When it comes to hype, few have had the resounding success the ASICS GEL-LYTE III has seen over the last three decades.
It might be 30 years old, but the
ASICS icon looks every bit as contemporary as it did then, proving not only how timeless its design is, but also how visionary its legendary designer, Shigeyuki Mitsui, was when he first conceived the shoe during his final year with ASICS.
Since debuting in 1990, the sneaker’s recognisable silhouette has found its way on many a Hypebeast’s foot, whether its
ASICS’ own interpretation in a kaleidoscope of colour combinations or collaborations with big names like Ronnie Fieg, Sean Wotherspoon, and Afew.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mitsui’s design, ASICS has dropped two new colourways of the GEL-LYTE III. The
commemorative sneakers echo its legacy of breaking free from tradition by being rendered in bold hues of green and purple, both colours that wouldn’t have any trouble with standing out from the crowd.
The renowned Japanese label has also given 30 young creative mavens across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam free rein to transform a vastly different type of canvas for the occasion: A blank GEL-LYTE III sneaker.
“By supporting the region’s emerging artists, designers and creative innovators and giving them
a unique platform of expression, ASICS is proud to assert itself as a cultural leader, bringing together a community of like-minded individuals with a shared passion,” said Roy Lan, Regional Marketing Communications Manager at ASICS.
Scroll down to get acquainted with these 30 ASICS GEL-LYTE III creators.
Of the 30, Singapore sees 11 bright young minds who have been chosen to put their unique mark on the shoes. The mix, ranging from a graffiti artist and batik clothing designer to even a henna artist, highlights the breadth of talent the city has to offer.
Liquan Liew and Estella Ng, painters and muralists (@rippleroot)
“We wanted to capture the essence of Singapore as a compelling reminder of what was, and a nod to the region’s ecological heritage. We designed the shoe to emulate a feeling of running through a lush field of tropical flowers in a rainforest, with broad painterly strokes, bright pinks, electric blues and energetic orange, against mossy greens all contained within the shoe.”
Kimberly Tan, Graphic designer and illustrator (@ultraaviolets)
“My inspiration for this pair of custom ASICS GEL-LYTE III came from my nostalgia for the 90s, when this model was first launched. Being a 90s kid myself, I decided to take elements from my childhood as well as my love for pastel shades and put them together, creating a pair of sneakers that looks like it came straight out of a sci-fi cartoon.”
Toby Tan, illustrator & muralist (@tobyato)
“Drawing inspiration from the heritage of the ASICS tiger stripes and the traditional Chinese belief that winds of the Earth come from a tiger’s breath, this sneaker’s custom design features an asymmetrical black and white sneaker pair that reflects the raw turbulent power of creativity in our current climate.”
Marie Toh, illustrator (@flesssh)
“Taking inspiration from the Chinese vase, I painted timeless and iconic blue motifs on the ASICS GEL-LYTE III shoes. I went for a floral pattern for one side and a dragon for the other to show how femininity and masculinity are just two sides of the same coin.”
Desleen Yeo, batik clothing designer (@yeomamabatik)
“Cloudwalker” is our interpretation of what a modern batik sneaker should look like while still retaining the symbolic significance of the three batik motifs used: “Mega Mendung”, “Kawung”, and “Parang”. All three are empowering motifs that we hope inspires its wearer to keep moving and continue exploring, all while always remembering our origins.”
Zi Jie Mok, Miniature Watercolour Painter (@artcrop)
“I wanted the shoe to be like a journal or a photo album. Like an explorer, you go around the world finding new things and painting them on the shoe to immortalise your memories. It’ll be ever-changing with more and more additions as you discover new adventures.”
Jiahui Zheng, stamp carving artist (@parade.made)
“I played around with the built and contour of the ASICS GEL-LYTE III to create a design reminiscent of a hilly landscape dotted with bright city lights, under a starry night sky. I love how the colours are concentrated on the upper half of the shoe to create an illusion of height, almost as if the wearer is standing on tiptoe and reaching for the sky.”
