ASICS is a Japanese athletic equipment company which produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports, generally in the upper price range. The name is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.
ASICS Ltd. began as Onitsuka Co., Ltd on September 1, 1949. Its founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka, began manufacturing basketball shoes in his home town of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Soon after the range of sports activities widened to a variety of Olympic styles used throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s by athletes worldwide. Onitsuka became particularly renowned for the Mexico 66 design, in which the distinctive crossed stripes, now synonymous with the company brand, were featured for the first time. In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO and JELENK to form ASICS Corporation. Despite the name change, a vintage range of ASICS shoes are still produced and sold internationally under the Onitsuka Tiger label.
Nike, Inc., originally known as BRS, was founded to sell Onitsuka Tiger shoes in US. When Phil Knight visited Japan in 1963 right before he graduated from Stanford University, he was impressed by Onitsuka Tiger shoes with their high quality but reasonable prices. He immediately visited Onitsuka Tiger office then and asked to be their sales agent in US. When Phil Knight founded Nike he headhunted engineers from Onitsuka and made shoes at Asahi cooperation in Fukuoka, therefore early Nike shoes were made in Japan.