The humble begginings
It all began back in 1949 when Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka had the wonderful idea of creating the Onitsuka Co Ltd. The target of Onitsuka was to reach the perfection with his products and of course bring innovation to the market with his trainers. His company became popular by the name of Tiger Onitsuka’s, which appeared on they’re boxes, catalogues etc.
From the first trainers to Mexico 66
In the 1950’s basketball shoes had they’re big break and took over the market, so it was a very pleasent start for the Tiger Onitsuka company, when they’re dropped the „OK“ (Onitsuka Kihachiro) shoe in 1952. It was basically a very normal basketball sneaker, but Onitsuka introduced the suction cup patterning on the outsole, which gave more traction and of course made a difference tot he other pairs on the market.
After dropping some basketball kicks on the market Onitsuka delivered a series of different marathon runners, as the Marathon Tabi, which had a very special split toe look and also the Marup which dropped a year later. The Marup was a more innovative, comfortable and better looking model then the Marathon Tabi and also was the original foam for the midsole of the Onitsuka Tiger shoes.
In 1959 after launching different products, Onitsuka Tiger introduced the Super Marup, which was basically a modern version of they’re earlier Marup. The Super Marup featured a new sole, which had been already used on the Magic Runner, adding more comfortability and duration for long distances. At this point Onitsuka started using a stripes branding on they’re runners to make a difference to the other products on the market.
In 1968 the brand had his big break with the drop of the Mexico 66, which was created for the Olympic Games of that year in Mexico. The runner featured 4 interchangeable spikes, which were very helpful depending on the conditions of the races. With the Mexico 66, Onitsuka Tiger also premiered the tiger stripes, as they’re known today.
The following years until the Asics era
In 1967 the second comeback of the Marup took place, but this time Onitsuka Tiger started using lighter, synthetic uppers on this models, as Nylon or other natural materials, which were having an incredible succes on the market. Still featuring a cushioned midsole like the previous Marup’s, the runner was very comfortable and perfect for daily running or for competitions
The Corsair is definitly one oft he most recognizable runners from around that time.
The shoe overtook the upper of the Marup using this time some synthetic leather, but featured a sandwiched dual-density wedge of a foam in the sole unit providing more protection to the feet. The legendary track coach Bill Bowerman was responsible for bringing the brand to American ground and Onitsuka kept on growing.
Back in the 1970’s sports footwear began to be a bigger part of the lifestyle wear. So Onitsuka decided to bring back almost 20 years later a newer and better version of the OK basketball shoe. In this occasion Onitsuka Tiger used nylon on the upper,
which was more lighter than the canvas used on the OK.