Desmond Shen, graffiti artist (@shen3_)
“Using aerosol cans and markers as they do on the streets, I created a bordering cityscape, with a colorsplash of graffiti within it. No one will be able to know what those fonts read, and that’s okay. I loved working on it, and I had fun while trusting my intuition, just like how the design team did with the GEL-LYTE III.”
Genevieve Ang, ceramics artist (@gellyvieve)
“I thought of clouds when I first wore the ASICS GEL-LYTE III because of how comfortable it was, and also drew inspiration from looking up in the sky observing what I saw. Beyond just white fluffy clouds, I saw tiny colours running really quickly everywhere. This piece is inspired by a phenomenon called blue entoptic, where the dots are actually moving white blood cells in our eyes. It’s a reminder of how we don’t just see the external world, but also our universe within.”
Shasha Shoet, henna artist (@nittrahennadefinition)
“The elements in the outer part of the shoe are inverse design and small mandalas, which are two popular elements in henna design. The design go well with any shape of hands, but it also reflects elegance and beauty. I painted white on the white shoe to represent the palm of a bride’s hand, and placing the insoles next to each other forms a full heart shape — a signature design of mine.”
Anngee Neo, illustrator (@illobyanngee)
“The nine lucky creatures on the shoe are inspired by the Japanese Baku, a supernatural creature that devours nightmares. Instead of devouring nightmares, I hope that these creatures can devour the spate of bad luck that has hit the world in 2020. Additionally, the number 9 symbolises eternity and longevity – a lucky birthday wish for ASICS’ 30th anniversary!”
Malaysia’s eight creators are just as diverse, with young talents that include a fashion designer, food stylist and photographer, and a renowned makeup artist.
Cloakwork, graffiti artist & illustrator (@cloakwork)
“Known for my work in street art, I explored the form of graffiti and illustration with dynamism and movement. My work is a clear representation of myself: bold, daring and fearless. I always remind myself to give back to the streets by making plain concrete more vibrant with my graffiti. That will be my legacy.”
Kenji Chai, graffiti artist (@mr_kenjichai)
“For my ASICS GEL-LYTE III design, I combined my signature art Chicago and a samurai suit for the sockliner.”
Shiyo Joo, makeup artist (@shiyojoo)
“As a renowned makeup artist, I believe creativity has no limits. For this shoe design, I drew inspiration from my work by applying the art of makeup (usually drawn on faces) onto shoes for the very first time by using eyeliner, lipstick and eyeshadow.”
Cassey Gan, fashion designer (@casseygan)
“The theme for these ASICS GEL-LYTE III shoes is ‘Rain or Shine.’ As the name suggests, come rain or shine, life goes on and everyone should make the most out of it with optimism. I designed the shoes by sticking pieces of the prints and painting certain parts to give a textural difference.”
Eleanor Lim, designer & calligraphy artist (@elliholi)
“Using the same concept of “free spirit”, the second design is more abstract. As an artist, I strongly believe in being given the freedom to create. The design embodies this belief, full of colours and varying shapes. It’s also meant to resemble plant splatters, similar to how an artist’s apron would look like after a day at their studio, evidence that they had been painting the entire day.”
Francisca Turner, mother, founder and creative director of Frankitas (@frankitas)
“I drew inspiration from traditional ethnic textiles that are rich in heritage and history made by local artisans in Asia and turned it into a contemporary style shoe design with a subtle hint of a masculine touch.”
Joy Chong, photographer and stationary enthusiast (@joychong)
“My ASICS GEL-LYTE III design takes inspiration from my love of journaling and combines it with abstract brush strokes and sprays in pastel colours. I also incorporated washi tape designs to make this design uniquely me.”
Trisha Toh, food stylist & photographer (@trishates)
“In my design for this collaboration, I’ve thought of how I could break the cycle of food waste which coincides with my general philosophy of using what I have around me to the best of its capabilities and embracing imperfections, as there is beauty in everything. I chose the process of stitching/gluing dehydrated excess fruits to become fruit leathers and dye using colours deriving from natural elements such as turmeric.”
Known for some of the most creative young minds in the region, the Land of Smiles lends eight talents to the project. The lot includes architect and doodler Irin Ariyatnaporn, indie musician Tongta Jitdee, and skateboarder and graphic artist Kasemwit Chaweewat.
