ASICS Vs Onitsuka Tiger: What Are the Core Differences?

Written By Sunny

If you’re familiar with the Asics and Onitsuka Tiger shoes, you might have noticed that they have an identical logo.

Such a similarity can create confusion among potential buyers who are comparing shoes from these different brands.asics-vs-onitsuka-tiger

On that note, let’s dive into this article to discuss how Onitsuka Tiger differs from Asics and which one offers better shoes.

A Quick Overview of the Asics and Onitsuka Tiger Brand

From post-world war origins to becoming global fashion icons, the legacy of ASICS and Onitsuka Tiger is deeply intertwined.

To be blunt, Onitsuka Tiger and ASICS are both owned by the same Japanese company, ASICS Corporation. But they are technically two distinct brands under the same umbrella with a different focus on the market.

The only confusing part here is that the parent company has the same name as one of its subsidiaries.

Kihachiro Onitsuka first debuted the Onitsuka Tigers as basketball shoes with a distinct emphasis on innovation.

Later on, the Onitsuke Co. LTD merged with two other sporting companies to form the ASICS Corporation.

Despite becoming a sub-brand, Onitsuka Tiger retained its identity and lifestyle heritage.

Conversely, the ASICS brand came to life through the said merger and branched off its own footwear lineup to capture an even bigger portion of the market.

The name ASICS is actually an abbreviation of “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” which means “A sound mind in a sound body.”

You should also know that the Onitsuka Tiger isn’t exactly a competitor of the Asics division but rather a complementary offering.

Feature Comparison Between the Shoes from Asics and Onitsuka Tiger

While the Onitsuka Tiger and ASICS fall under the same ownership, they are still separate brands with unique identities and target audiences.

As a result, their shoes have certain technical features that set them apart in a meaningful manner.

AttributesASICS FootwearOnitsuka Tiger Shoes
Founded in19771949
PurposeHigh-performance athletic footwearLifestyle footwear with a fashion focus
WeightLightweight to moderateModerate
SizingTrue to size with some exceptionsTrue to size
Commonly used upper materialEngineered mesh, synthetics, leatherMesh, suede, leather, canvas
Midsole technologiesFlyteFoam, FlyteFoam Propel, GEL unitsAMPLIFOAM
Average cushioningModerate to highModerate
Best forRunning, training, and other sports activitiesCasual wear, streetwear, fashion
Price range$80-$200+$100-$200+

Primary Differences Between Asics and Onitsuka Tiger Shoes

Both Asics and Onitsuka Tiger have many fan-favorite shoe models that provide noticeably different user experiences.

Their distinct focus on the footwear market translates to noteworthy differences between these shoes. From build quality to material technologies, these varying characteristics can affect your running or wearing styles.

Thankfully, I got my hands on some of the best ASICS and Onitsuka Tiger sneakers over the past few years and found interesting dissimilarities between the shoes from these brands.

Here are some of the fundamental differences between Asics and Onitsuka Tiger shoes:

1. Purpose and Target Audience

Asics shoes are performance-driven footwear for outdoor activities and sports, such as running or cross-training. Hence, these shoes are quite appealing to serious athletes or fitness enthusiasts.

Due to targeting such an enthusiastic crowd, ASICS footwear is generally comprised of cutting-edge technologies for optimal performance.

For example, ASICS focuses more on providing stable constructions and supportive features in their footwear to maximize performance and minimize injury risks from high-movement activities.

They are also continuously pushing the boundaries of footwear technology to keep up with the ever-evolving high-performance shoe market.

Meanwhile, with retro-inspired silhouettes and iconic designs, Onitsuka Tiger has a strong focus on lifestyle and fashion statement.iconic-designs-of-onitsuka-tiger

These shoes generally target fashion-conscious individuals who appreciate vintage-inspired designs, comfort, and cultural relevance.

Instead of chasing innovation, Ontisuka collaborates with fashion brands and designers for added exclusivity and trendiness.

As lifestyle shoes, they also have a special emphasis on comfort and versatility for everyday wear.

TraitsASICSOnitsuka Tiger
Target audienceSerious athletesFashion-conscious individuals
Key featuresAdvanced cushioning, supportive construction, sport-specific modelsRetro designs, high-quality materials, collaborations, comfort

2. Product Offerings

Asics shoes cover a much wider range of footwear compared to what Onitsuka Tiger offers.

