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ASICS 2017 Highlight Reel

Date: December 15 2017

By: Matt Williams

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It was an outstanding year for ASICS, and for one key reason: their phenomenal dedication to brand history. Trips to the ASICS archive ignited a retro renaissance and a slew of unexpected encore appearances. The GEL-DS Trainer OG, GEL-MaiGEL-Diablo and OG GEL-Lyte all made surprise returns over the past 12 months and were each treated to new colourways, faithful OG recreations and colab honours (Ronnie Fieg and Ghostface Killah, anyone?) Without further ado, here's our take on ASICS’ top retro revivals of 2017!

Asics Gel Ds Trainer Og Sneaker Freaker

GEL-DS Trainer OG Retro 'White/Black/Teal'

Wood Wood X Asics Gel Ds Trainer Og Sneaker Freaker 1

Wood Wood x ASICS GEL-DS Trainer OG 'Mid Grey/Silver'

Size X Asics Gel Ds Trainer 24 Hours In La Pack Sneaker Freaker

size? x ASICS GEL-DS Trainer OG 'Santa Monica'

Wood Wood X Asics Gel Ds Trainer Og Beige Sneaker Freaker

Wood Wood x ASICS GEL-DS Trainer OG 'Moonrock/Feather Grey'

Size X Asics Gel Ds Trainer 24 Hours In La Pack Sneaker Freaker2

GEL-DS Trainer OG

Making their intentions clear from the get-go, ASICS kicked off 2017 with the return of the GEL-DS Trainer OG. The model hit shelves in early January in its original colours together with a darker make-up that perfectly embraced the model's 1995 origins. The DS-Trainer OG debuted in the mid-90s as a lightweight option for high-mileage runners and has remained a flagship runner in the ASICS lineup through its various incarnations over the past two decades, but had been sorely lacking in any retro lovin' until this year.

Throughout 2017, the model found its way on to shelves in the form of sleek GRs, but its collaborations were truly something else. May treated us to a double drop of Wood Wood-designed DS Trainers – both strong contenders for ASICS colab of the year – as well as a twin pack from the crew at size? that perfectly captured 24 hours in LA.

The GEL DS-Trainer's return was unexpected, and little did we know it was just a taste of things to come!

Asics Gel Mai Retro Sneaker Freaker

GEL-Mai OG Retro 'Blue/Black'

Slam Jam X Asics Gel Mai Angle Pack Sneaker Freaker

Slam Jam x ASICS GEL-Mai 'Angle Pack'

Bodega Asics Gel Mai Underground Sneaker Freaker

Bodega x ASICS GEL-Mai 'Underground'

Hal Asics Gel Mai Submariner Highs And Lows Sneaker Freaker

Highs And Lows x ASICS GEL-Mai 'Submariner'

Patta X Asics Gel Mai Knit Sneaker Freaker

Patta x ASICS GEL-Mai Knit

Asics Gel Mai Mita Sneakers Sneaker Freaker

mita sneakers x ASICS GEL-Mai

Slam Jam X Asics Gel Mai Angle Pack Sneaker Freaker2

GEL-Mai

The return of the GEL-Mai was one of the year's best sneaker moments. ASICS teased the revival with a trio of highly limited Ronnie Fieg colabs at the end of 2016, but it would take until 2017 for the model to make its full-fledged return to the scene – and we couldn’t have asked for a stronger comeback. Slam Jam would pick up the reins in February with the ‘Angle Pack,’ pushing the colour spectrum to the extreme in the process.

Two classic colourways from the archives followed in April with the OG 'Blue/Black' make-up in particular becoming one of the most worn models at Sneaker Freaker HQ this year. ASICS went on to dish out GEL-Mai colabs in both quantity and quality, uniting with the likes of mita sneakers, Highs And Lows, and Bodega.

But it wasn’t just colabs that took the Mai from strength to strength. Each GR release was stellar in its own right, breathing simplicity into the balls-out silhouette.

The brand continued to tweak the GEL-Mai through the year, delivering both Gore-Tex and knit incarnations that only further improved the beloved model in durability and comfort respectively. Patta took a particular shining to the GEL-Mai Knit, releasing their own version in October.

Fingers crossed the Mai appreciation continues in 2018!

Ronnie Fieg X Asics Gel Diablo Sneaker Freaker 1

Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Diablo 'Volcano 2.0'

Asics Gel Diablo Og White Blue Sneaker Freaker

GEL-Diablo OG Retro

Asics Gel Diablo Red Patch Pack Black White Sneaker Freaker

GEL-Diablo 'Black/Black' from the 'Red Patch Pack'

Ronnie Fieg X Asics Gel Diablo Sneaker Freaker 3

GEL-Diablo

Ronnie Fieg teased the return of this mid-90s trainer in late March when he posted an Instagram snap of a GEL-Diablo tongue with the initials ‘RF’ on the lace-loop. The colab was revealed in all its glory days later before being released as a surprise Kithstrike in early April. Five hundred pairs went on sale and were snapped up at lightning speed. An additional 500 pairs were released a week later alongside a new Fieg-designed GEL-Lyte III, formally dubbed the 'Volcano 2.0' collection as a follow-up to 2013's 'Volcano' GEL-Lyte V. Both designs in the collection were treated to premium 'Made in Japan' construction, making for a phenomenal return debut.

In August, ASICS brought back the GEL-Diablo its original white/black/blue colourway.The GEL-Diablo's bulging appearance aligns perfectly with modern chunky-trainer trends, and releases like the recent 'Red Patch Pack' prove the model looks flawless in contemporary colour-blocking. 

Asics Gel Lyte Og Pack Sneaker Freaker 2

GEL-Lyte OG Retro 'White/Black/Orange'

Asics Gel Lyte Og Pack Sneaker Freaker

GEL-Lyte OG Womens Retro 'White/Blue/Yellow'

Asics X Patta Gel Lyte Sneaker Freaker

Patta x ASICS GEL-Lyte OG

Disney X Asics Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs Collection Sneaker Freaker Highlight Reel

Disney x ASICS GEL-Lyte OG 'Snow White'

Disney X Asics Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs Collection Sneaker Freaker Square

OG GEL-Lyte

It took until 2017, but ASICS finally honoured one of the most important silhouettes in the brand's history: the OG GEL-Lyte! The grand return commemorated the model's 30th anniversary, an occasion celebrated with retro recreations of the influential model in both the original 1987 men's and women's colourways.

The retro might be seen as superfluous by some, given the model's strong visual similarity to the GEL-Lyte III and the need for a total recreation from the ground up, but there’s no two ways about it, this was a release for the ASICS diehards delivered with a whole lot of love!

It's still early days for the newly rejuvenated silhouette, but that hasn't prevented it from colab consideration. Patta were first to take the newly restored sneaker out for a spin, and more recently it served as the canvas of choice for the ASICS' comprehensive Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs collection, created in partnership with Disney.

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