Few players in tennis are as light on their feet as Novak Djokovic, the reigning world No. 1.
Outside of the Serbian’s athletic gifts, the 33-year-old’s ASICS Court FF is among the many weapons in his arsenal.
The high-performance shoe features a flexible midfoot for stability, especially vital for when a player stops and turns to chase down a shot. As well, the Mono-Sock construction adds to the overall support.
The company has been around for decades, dating back to Sept. 1, 1949, when it was known as Onitsuka Co., Ltd. and based in Kobe, Japan.
ONITSUKA Co. Ltd in Kobe & Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka (image: asics.com)
In recent years, ASICS footprint has reached the tennis world after the company had comfortably established itself in track and field and baseball.
ASICS is now worn not only by Djokovic and some of the game’s top players, but also holds a significant share of the consumer market in tennis.
The shoes recent popularity on the court stems from their ability to offer stability, safety and style.
The company founder, the late Kihachiro Onitsuka, helped oversee much of the company’s evolution until his death in 2007 at the age of 89.
Originally, Onitsuka Co. launched a line of basketball shoes in the spring of 1950 before creating its first wrestling shoe, and then in 1953 with a line of marathon shoes.
Basketball shoe and Marathon shoe (image: asics.com)
The company would find its footing on the track and pavement before the ASICS brand began to produce baseball cleats during the 1970s.
Direct Injection Method Soccer Cleat Released 1972 (image: asics.com)
Never satisfied, Onitsuka continued to push his company forward.
ASICS first branched out with a lifestyle product, designing the first Tiger tennis shoe that featured a clear, durable rubber outer sole. In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO and JELENK to form ASICS Corporation.
Birth of ASICS Co. Ltd. 1977 (image: asics.com)
Despite the name change, a vintage range of ASICS shoes are still produced and sold internationally under the Onitsuka Tiger label.
ASICS stands for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which means “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
"Sport: the Universal Language" was the original corporate slogan of ASICS but in the late 1980s, the company refined their brand with a new tagline, “Sports Technology for Active Lifestyles.”
Various Asics Shoes over time (image: asics.com)
In 2016, the Flame Series product line was released, promoting the concept of “connection.” This means connecting to the world, connecting people, connecting mind with body and connecting past with future. The series featured 19 products across six key sports—track & field, tennis, rugby, hockey, volleyball, and wrestling.
Djokovic and Monfils have raised the profile and popularity of the brand. On the women’s side, rising German star Julia Goerges wears the Solution Speed FF. The shoe features a gel-cushioning system in both the front and back and a patented FlyteFoam midsole for extra insulation.
There’s no disputing that ASICS has put the full weight of their considerable research and development facilities into the manufacturing of high-quality tennis shoes and their investment is paying off. Following a company decision to get more involved with tennis, they now have a shoe to suit all types of player.