Kasemwit Chaweewat, skateboarder & graphic artist (@poorboylife)
“With nature conservation as the core idea, I was inspired by camping in nature and designed these shoes based on this. The POORBOY character is carrying the tree into the forest to represent that it is a shoe that POORBOY wears to do good things for nature like tree planting in the forest.”
Chanida Areewatnasombat, illustrator & animator (@chubbynida)
“The ‘see me on the outside!’ design came from the idea of travelling after the difficult situation around the world. It represents the concept of finding a new journey and discovering novel experiences in our life.”
Irin Ariyatnaporn, architect & doodler (@irin19)
“Mr Dolph is a dolphin character and an imaginary friend that I created when I was in Sydney. He appears on my Instagram account often. I want the shoes to represent the character of my first imaginary friend so I’m giving this shoe the concept of his “Day Out”. Apart from joining my everyday life, his day out would be a fun time at the beach playing with waves and chilling on the sand.”
Maturin Leethavekulsomboon, graphic artist (@yellowand.you)
“I wanted to create a delightful and lively design that represents love and positivity, and act as a medium for spreading good energy to the community. Start your day by spreading love and positive energy through this simple but beautifully-designed shoe.”
Smith Phiromsank, illustrator (@montemith)
“Interpolating Thai style from Montemith’s view through the lines that blend well with the brand signature – ASICS stripes which are detailed with the “Kirin”, a common mythical creature of Thailand and Japan. Waves and clouds are also combined to create an oriental vibe in these shoes.”
Suradech Termsapsiri, graffiti artist (@zids.bkk)
“At the time of the 30th anniversary celebration, the ASICS GEL-LYTE III sneaker is warm and strong when walking. Strength in warmth is the definition of this shoe. The pattern on the sneaker has brought out the ferocity of the tiger. The colours used were inspired by the tropical forests of Asia.”
Thitiporn Klintachote, illustrator (22mm.t)
“Star racing comes from the idea of the way to a star. A “Star” in this meaning is like a dream. You believe that you can create something new. Keep going and compete with yourself to catch your dream.”
Tongta Jitdee, indie musician (@plengtongta)
“As someone who loves nature, I was inspired by my hiking experience both in Thailand and abroad, and came up with the concept of ‘From Somewhere to Nowhere.’ It represents a journey from one place to another without specifying the final destination.”
Indonesia & Vietnam
Comprised of Fivust, a graffiti artist & illustrator, as well as Eka Mardiys and Isser W. James, the representatives from Indonesia know a thing or two about streetwear, and have translated their unique eye for detail onto the GEL-LYTE III sneakers. Over in Vietnam, dancer and sneaker entrepreneur Truong Ngoc Anh pays tribute to his roots and country with a stylish take on the street style icon.
Fivust- Graffiti artist & illustrator (@fivust)
“The concept represents my artistic journey from where I moved from comic illustrations, to graffiti, and finally to tattooing. As we never stop evolving, I named the shoes METAMORPH.”
Eka Mardiys x Isser W. James – Artist x sneaker enthusiast (@ekamardiys @isser.whitey.james)
“The concept is inspired by the Phantera Tigris Balica, an extinct Balinese tiger. Though it’s extinct, it lives in the spirit of the Balinese youths today. Additionally, the design is mixed with Balinese carving Batik.”
Truong Ngoc Anh – Dancer & sneaker entrepreneur (@truongngocanh_hnbmg)
“I’ve put my own spin on the shoes by using colours that represent Vietnamese culture and people, while being respectful to Mitsui’s original design. ‘From Here To Fame’ is an old street quote that reminds us to remember our roots when we have the recognition of the world. Nasics (Nafly + ASICS) represents my collaboration with ASICS, and this is expressed in a Throw-up – a popular way of painting in graffiti.”
The GEL-LYTE III 30 th Anniversary is available in Singapore in the green and purple colourways for men and retails for S$159 at selected Limited Edt stores.
Photography (Singapore): Jeff Chang
Production: Lifestyle Asia Singapore