In 1949, entrepreneur Kihachiro Onitsuka began making basketball shoes in his living room in Kobe, Japan - a small town 200 miles west of Tokyo. But it wasn't until 1977 that he chose the moniker ASICS to bestow upon his brand, an acronym from the Latin phrase, Anima Sana in Corpore Sano, which translates to "a sound mind in a sound body."
In 1990, ASICS opened the Research Institute of Sports Science in Kobe. The research facility encompasses an all-weather track and basketball and volleyball courts, as well as several test rooms where more than 200 scientists analyze the movements of the human body using high-tech cameras and sophisticated computer software. Athletes from around the world regularly visit the institute to get tailor-made running shoes and apparel.
Scientific analysis informs every decision ASICS makes. Shock absorption systems, outsoles with Wet Grip® Rubber, and water-resistant clothing are just a few innovations born out of the research team's findings.
ASICS doesn't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to an athletic shoe. Instead, customers visit an ASICS shop for shoes that are custom made for running, track and field, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, or soccer, to name just a few. The company also offers athletic apparel and accessories.
Still, the classic running shoe is the beating heart of ASICS. The company's technological advances include FluidFit™ multi-directional stretch mesh that adapts to the athlete's foot, the highly breathable ComforDry™ X-40 sockliner, and the Heel Clutching System™ which provides a better fit for the heel.
Before he began selling basketball shoes, ASICS founder Kihachiro Onitsuka honed his craft making children's shoes, which were in short supply following World War II.
The lifetime of the average running shoe is roughly 400 miles.
At the ASICS Sports Museum in Kobe, Japan, visitors can interact with sports equipment and footwear, watch virtual athletes play, and browse artifacts from the company's history.
Usain Bolt, an Olympic sprinter from Jamaica, is the fastest man in the world. He holds the World Record for the 100-meter sprint, clocking a time of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
During the annual Great Wall of China Marathon, runners have to cover a course with 20,518 countable steps.