ASICS (アシックス Ashikkusu) (stylized as asics) is a Japanese multinational corporation 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 soul in a healthy body". In recent years their running shoes have often been ranked among the top performance footwear in the market.
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.
In its 2006 fiscal year, Asics generated 171 billion yen in net sales and 13 billion yen in net income. Sixty-six percent of the company's income came from the sale of sports shoes, 24% from sportswear, and 10% from sports equipment. Forty-nine percent of the company's sales were in Japan, 28% in North America, and 19% in Europe.
Relationship with Nike
Nike, Inc., originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, was founded to sell Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the 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 the Onitsuka Tiger office and asked to be their sales agent in the USA. When Knight founded Nike, he headhunted engineers from Onitsuka and made early Nike shoes at the Asahi Corporation in Fukuoka, Japan.