Every great shoe brand needs a dominant style, a trusted fan favorite whose appeal stays the same no matter which way fashion trends blow. Nike has Dunk. Adidas has Samba. New Balance has the 990. For Asics, the Japanese sportswear brand founded in 1949, that shoe is the Gel-Kayano 14 — and despite a long and winding road to the top. tall, it’s one of the hottest sneakers on the market.
When first released in 2008, the Kayano 14’s advanced technology and exceptional comfort received rave reviews from the running community. (It nabbed The World of Runners International Editor’s Choice that same year.) But number 14 was discontinued after Asics released Kayano’s younger brother, and fans left to scour eBay as the style’s supply fell. gradually exhausted. So when Asics relaunched the silhouette in 2020, with nostalgia for early running shoes at an all-time high, it seemed unique to appeal to both new and old fans alike. . However, inside the company it is unlikely that the number 14 is the right choice to push it back into the fashion conversation. “You can close your eyes and pick anything from Kayano 10 to 14 and they’re all blasters,” said Billy Fischer, Asics’ Global Head of Collaboration. This has put Asics in an unusual position: With over thirty years of Kayano styles to choose from, the company has amassed a plethora of potential contenders for It Shoe.
Come to Kiko Kostadinov, the Bulgarian-British designer who is behind one of the most famous labels in menswear. “Originally chosen model by Asics [to bring back] is Kayano 13,” Kostadinov said via email. But the 14, which looks faster and more futuristic, caught the eye of the designer. The shoe’s distinct plates, stripes on its mesh upper before pulling around its bio-shaped outsole, are hard to miss, and Asics’ narrative tiger-striped badge, often made of silver material -y is reflective, which only adds to its appeal. If you’ve never seen the number 14, you could easily mistake it for an unambiguously unreleased silhouette to spark a frenzied online chatter in 2022.
It helps that the design of the 14 has not changed much since the shoe’s launch. Kostadinov and his team have “shown how versatile and modern the 14 can be with its unique material choices and color separations,” says Fischer. “Especially when placed next to the classic OG colorways, they can almost feel like different shoes.” Number 14 is always ahead of its time; now its forward-looking silhouette and the evolution of medical technology feel just right.
Kostadinov’s relationship with Asics has since evolved from a direct collaborator to a closer relationship with a consultant. The two entities have dropped the double-name convention that defined their original partnership, although eagle-eyed shoppers can still distinguish which pair is affected by Kostadinov in the product description. on the Asics website. Reconfiguration is not meant to obfuscate the designer’s involvement; it was a way for Kiko and co. to indicate their permanence in the Asics universe. Save for a few subtle details, you may not know that your 14-year-old is the product of Kostadinov’s influence — and that’s the point.
https://www.gq.com/story/the-rise-of-the-asics-gel-kayano-14 How the Asics Gel-Kayano 14 Became the It Sneaker of the Moment