The future of Asics & Asics Tiger in Canada

When you ask Canadian non-sneakerheads about Asics, they most often think about performance footwear. The shoes ‘real runners’ wear. When you ask Canadian sneakerheads about Asics, they will probably tell you about their favourite collab from Atmos or Patta or Ronnie Fieg. I think of events/sneakers like the Concepts 8-ball. A whole branded experience that incorporated the shoe concept, the packaging and the retail setting to tell a (crazy) story and that ended with a very cool, wearable sneaker (that I wish I owned). But I don’t see a lot of Asics on Canadian sneaker blogs or Instagrams. I am a fan, and I only have 5 pairs (“only” LOL).

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Panel discussion on the state of sneaker culture

A few weeks ago I was invited to an Asics Canada event showcasing sneaker culture, Asics Tiger heritage and the future of the brand (the Majid Jordan partnership). I posted some pics from it and ended up getting lots of questions from people about what this meant for the future of Asics/Asics Tiger in Canada. So I asked for an interview with Asics Canada to find out if we have any reason to get excited. I spoke with Sarah Bishop, VP of Marketing at Asics Canada and Christina Peck, Brand Manager at Asics Canada on the day after the Asics global brand campaign I Move Me with Steve Aoki.

They confirmed everything I hope for and I think everything everyone who is a fan of sneakers is hoping for – we can expect more from Asics/Asics Tiger Canada in 2017/18. More access, more collabs, more experiences, more activity in general. To me, this is amazing news to anyone who values having a diverse collection.

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BAIT x Asics. Love everything about this colourway. It shouldn’t work but it does.

 

I know that the reason that most people are reading this post is because they want to know if its going to get any easier to buy the Asics Tiger/Onitsuka Tiger collabs they love without paying shipping and duties from Europe or Asia. That is definitely something I wanted to know! Good news, we can expect better and easier local access to these sneakers soon. This means both at a retail level (via places like Livestock and Exclucity) but also through a new focus on e-commerce for Asics Tiger sneakers. No more middle of the night ordering from Japan and hoping you clicked on all the right buttons that Google Translate didn’t translate!

I also asked about the integration and importance of technology to Asics/Asics Tiger sneakers. I am always curious about how sneaker companies emphasize technology and how it fits with the explosion of interest in retro silhouettes. You know how most retro sneakers are kind of uncomfortable, certainly not as comfortable as modern tech like zoom foam and boost? My Asics sneakers like the Gel-Lytes are honestly among the most comfortable sneakers I wear – the tech really holds up. Asics has always been a company driven by technology first. Comfort and versatility underpin everything they have done and continues to be their focus. That’s why my Gel-Lytes are so comfortable. What we haven’t necessarily seen is an emphasis on lifestyle/fashion cues in the performance wear.

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More Gel-Lytes! So comfortable… but my next Asics are going to be a Kayano so I can try something different

Today (and going forward) we are going to see a more of movement in that direction. The performance apparel and sneakers from Asics is now being designed with an eye for lifestyl. It’s not so much a move towards an emphasis on athleisure or lifestyle as lines offered alongside their performance offerings but a closer integration of the two. They are completely woven together, reflecting the way consumers are actually using and want to use the products.

Overall it was just a great conversation with Asics Canada. They are thrilled to be more present in our market, excited about connecting more with the culture and experiences important to us as consumers and about the plans they have for 2018. This is a very good time to be a Canadian Asics fan.

Thanks to Asics Canada for the sneakers and the conversation.

 

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