The All-Time Greatest ASICS GEL-Lyte IIIs: Part 2
The GEL-Lyte III has served as the canvas for some of the best footwear collaborations of all time, so the first part of our list was naturally chock-full of certified bangers. As far as more recent drops go, SBTG and Limited Edt's 'Monsoon Patrol' from 2018 made the cut, along with icons like WOEI's 'Cervidae', Hanon's 'Wildcats', and Afew's 'Koi'. No talk of the GEL-Lyte III would be complete without Ronnie Fieg, either, so you better believe he has multiple pairs on the list.
This time around, part two includes more Fieg all-timers, as well as designs from the likes of Slam Jam, Patta, and Solebox – oh, and yours truly, too.
Check it all out below as we shine a spotlight on a bunch more GEL-Lyte III classics.
Slam Jam x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Fifth Dimension' (2010)Slam Jam x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Fifth Dimension' (2010)
What you have here is what's often considered to be the Holy Grail of GEL-Lyte III releases. The first-ever collaborative effort between ASICS and Italy's Slam Jam, the 'Fifth Dimension' rocked a sleek combination of grey meshes and suedes to go along with bright blue and red accents and a scene-stealing midsole gradient. The coveted drop – which was limited to just 276 pairs – even came with a matching bag and socks, not to mention a CD featuring the soundtrack that scored the promo video for the colab. These days pairs still command over $1,000 and are pretty hard to come by, so Slam Jam inverted the colourway for 2016's '6THPRLL' follow-up.
Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Cove' (2010)Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Cove' (2010),
Ask any Fieg fan and they'll tell you that 2010's 'Cove' drop is still up there with the very best that the Kith mastermind has ever created. Highlighted by its beautiful turquoise hue and premium build, the 'Cove' dropped as a David Z–exclusive and was limited to 225 pairs – all of which were supposedly scooped up in under 60 seconds. For those who missed out, Fieg hooked up the GEL-Lyte V with a matching look in 2014.
END. x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Wasabi' (2018)END. x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Wasabi' (2018)
'Serving up a fashion-food fusion,' END. brought a little wasabi inspiration to a flavour-packed GEL-Lyte III collaboration in 2018. Swathed in 'Green Gecko' pigskin, this nod to the Far Eastern favourite even went so far as to include hues that were inspired by sashimi and pickled ginger, in addition to Japanese character patches on the tongues. Completing the offering: bento box–style packaging, three sets of laces, a wasabi bowl, and chopsticks.
Patta x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2007)Patta x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2007)
2007's Patta x ASICS GEL-Lyte IIIs represent one of the Amsterdam streetwear stalwart's first-ever sneaker collaborations. Inspired by the city's coat of arms and corresponding flag, the kicks featured the perfect combo of leather, mesh and suede, and sported Saint Andrew's Crosses across the lining. The speckled midsole only sweetened the deal. Today, the colab remains one of Patta's most coveted, and pairs still go for thousands of dollars when they pop up for sale.
Solebox x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Blue Carpenter Bee' (2016)Solebox x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Blue Carpenter Bee' (2016)
As much as we love 2008's 'The Sun', 2016's 'Blue Carpenter Bee' was an even better showcase of what Solebox could do with a classic like the GEL-Lyte III. Featuring some of the best colour-blocking around, and materials that were far better than those of the aforementioned predecessor, the bee-inspired kicks paired black nubuck with expertly-placed blue accents, and a white midsole that popped along with the 3M reflectivity. Like 'The Sun', these also replaced the usual GEL-Lyte III branding on the right shoe with Solebox insignia, while logos also covered the included laces.
Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'East Coast Project' (2013)Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'East Coast Project' (2013)
Long before the Kith empire had expanded into what it is today, the Ronnie Fieg–led imprint was home to just two stores in New York back in 2013. As a sign of things to come, though, Fieg and company opened a special pop-up shop in Miami, and celebrated with the aptly named 'East Coast Project'. Naturally, the GEL-Lyte III was the canvas of choice for the project, and Fieg dressed the kicks in the perfect homages to each city – i.e. Dolphins-inspired hues covered the Miami pair, while blue and orange coated the one celebrating Kith's NY roots. Fieg even tailored the kicks for their respective climates, hitting the Miami pair with a mesh toe box and tongue while the NY release was dressed in leather and nubuck.
Zillion x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2011)Zillion x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2011)
David Guarino and Tokyo's Zillion went for subtle simplicity with their GEL-Lyte III back in 2011 and, in the process, ended up creating one of the cleanest and most underrated ASICS colabs of all time. Guarino went with an ivory-coloured upper for the creation, and switched things up with a peachy contrast for the midsole. However, the real star of the show was the shoe's kimono-style Chirimen fabric and custom packaging, which included wooden lace tags and a matching box to boot.
24 Kilates x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Express' (2018)24 Kilates x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Express' (2018)
Long-time collaborative partners, ASICS and Barcelona-based 24 Kilates, dropped their best project yet with 2018's train-inspired 'Express' GEL-Lyte III. A nod to the railway connecting Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand (24 Kilates have another outpost in Bangkok), the kicks utilised a variety of details that took cues from the luxury cabins of the train cars. Soft green suede and premium brown and tan leathers – not to mention gold accents – gave the colab a decidedly luxurious feel, while gorgeous tongue badges and specially-branded lacing capped things off.
Saint Alfred x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2013)Saint Alfred x ASICS GEL-Lyte III (2013)
A beachy collaboration may seem like an odd choice for a Chicago-based retailer, but don't be fooled: the Windy City is gorgeous in the summertime, and Saint Alfred's GEL-Lyte III from 2013 was the perfect nod to warm, sunny days on the banks of Lake Michigan. One look at the kicks and the impetus for the design is pretty obvious – the blue upper is a nod to the lake and clear blue skies, while the midsole represents the sand – but the perfection of the execution shows that you don't have to get too fancy when it comes to the inspiration behind a design. The gum rubber outsoles were also the perfect finishing touch.
Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Militia' (2016)Ronnie Fieg x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Militia' (2016)
Back in 2016, Ronnie Fieg and Kith celebrated Cyber Monday with a special two-part GEL-Lyte III release: a Japanese-made '2.0' rendition of the beloved 'Salmon Toe', and an equally-premium 'Militia' execution. The military inspiration for the olive green pair was pretty self explanatory, but what went largely unsaid was the origin of the design: originally known as the 'Mossad', the 'Militia' was actually a one-of-one sample that dated all the way back to 2010. That one-of-one was given away to the lucky winner of a joint Twitter contest from Fieg and Nice Kicks, and never made its way to retail – until 2016, that is, when Fieg dusted off that unimpeachable look for a special drop.
Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Tiger Snake' (2019)Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Tiger Snake' (2019)
We had to give ourselves a little pat on the back for this one. Released just this year, our 'Tiger Snake' colab with ASICS was not only a nod to our native antipodean fauna, but also a neat homage to ASICS’s historical origins as the Onitsuka Tiger company. Buttery beige cowhide handled the majority of the construction, while the black accents took cues from the snake's striped back. Last but not least: popping pink accents, which we swapped out for an even bolder shade of green for the dangerous 'Neurotoxic' F&F edition.