Since I got into Asics my favorite silhouette has been the Gel Lyte III. Personally I just love the comfort and of course that unique and iconic split tongue, which gives them a very fresh look.
As I finally managed to get together to four original color ways from 1990/91 of the Gel Lyte III, I thought it was the right time to give a little homage to the best sneaker silhouette on earth.
How all began…
Back in 1990 Shigeyuki Mitsui had the wonderful idea of designing the Gel Lyte III.
Mitsui, who was born in Nigata in the north of Japan and had been working for Asics for almost five years, created one of the most recognizable silhouettes to date.
The concept behind this shoe was to create something that hadn’t been seen yet in the market. A running shoe with the most modern technology and function, but furthermore would feature cool aesthetics.
Firstly,$ the Gel Lyte III got the most attention from New York and the USA in general. Of course the iconic and comfortable split tongue caught everybody’s attention, but the Gel Lyte midsole and the impact protection were the key for an excellent performance shoe.
Mitsui created a very comfortable, good looking and beautiful model, a runner which has become a sneaker legend.
The era of collaboration
After some year in the dark, in the mid 2000’s the Gel Lyte III was brought back.
In 2006 the success of the Gel Lyte III took a new turn, as it was time for the first collaboration on the split tongue silhouette. Ronnie Fieg, who back then was working for the NYC based sneaker store David Z, designed the “252 Pack”. A pack consisting of three pairs, which gave a very colorful start to the Gel Lyte III collaboration era.
Furthermore, Patta, Alife NYC, Mita Sneakers, Solebox and again David Z where the ones, who really started to give popularity in the sneaker community to the Japanese brand with numerous collabs.
Below you can see some of the first collaborations between 2007 and 2008…
The 25th Anniversary
Last year was a big year for Asics and especially for the Gel Lyte III, as they celebrated the 25th birthday of the well know split tongue model.
The Japanese cult brand teamed up with different sneaker shops from all over the world, as Titolo (Switzerland), Footpatrol, (UK), Highs and Lows (Australia) and many more.
The idea behind this birthday was to drop every month a pair in partnership with a the most influential retailers worldwide. Every shop had the chance to create a Gel Lyte III with the theme of they’re choice and we’ve seen some very dope pairs during 2015.
You can find more information about each pair of the Anniversary in the recap, I’ve made during last year!
Recent releases and the future of the split tongue
Since 2014, Asics has had an overload of Gel Lyte III collaborations and general releases.
The japanese brand has worked together with the most well known shops around the globe in the past two years, but also with artists like Wale and there are rumours about a collab with R&B singer Chris Brown.
Asics has taken a very important role in lifestyle thanks to the Gel Lyte III, as it is one of the most popular brands in the industry right now.
This year is going to be extremly good for the brand. Collaborations with old friends as Solebox, Slam Jam and many others…
Ronnie Fieg will introduce us to a modern take of the split tongue silhouette, the Gel Lyte 3.1, shich consists of a Gel Lyte III upper with an Asics Nimbus midsole. Some even say we’ll finally see a release of the Super Greens and Mossads. But also of the Salmon Toes with an unexpected twist, due to the 5th Anniversary of Kith.
Personally I hope we’ll see more of this brand and especially of this silhouette in future. The split tongue has been my favorite for a while now and even if I know it’s an impossible dream I hope I will be able to design a pair myself one day!
And to end this post, I leave you with my all time top 5 pairs of Gel Lyte III…