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ASICS will be retiring all four OG colorways of its iconic GEL-Lyte 3, after bringing them back for the silhouette’s 30th anniversary this year. The colorways will be shelved as a sign of respect to Mr. Mitsui-san, the original designer of the GEL-Lyte 3, who is also retiring soon.
Though footwear trends have moved on from the runner craze of the late noughts and early 2010’s — during which the GL3 was a major player — the model remains one of ASICS’ most iconic and a collectors’ favorite.
As the sneaker’s name suggests, it features ASICS’ GEL technology, which was developed in the late ’80s and is still used in performance sneakers today. It also features mesh underneath the ASICS Tiger stripes, a 3M reflective heel tab, and released in extremely colorful colorways — all features that were deemed unnecessary at first by the powers that be at ASICS, but Mitsui-san fought to include in the design as he felt the shoe had to stand apart from other streamlined performance shoe designs.
In an interview with the late Gary Warnett, Mitsui-san said: “There were people in design division that are not so intelligent — especially me! I’m really foolish. So the intelligent opinion [when designing a shoe] is very theoretical and considered. This creates high-quality performance shoes, but too much theoretical consideration in designing can lead to a boring design. Too simple and too clean.”
The GEL-Lyte 3 sought to avoid a boring and simple design with the aforementioned details, as well as the split-toe tongue borrowed from the ASICS LD-Racer and a tri-density sole, which ultimately became the benchmark for comfort in performance running.
Thirty years and countless collaborations with the likes of Patta, Ronnie Fieg, Afew, and many more later, the ASICS GEL-Lyte 3’s four OG colorways are being put into the archive. The silhouette itself will live on — as it has for the past 30 years — but collectors that still need to add the original colorways to their rotation should look to do that sooner, rather than later.
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