focus on bringing a bunch of options for a few models. Unless it’s a limited collaboration release, Asics likes to provide their customers with numerous choices for almost all their shoe models, that including the GEL-Saga.
The GEL-Saga has almost the same amount of options as the GEL-Lytes despite it being less popular. So if you are looking for GEL shoe but you think the GEL-Lytes has too much going on. Then I would suggest looking at the GEL-Saga in a similar colourway.
The price is also nice with The GEL-Saga coming in at a retail price of 95$.
The GEL-Saga is Asics take on the casual lifestyle sneaker. And it is I my opinion one of the best choices out there.
The Asics GEL-Lyte V
The newest addition to the GEL-Lyte family is the GEL-Lyte V.
Released for the first time back in 1993. The GEL-Lyte V strayed away from the performance scene and established itself as a more streetwear focused sneaker. This is seen in the more chunky look the V has when compared to the III
The GEL-Lyte V comes in a suede and mesh upper with the Asics stripes on the middle and its name embroidered on the back end. You will also find the Asics brand embroidered on the back tap of the shoe and on its tongue
The shoe also comes with the iconic GEL-Lyte Midsole, which provides the owner with GEL cushioning for great shock absorption and amazing comfort.
Despite the GEL-Lyte V being the last iteration of the GEL-Lyte model. The shoe has seen a rise in popularity which has then resulted in the shoe being rereleased just like the GEL-Lyte III.
While not as popular as its older brother. The GEL-Lyte V is still one of Asics most popular shoes and should be available in any store that carries Asics products.
Just like the above mentioned models. The GEL-Lyte V comes in a satisfying amount of colour options. So if you like the model, I believe that finding it in your favourite colour will prove to be an easy task.
The pricing of The GEL-Lyte Vs is the highest of all the shoes listed on here, coming in at 120$ for a retail pair.
It’s still relatively cheap when compared to other shoes on the market. And for a piece of fine Japanese craftsmanship, I think that it comes at a bargain.
Despite the GEL-Lyte III and V looking similar, I believe that the III is the best of the two. That’s just my personal opinion. But if you prefer the V then I can understand that as well because both models are really nice looking shoes. At really nice price point who both, are heavily underrated.
The Onitsuka Tiger Corsair
The history of Onitsuka and Asics are more or less the same because Asics started out as Onitsuka Tiger, well least in the states.
When the Onitsuka Company wanted to begin selling their shoes in the US after some great achievements in the running world with their shoe the which is also named the Onitsuka Tiger. Nike decided that they wanted to be the US sales agent for The Onitsuka brand.
In the Beginning, it was great but after some time their deal fell through and both brands sued each other.
It was a messy lawsuit and it actually ended with Nike winning some of the rights to some of the Onitsuka Shoe models, including the original Onitsuka Tiger.
Those rights are still being pretty much active today. Nike wanted to release their own Onitsuka Tiger shoe. But they couldn´t call it that for obvious reasons, so they decided to call it the Cortez instead. So if you thought the Onitsuka Tiger looked familiar, now you know why.
The Onitsuka Company would alongside two other companies later become what we know today as Asics. And that’s why you will find Asics products that carry both the Onitsuka and Tiger name. One of those products being the original Onituksa Tiger Corsair.
The Corsair is an updated version of the original Onitsuka Tiger. And was meant as a shoe for the jogging boom of the 1970´s. I’m not sure why jogging keeps getting a popular boom every few years. But it results in some cool looking shoes so I’m not complaining.
The Corsair comes in a full on suede upper with the Asics stripes sewn on the middle and the Onitsuka Tiger name on the tongue.
The Corsair is properly the newest retro shoe on here and it is therefore highly available as of me writing this.
While it may not be a flagship shoe that will be available forever. I still think that this model deserves some attention due to its interesting history and overall classic look.
The amount of colour options is also quite impressive. Asics is not going down on options just because it´s a retro. There is a good amount of option to choose from for the average consumer. And it shouldn’t be too hard to find this model in a good colourway.
The price also a great. Coming in for as low as 80$ for a retail pair.
If you remember this shoe and want to relieve some nostalgia. Or if you just love that retro look. Then I suggest you go buy a pair of Corsairs before they sell out.
And if Anyone tells you that they look like fake Cortez´s then tell them to look up the history of the Onitsuka company.
And there you have it guys 4 great options from Asics. I hope I managed to ease up your decision making. And if not, then I at least hope you had a good read.
Feel free to leave your suggestions for my next article down below and if you yourself have a pair of Asics shoes that you like then leave the name of that shoe, down below as well.