ARTICLE BY Amber De Luca-Tao

The Top ASICS Releases of 2021

What a year it's been for ASICS! In 2021 they continued to pull out all the stops to freshen up some of their tried and tested silhouettes, create a handful of new products, as well as ring in some new collaborators. In a feature which highlights their best releases, it’s only natural that we’d namedrop Kiko Kostadinov on multiple occasions – who has continued to pump out his futuristic silhouettes, as well as embark on the next phase of his ASICS partnership. Check out the best releases from the brand below!

Angelo Baque x ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 'Rebirth of Cool'Angelo Baque x ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 'Rebirth of Cool'

Not only did Angelo Baque become the leader of the 'The ASICS Collective' this year, he also ticked off his debut collaboration with the brand – a GEL-Kayano 14 known as the 'Rebirth of Cool'. Looking for inspiration to create the shoe, the Awake NY founder recalled his love for incorporating technical sneakers into his everyday wardrobe – something he discovered while growing up in Queens. To make the shoe even more personal to Baque, the colours of the Ecuadorian flag have also been featured on the upper as well as midsole, which is a nod to his heritage.

Angelo Baque x ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 'Rebirth of Cool'

LUISAVIAROMA x ASICS GEL-KYRIOSLUISAVIAROMA x ASICS GEL-KYRIOS

Italian-based luxury retailer LUISAVIAROMA dropped inarguably one of the loudest ASICS collaborations of the year. While many were slow to cotton on, this colourful GEL KYRIOS was scooped up by the industry’s fashion-forward. With the sneaker’s uppers playing one-up with its midsole, each and every part of the design commands your attention. A shoe of this sort, which perfectly straddles the line between aesthetic and chaos, required a concrete inspiration source so the retailer looked to heat and seismic maps for cues!

,LUISAVIAROMA x ASICS GEL-KYRIOS

Nice Kicks x ASICS Gel Lyte IIINice Kicks x ASICS Gel Lyte III

Nice Kicks won many over this year with their gelato-inspired GEL Lyte III! For this colab, a special ice cream flavour known as Spumoni was drawn upon, which is famous for its three different flavours with layers of nuts and candied fruit. References can be seen in many parts of the release, particularly in the shaggy suede overlays and the subtle hits of mint. Strawberry pink, which is found in the Nice Kicks logo, embossed the heel tab. The cherry on top? The key chain!

Nice Kicks x ASICS Gel Lyte III

Kiko GEL-Quantum LEVITRACKKiko GEL-Quantum LEVITRACK

Kiko Kostadinov shot straight back into the stratosphere in 2021 with the GEL-Quantum LEVITRACK silhouette, which hit the runway of his Spring/Summer 2022 show before flooding social feeds the world over! The digital hype trail in the lead up to the show back up the design and production process, which according to the Kostadinov was a two-year long adventure. Eventually the shoe was released in honour of the Tokyo Olympics.

Kiko GEL-Quantum LEVITRACK

Brain Dead x Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Fratelli​Brain Dead x Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Fratelli​

This year the stars aligned for Brain Dead’s Kyle Ng and Kiko Kostadinov who came together to design a limited collaboration with ASICS, known as the GEL-Fratelli. Instead of both brand’s working on the look as a whole, Kostadinov focused on the right foot, with Ng and his team focusing on the left. The finished product saw a wild pair of sneakers that looked like they were straight out of the lab! It seemed cruel to limit these to just 120 pairs… so when you catch someone rocking these on the street, consider it a super rare sighting.

Brain Dead x Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Fratelli​

Brain Dead x ASICS Trabuco Max ‘BD Chaos Slime’Brain Dead x ASICS Trabuco Max ‘BD Chaos Slime’

Brain Dead continued to mis things up alongside ASICS, making interplanetary alien sneaker dreams come true! Building on from the previously released GEL-Fratelli colab, the ‘BD Chaos Slime’ lived up to its name and then some! Featuring a textured all-over pattern upper, rugged outsole with a pebbled black midsole, this trail-geared silhouette was built for both off-road treks and haunted houses – which is exactly where the shoe was initially released: at a Brain Dead Haunted House. To cop a pair at an in-person activation, you had to navigate your way through a mould-contaminated maze loaded with mutants, slime and horror!

Brain Dead x ASICS Trabuco Max ‘BD Chaos Slime’

ASICS UB2-S GEL-1130ASICS UB2-S GEL-1130

Last year headlines signifying an official shift in the set-up between Kiko Kostadinov and ASICS circulated. It was decided that they would be moving away from more of a ‘double name collaboration and into something more symbiotic’. As such, Kiko's acute taste would extend to more than just his own concoctions with the brand, seeing a team of 'Kiko consultants' deploy the signature design onto Sportstyle models. One of the best results from this partnership has been the trio of ASICS UB2-S GEL-1130.

ASICS UB2-S GEL-1130

Awake NY x ASICS Gel Kayano Trainer 21Awake NY x ASICS Gel Kayano Trainer 21

Awake NY have never been strangers to a popular ASICS collaboration, and their latest Gel Kayano Trainer 21 in a duo of colourways is no different. Sadly coinciding with the tragic death of Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, the NY-based brand directed the proceeds from the initial in-store release at unknown, to "POST-MODERN", a scholarship fund founded by Abloh, which seeks to provide opportunities for Black creatives. Funds were also donated to Angiosarcoma Awareness, Inc.

Awake NY x ASICS Gel Kayano Trainer 21

First Down x atmos GEL-Lyte IIIFirst Down x atmos GEL-Lyte III

What do New York City and Tokyo have in common? Among many things, intricate metro systems of course! That exact sentiment served as the backbone for this GEL-Lyte III’s triple-brand colab between ASICS, atmos and First Down. Revealed by atmos’ creative director, Hirofumi 'Koji' Kojima, they are still yet to release. Two First Down jackets have also been created as part of the drop, so that you can navigate your way through each of cities with apparel to match!

First Down x atmos GEL-Lyte III

Kith x ASICS GEL-Lyte V 'Salmon Toe' and 'Leather Back'Kith x ASICS GEL-Lyte V 'Salmon Toe' and 'Leather Back'

In 2021, Kith celebrated its 10th anniversary, and added to the fiesta with a commemorative sneaker release. Ronnie Fieg took a trip down memory lane, nodding to the fan favourite ‘Salmon Toe’ and ‘Leather Back’ GEL-Lyte IIIs, which initially released ten years ago upon the store's grand opening in Brooklyn. In 2021, they've undergone a metamorphosis, reborn as GEL-Lyte Vs for the occasion! To make the moment even more special, Fieg orchestrated an online giveaway for those who own original pairs.

Concepts ASICS Gel-Lyte III ‘Otoro’Concepts ASICS Gel-Lyte III ‘Otoro’

This year Concepts continued to do one of the things they do best: curb our cravings! In 2021 they once again looked to the water for inspiration, selecting a Japanese speciality food known as otoro – the fattiest (and tastiest) part of the bluefin tuna. Concepts' Creative Director, Deon Point stated that the ‘utmost attention to material and execution' was the goal on this release – and that can be seen in the details which brought this delicacy to life. Case in point: the supple coral suede upper, silver reflective behind the Tiger Stripes to symbolise knives, and green lace option to represent wasabi.,

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