Asics may take its running shoes seriously but is also dabbles successfully in casual wear – just look at the number of pairs of Onitsuka Tiger in your local student union. That brand, which Nike used to import in its humble beginnings under the Blue Ribbon Sports company name, may have cracked the mass market, but those in the know have targeted a handful of cult classics like the Gel Lyte IIIs.
The GT II runner had a successful re-release a few years back, and after a retro of the Gel Lyte III hit the shelves two years ago connoisseurs of the brilliant and obscure stocked up, alongside the lithe athletic types who mourned the shoe's discontinuation in the early 90s.
Asics’ Gel system offers genuinely effective cushioning, and the lightweight build still holds its own against competitors. But the true star of the Lyte IIIs is the visually striking split tongue, which ups the comfort a notch and makes putting a pair on a doddle.
There’s no need to stick to this slightly crazy colour scheme either. Design agencies like Patta, Solebox and ALIFE are keeping interest bubbling over with their own takes, but beware – all are bound destined to sell out in the near future.