First Basketball Shoe is Released
A Basketball shoe is the first sports athletic shoe made by ONITSUKA Co., Ltd.
At the time, basketball shoes are thought to be the most difficult athletic shoe to manufacture, but Mr. Onitsuka feels that "if he can overcome a high hurdle at the start, he will be able to continue overcoming other hurdles as well".
Mr. Onitsuka gives prototypes of his shoes to players at one of the leading basketball powerhouses of the day, where the shoes are repeatedly tested and refined, until the first model is released in the spring of 1950.
Suction Cup Basketball Shoe is Released
The model released in 1950 reflects gradual improvements to achieve the stopping, turning, and dashing performance required for basketball. Mr. Onitsuka has an epiphany at the sight of vinegared octopus on his dinner table, an episode that inspires the development of his suction cup Basketball shoes.
By deepening the dimples over the entire sole to resemble octopus suction cups, both starting and stopping performance are improved. The first prototype generates too much stopping power, but improvements are made based on testing by actual players.
Kazuma Usui Founds Usui Meriyasu Works
In 1952, Kazuma Usui establishes Usui Meriyasu Works, the forerunner of JELENK Co., Ltd., in Takefu City, Fukui Prefecture (now part of Echizen City).
The company begins as a manufacturer of sportswear and baseball stockings, and sells its products under the KU UNION brand mainly to sporting goods wholesalers in Tokyo and Osaka.
Using the high level of technology that earned the business a 60% market share nationwide in baseball stockings, it develops into an international sportswear manufacturer.
Marathon Shoe is Released
ONITSUKA Marathon TABI is released, based on the traditional indoor "tabi" footwear that is still generally worn at sports meets in Japan at the time. The Marathon Tabi is equipped with features required for marathon running, including rubber soles and uppers that feature durable material and a hanging band.
The same year, the TIGER mark MARUP shoe, designed specifically for marathon relay races, is released.
The shoe is suited to the marathon running style, which demands speed and endurance. The shoe is designed to reduce fatigue during long-distance runs. The upper is made from vinylon, a material that is three times stronger than cotton and prevents sweating in the feet, and the shoe includes a heel sponge.
After that, genuine leather MARUP for racing is released in 1958. The shoe features a lightweight rubber sponge sole with dramatically improved flexibility and shock-absorbing properties. The name MARUP stands for Marathon Up shoes. From this point forward, the MARUP series adopts a variety of advanced materials, all the way to the year 1981, when the successor SORTIE series is released.
Nylon Shoe is Released
The durable, water-resistant, lightweight material Nylon is used in shoes for the first time.
Starting with AFTER BOOTS, nylon is actively adopted in shoes for various activities such as golf (in 1955), mountaineering, and basketball.
First Wrestling Shoe is Released
A completely new type of shoe, which uses nylon in the upper, is released.
The metal eyelets are not placed on the outside but rather hidden to prevent injuries during competitions. The ventilation holes in the toe area are another notable feature. In addition, the rolled design of the sole offers superior traction and slip prevention while also providing durability. This is the archetype of the modern wrestling shoe.
This wrestling shoe will go on to leave its mark around the world as one of the signature ASICS athletic shoes.
Rubber Sponge Shoe is Released
It is the first shoe to adopt the synthetic rubber sponge sole material that maintains elasticity while preventing the sole from absorbing water. Compared to the rubber-soled shoes of the day, it is dramatically lighter with enhanced shock absorption.
Designed for sprinting and protection of the muscles used for jumping, this training shoe features high-quality leather over the entire surface, with a sponge material added underneath the tongue to cushion the foot along the upper. The rubber sponge, which is a lightweight material with outstanding cushioning and durability, is also adopted by the MARUP series and becomes the standard material used for most current athletic shoes. The shoe is provided to the Japanese national team.