Onitsuka Tiger will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2024.

It all started in 1949, shortly after the war.
Kihachiro Onitsuka's believed that “sports have the power to change people’s lives.''

Onitsuka Co., Ltd. was established with the purpose of contributing to the development of Japan's youth and rebuilding a better future for them. In pursuit of technical strength and comfort, we have brought to the world innovative sports shoes. In 1977, the company name changed and the brand temporarily disappeared.

However, supported by the retro boom, Onitsuka Tiger was revived as a fashion brand in Europe in 2002. We continue to innovate with fashion items in heritage styles arranged from archives and high-end mode styles.


An idea inspired by an octopus

This is a story of an octopus. An eight-legged delicacy fated to be so much more than somebody's supper. Whose tentacle got stuck to a salad bowl served to Kihachiro Onitsuka. And became the inspiration for Onitsuka Tiger's breakthrough sports shoe innovation: the suction cup sole on the 1951 OK BASKETBALL SHOE. Its grip allowed players to make the fast breaks and sudden stops essential to the game. Little wonder the Japanese high school team that first wore the shoes won their championship.


Story of a bath

Kihachiro ONITSUKA had a eureka moment as he watched steaming hot water wrinkle his toes in the bath. Onitsuka had been shown blister-promoting forms by a university medical professor, and he realized that heat causes running blisters. This inspired him to focus on better air circulation for long-distance running shoes. Drilling holes into shoes proved to be an epochal discovery in 1960. The MAGIC RUNNER was not only more lighweight, but also offered excellent air circulation.


The need for speed

Japanese innovation came into its own at the 1964 Tokyo Games. It was here that the iconic RUNSPARK debuted - Onitsuka Tiger's first fixed track spikes for athletes. Athletes could select from four different spike lengths, depending on track conditions. The line featured a number of shoe structures, including a heel with layers of soft sponge to help absorb shock upon impact with the ground.


The birth of an icon

Changes made in 1966 are still evident today. The Onitsuka Tiger stripe first appeared that year and still adorns the sides of Onitsuka Tiger and ASICS shoes. The stripe first appeared on the LIMBER UP Leather BK, introduced for the 1968 Mexico Olympic Game.


An athletic forerunner

By performing excellently at major international events, Onitsuka Tiger earned its stripes as one of Japan's top sports shoe makers. And the rest of the world took notice. American middle-distance runner and Bill Bowerman protege Phil Knight met with Mr. Onitsuka as part of his MBA studies in marketing athletic shoes. He was inspired to set up Blue Ribbon Sports to bring Onitsuka Tiger shoes to the US. The company was soon to become Nike, while Onitsuka Tiger later created the TIGER CORTEZ in response to a request from Blue Ribbon Sports.


The modern jogger takes shape

The CALIFORNIA was made for jogging. It helped maintain the arch of the foot and give firm support to the toes, while the form-fitting insole allowed enough room for the toes to move. The wide, rounded heel aided in balance while landing, and the wide, curved-up toe assisted in forward movement.

As a safety feature, the CALIFORNIA also had reflective patches stitched on the back of the shoes, so that drivers could see the runner from 300 meters away at night or on rainy days.

Through our commitment to detail and innovation, which has remained unchanged since our founding, Onitsuka Tiger will continue to create the bright future.