ASICS: creating quality lifestyle through intelligent sports technology

Author:Koji Saito
Position:General Manager, Intellectual Property Department, ASICS Corporation, Kobe, Japan
SUMMARY

The well-known Japanese sports brand, ASICS, began operations in 1977, but its roots date from 1949, when a former military officer, Kihachiro Onitsuka, established Onitsuka Co. in Kobe, Japan. Mr. Onitsuka had a great passion for sports and health and, in the 1950s, he set out to provide the youth of Japan with appropriate shoes to encourage participation in sports. In the late 1970s, the... (see full summary)

 
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A commitment to human-centric design

Since its inception, ASICS has developed a number of innovations and inventions. Many of these inventions have contributed to record-breaking performances at sports events across the globe. Since the 1960s, the company’s focus has been on developing high-performance running shoes, among other types of footwear. Over the years, the company has developed a variety of unique running shoe models to accommodate different conditions and ensure athletes have a comfortable running experience. Each generation of shoe reflects the strong commitment of the company’s founder, Mr. Onitsuka, to marrying technology and design with comfort and performance. An early example of this is the “Magic Runner” marathon line launched in 1960. The “Magic Runner’s” air ventilation system helped prevent long-distance marathon runners from developing blisters. ASICS has patented many of its inventions in Japan and elsewhere.

In 1985, ASICS established the ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan. The Institute is the company’s research and development (R&D) center and is responsible for developing a range of technologies in line with the company’s commitment to human-centric science and cutting-edge sports innovation. Through analyses of natural movements and actions, the Institute develops unique materials and structures to meet the needs of athletes. In recent years, ASICS has expanded the scope of the Institute’s work and thereby strengthened its R&D capacity.

Today, ASICS continues to develop technologies to improve the quality and performance of sports shoes. For example, a core R&D focus is the development of the soles of sports shoes. R&D efforts also emphasize innovative solutions for fit, cushioning, stability, flexibility, grip, ventilation and durability. The company owns a sizeable portfolio of intellectual property (IP) rights both to protect its investment in these technologies and to fund future R&D activities.

Intelligent sports technology supports athletic performance

ASICS is perhaps best known for its highly cushioned GEL™ brand technology and shoes launched in 1986. The technology and shoe range continue to progress. The latest advances in GEL™ technology are embedded in the GEL-QUANTUM INFINITY™ model, which features a full-length GEL™ technology-infused midsole offering athletes greater comfort and a visually impressive pair of sneakers.

ASICS has also developed a light and stable foam technology branded...

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