When someone hears the brand name ASICS, and image of quality, performance, style, and reliable comes to mind, and with good reason. Since 1949, ASICS shoes have been one of the world’s most worn shoes for both the athlete and the casual wearer alike. Although they are ubiquitous with many professional and Olympic sports and individual athletes, their history is not so well known. Did you know the brand name is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which means, “Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body”? Here are some more facts about ASICS you might not know.
Originally named Panmure Co., Ltd., ASICS shoes were born simply as basketball shoes in the town of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Once Kihachiro Onitsuka, the founder, gained success, he widened his scope to include a variety of sports. These shoes, especially the Mexico 66 design, soon became wildly popular with athletes during the 50s and all the way through to the 70s. After Onitsuka merged with GTO and JELENK in 1977, the company officially changed its name to ASICS.
An interesting fact about ASICS is Nike, originally known as BRS, was initially founded to be the American seller of Onitsuka Tiger (a type of ASICS shoe) shoes. Phil Knight, founder of BRS, traveled to Japan in 1963. Impressed with the shoes’ high quality and low price, Knight brokered a deal to distribute the shoes in America. Eventually, Knight had so much success selling Onitsuka Tiger shoes that he and partner Bill Bowerman were able to create their own brand, Nike.
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