First designer of Asics running shoes "GEL-KAYANO TRAINER" released in 1993.
He is affectionately nicknamed “Kayano” by runners, and is the person from whom the model name was derived.
KICKS LAB. interviewed about "EX89" based on the first work of Shunichi Kayano, who worked on the ASICS "Gerukayano" series.
---Please tell us about Mr. Kayano's background.
I have worked for this company for 36 years.
I joined the company in 1987, but at that time, domestic sales and overseas sales were still divided, and at that time, the design and hierarchy of planning for overseas and domestic sales were divided, and I was in charge of products for overseas. I was.
At this time, I was first in charge of products for overseas markets, especially "GEL-EXTREME" for the US market.
After that, there is a product called "GEL-KAYANO", but it is the flow that I was in charge of running shoes.
---Please tell us how you came to work at ASICS.
My hometown is Sakaiminato in Tottori Prefecture, and there was an Onitsuka factory there.
When I was a child, I often walked to school and saw the factory, thinking that it was a splendid and beautiful factory. I have fond memories.
There are other reasons why I chose ASICS, but there were various courses when I got a job. I wanted to become a teacher, and later I was offered a job at a game maker, but in the long run, working as a teacher and being a game maker would be harsh working conditions. Sports help me stay healthy, and I was told that I would be hired as a designer.
I remember well, why did the interviewer choose Sports Maker?
When I asked the question, I answered, "Sports equipment will never disappear.
That's why I chose Sports Maker. …I remember saying something like this.
---I heard that you have been with ASICS for 36 years.
First of all, this "GEL-EXTREME" that I was in charge of when I was a new employee. It's a basketball shoe. It was made without knowing the right or left (laughs)
The other is a running shoe called “GEL-KAYANO”.
It was released in AW in 1993, but it was originally for the United States as well. At that time, it was a planned product for overseas.
Also, there is a running shoe called "GEL-SAGA", and I am also in charge of this "GEL-SAGA".
Speaking of running shoes, I was actually the first to be in charge of the GT2000 New York, as well as the other GEL-NIMBUS. This product is paired with "GEL-KAYANO". I've been in charge of that too.
---There are so many! (smile)
There are so many!
There is also a product called “GEL-FUJI” and a triathlon shoe called “NOOSA TRI”. I was in charge of that as well. .
After that, there is another masterpiece as a masterpiece!
Ichiro's spikes too!
---Oh, that's right! I didn't know that!
Also, I was in charge of "GEL-KINSEI", so I can't list too many. is not it.
---Please tell us about the "GEL-EXTREME" that you mentioned in the story just now.
I was a new employee at the time. (Laughs) Actually nothing, anyway, it's a product for America. The American sales company of Asics wanted to sell basketball shoes, so I was asked to make something cool as a new employee with high expectations. At first, it was just a request to make it. When I noticed later, I was told that the players of the American professional basketball team that asics America has a contract with would wear them. I should have said that first. (smile)
---I heard that you designed "GEL-EXTREME".
During the new employee training, the training was cut off on the way and I was in charge. After all, I joined the company with the ability to work immediately, and anyway, a smart young guy joined the company, and he seemed to be able to speak English a little, so I couldn't do it. (smile)
Since I have never been to the United States in the first place, I wondered what kind of country it was. That's the image I had in mind at first, but luckily at that timing, I decided to go on a business trip to the United States.
It was my first time to go to America, so I was impressed to see the American continent from the sky.
Interesting, the Grand Canyon really looks like cracks.
To be honest, I didn't really understand the functionality, so I developed it while asking various seniors.
Basketball has a lot of different movements, so I put together the design while listening to them.
---As for the characteristic part, it is this outsole.
I agree. Designed in the image of America.
---I think you are designing "GEL-EXTREME" and "GEL-KAYANO", but when designing your shoes, what do you pay particular attention to?
Simple. If it's not cool, people won't buy it.
When I was a designer, my motto was that coolness exudes functionality.
Of course, it is not good to give priority only to parentheses. It's not like ASICS, so after all, we put function as the first priority, and a form that wraps it in design, or a design that is just attached is uncool and not beautiful, so we designed it in a form that mixes both sides of function and design. I was thinking about doing
--- When you were a new employee, you were in charge of "GEL-EXTREME".
Honestly, it's so cool! (smile)
I couldn't see it at the time. I was reckless.
I kept in mind that I would like to express the Americanness while researching and understanding the trends of the world, the trends of sports, the sports industry, and the trends of the sports industry that are conscious of America in particular. rice field. It's a model that I enjoyed while studying various things.
--- Please tell us about the concept of "EX89".
*On behalf of Mr. Kayano, we had an ASICS marketing representative explain this.
Many of our coat-type sneakers have a white base with basic black and white lines, so we reprinted the "GEL-EXTREME", which has a distinctive coloring, to meet modern needs. The concept is to increase the variety of type shoes.
It was a glorious time in the late 80's. It's called American Sports. Especially basketball shoes. After all, I heard that I wanted something with that kind of atmosphere.
--- Please tell us about the highlights of the "EX89".
There are so many!
First of all, I said that the appearance is important, but there is a color coding on the lateral side and the sole. And it's slanted. The appearance is interesting, reminiscent of the fact that this is connected to Asics stripes. Unique, isn't it!
It's actually nothing to do with functionality. (smile)
That is the first point.
Also, I think about playing basketball, and I put a groove in the heel.
This groove is a groove for enhancing the so-called cushioning property. This is a functional point.
The sole is thought to be designed with a catchy image, but it actually has grooves to improve flexibility. The sole is made with functionality in mind.
Designers in the 80's and 90's have designs in which the parts are stacked on top of each other. I call it stack design. It is reinforced properly.
---Is there a hidden history of "EX89"?
I have this too!
At that time, this plastic part was called pig nose eyelet. This is actually race rock. When I put on the shoes, especially the front part from the toe is loose, so they come off, so I added this plastic eyelet as a device to firmly lock the foot and the shoe.
This is different from how to pass through the shoe laces.
This is the normal way. *Please refer to the photo.
Instead of passing it through only one place, passing it through two places will allow the toe to be locked firmly.
This is the biggest functional point in the upper part.
This method of threading the laces is the same for both "GEL-EXTREME" and "EX89". Please try by all means try!
<To be continued>
The first part is about "GEL-EXTREME" and "EX89".
In the second part, we interview Mr. Kayano about his representative shoes, "GEL-KAYANO". It will be published in the near future. looking forward to!