However, both brands offer some shoes that bridge the gap between performance and lifestyle, such as the Gel-Kayano Trainer from ASICS and the Mexico 66 SP from Onitsuka.

That being said, Asics has a more extensive global presence than Onitsuka Tiger, which is known for its stronger focus on the Japanese market.

The following table includes the offered shoe categories by both brands:

ASICS Shoe CategoriesOnitsuka Tiger Shoe Categories
Football boots
Indoor court
Outdoor field

Not only that, these two brands also have a completely different product lineup.

ASICS LineupOnitsuka Tiger Lineup
Gel-CumulusDentigré Puff Boot
GT-2000Brogue Chukka
Evoride SpeedNippon Made
MetaspeedTiger Tracer
GT-4000Tiger Horizonia
Gel-TrabucoHMR Peak
Trabuco MaxGSM
Fuji LiteTai-Chi
Cosmo Racer

3. Commonly Used Upper Construction

Apart from a similar logo, most Asics shoes look vastly different than the Onitsuka Tiger sneakers. From aesthetics to used material, the upper construction of these shoes diverges dramatically based on their market focus.

Let me explain.

Design Language

Pretty much every Onitsuka Tiger sneaker incorporates high-quality materials and meticulous craftsmanship for a premium feel.

They also lean heavily on Onitsuka’s rich history by opting for vintage color palettes.

Beyond nostalgia, Onitsuka Tiger infuses its designs with fashion-forward elements, like bold color blocking, premium materials, and unexpected collaborations.

If you pick up any Asics shoes, you’ll get a completely different experience.

These shoes, regardless of their lineup, have a bold and sporty look from top to bottom. They have a technical and aerodynamic build to prioritize functionality over form.

Despite that, Asics doesn’t neglect the stylistic aspect of these

Every Asics footwear embraces contemporary trends, vibrant colorways, reflective accents, and futuristic silhouettes.

As a result, the Onitsuka shoes are suitable for everyday wear, while the Asics shoes are fitted for both performance-driven tasks or casual outfits.

Upper Material

Onitsuka Tiger embraces its heritage by using soft, supple leathers in many of its iconic models like the Mexico 66 and Tai Chi. This material adds a touch of vintage charm and provides a comfortable, luxurious feel.

Other than that, they also utilize breathable canvas and suede material in some of their performance-oriented shoes.

Conversely, most ASICS shoes have a breathable engineered mesh that is both lightweight and durable.

They also have synthetic overlays for added support and structural integrity.

For certain models, ASICS offers leather or suede options to add a touch of premium feel and enhance both functionality & visual appeal.

4. Overall Running Performance

Onitsuka Tiger does have a few running shoes, but the options are very limited and only focused on court training and racing flats.

These shoes were originally designed as basketball shoes that can handle sports activities. But they lack the necessary build and form factor to take them for high-performance running sessions.performance-of-onitsuka-tiger

On the contrary, ASICS shoes are primarily designed for serious runners and athletes.

They offer a wide variety of running shoes that cater to different running styles and needs. You can easily find a perfect running pair from ASICS that suits your specific foot shape and running goals.

Additionally, Onitsuka shoes have a much lower stack height and don’t feature any kind of performance-enhancing innovations, like Meta-Rocker soles or Gel-cushioning of the ASICS shoes, to get a smooth and responsive ride.

However, these shoes are lightweight and flexible enough to be them for light activities and sports.

That being said, the ASICS shoes are clearly the better choice for runners as they have added comfort and performance-enhancing features.

5. Comfort for Everyday Wear

Onitsuka Tigers generally weigh less compared to the ASICS shoes, especially the high-end models. As a result, Tiger sneakers are more suitable than ASICS for those who prefer a lightweight feel in their day-to-day fit.

And that’s not all!


ASICS shoes usually have thicker gusseted tongues with excellent padding, which provides comfort and keeps the tongue in place during fast-paced running.

In the meantime, Onitsuka Tigers feature thinner tongues with a more streamlined look. Some models even showcase branded logos.

Another dissimilarity between them is that Onitsuka Tigers have low-profile tongues, while the Asics shoes have standard profiles.

Toe box

Most Asics shoes have a wider and roomier toe box to accommodate any foot shape and provide enough room for toe wiggling. Some high-end models have reinforced toe caps to enhance protection and durability.

