Having teamed up with sneaker supplier NAKED Copenhagen on a vegan-friendly offering in the third quarter of 2022, ASICS has brewed up something special for the progress-minded with its latest release.
An eco-friendly sneaker which brings its aesthetic inspirations into the material aspect, the GEL-LYTE™ III OG is the latest addition to the brand’s “Ocha Zome” collection, drawing more than just artistic inspiration from traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
The silhouette, designed by Shigeyuki Mitsui, Manager of ASICS’ Innovation Works Lab, is made almost entirely with recycled textiles and – unique to this particular offering – is colored using a nature-friendly dye created from tea. Or, more specifically, extracted from the waste of the rooibos tea production processes.
Eschewing animal-based materials across most of the shoe, this version of the GEL-LYTE III OG falls into the same trap as recent offerings from its competitors – following in the footsteps of New Balance, for example, whose recent hemp-based 550 also inexplicably featured animal leather. Suede overlays are, frustratingly, paired with breathable mesh underlays – the latter for breathability, while the former, presumably, for “style.”
Putting aside that inexplicable sense of missed opportunity, however, and while this shoe isn’t perfect by any means, there’s still plenty of planet-friendlier progress worth noting here. The sneaker’s upper is fashioned from cotton, made of at least 20% recycled materials, and – in a complimentary blend of process, philosophy and artistry – sports a natural color that matches its eco-friendly design. The sock liner, too, is produced using a solution dyeing process that reduces water usage and carbon emissions.
In addition, the shoe features the brand’s signature GEL™ technology unit in the midsole, which provides superior shock absorption and everyday comfort. The GEL-LYTE III OG also retains its iconic split-tongue design and original-inspired shape and tooling from ’90s.