The toe box on Onitsuka shoes is typically narrower and more rounded to boast a sleeker profile.toe-box-of-onitsuka-tiger

However, these are not suitable for wider forefeet.

I’d suggest going with a half-size up if you want the most comfortable fit out of your Onitsuka sneaker.

Fit and Lacing

Since the ASICS kicks are designed for performance and support, they offer a snugger fit thanks to a more runner-friendly upper material that molds around your feet.

They also have a traditional lacing system for a secure and adjustable fit.

Some models even have additional features like lace locks or asymmetrical lacing to get that perfect heel lockdown feel.

Onitsuka, on the other hand, prioritizes comfort over performance and offers a more relaxed fit with traditional lacing.

Collar and Heel Counter

ASICS shoes have noticeably more padding on their collar than Onitsuka Tigers to add comfort and ankle support.

Although high-top Tiger sneakers have decent cushioning on their collars.heel-counter-of-onitsuka-tiger

Nonetheless, the reinforced heel counter found on the ASICS runners is sorely missing on Onitsuka shoes.

Some ASICS models have heel tabs for easy pull-on, while most Onitsuka Tigers have integrated pull tabs for the same purpose.

Overall, the ASICS shoes might have more cushioning and breathable material, but the relaxed fit, retro style, and streamlined build of the Onitsuka Tigers make them more suitable for everyday wear.

6. Expected Durability

ASICS shoes not only boast durable upper material but also have abrasion-resistant rubber outsoles, especially in their dedicated running and sports models.

Such an implementation offers extended durability, even after rough usage.

Not to mention, ASICS deploys zonal rubbers in high-wear areas, like the heel or forefoot, to prevent early wear and tear.

The leather upper of the Onitsuka Shoes is typically more durable than the mesh or canvas upper of most ASICS footwear.

However, the rubber outsole is less sturdy than what the ASICS shoes are offering.

7. Price Range and Value Proposition

From budget-friendly options to premium high-performance shoes, ASICS has something for everyone.

If we generalize their offerings, these shoes usually have a lower price tag than Onitsuka Tiger.value-proposition-of-onitsuka-tiger

Speaking of Onitsuka, their shoes are aimed at the premium market, with barely any budget options(not counting discounts).

Strengths and Weaknesses of Onitsuka Tiger and ASICS Shoes

Due to having unique benefits, both brands have survived the test of time and maintained their status as some of the most appealing footwear on the market. They also have a few drawbacks that can be a deal breaker for some potential buyers.

Hence, go through the following pros and cons of Onitsuka Tiger and ASICS shoes before you make a purchase decision.


  • »Performance-oriented design.
  • »Advanced technologies for enhanced comfort and performance.
  • »Caters to different foot shapes and needs.
  • »Wide range of options for distinct activities, like wrestling or running.
  • »More durability.
  • »Less emphasis on style.
  • »Bulkier feel.

Onitsuka Tiger Footwear

  • »Stylish and trendy with fashion brands.
  • »Lightweight and comfortable.
  • »Versatile wearing option.
  • »Ideal for casual wear.
  • »Less focus on performance.
  • »Durability could be better.

Verdict: Onitsuka Tiger Vs ASICS

The ASICS and Onitsuka Tiger are two different branches of the same tree. However, these two branches provide different fruits to cover different market segments.

Hence, it is not feasible to declare a winner over the other as each lineup from both brands excels in their unique ways.

The best choice for you entirely depends on your priorities and individual needs.

So, if you prioritize versatile performance and technology, Asics is likely the better option.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for stylish sneakers with a retro vibe, Onitsuka Tiger might be a better fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Onitsuka Tiger the same brand as ASICS?

No. Onitsuka Tiger is not the same brand as ASICS despite sharing the same logo. They are two different footwear divisions that fall under the same company, ASICS Corporation.

Which is Onitsuka Tiger’s parent company?

ASICS Corporation is Onitsuka Tiger’s parent company, which is situated in Kobe, Japan. It’s a sporting goods company with different sub-brands for different markets.

Why is the Onitsuka Tiger so popular?

Onitsuka Tiger holds a special place in users’ hearts as it’s a timeless and iconic sneaker lineup. It’s a premium and stylish footwear that offers adequate comfort for everyday wear and light activities.

Why Onitsuka Tiger is so expensive?

Most Onitsuka Tiger shoes are comparatively more expensive than other brands as these shoes utilize premium materials like leather uppers and well-cushioned midsoles.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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