Sneaker Report is used to a daily dose of ridiculously loud running sneakers, but none is bolder than the Asics GEL-NOOSA TRI collection, providing a triathlon-friendly runner for athletes looking to stick out since 2001.
Here in the USA, it's safe to say that Asics is known as a staple brand when it comes to running sneakers. The Japanese company has been ready to equip athletes with the right kicks for the past 65 years, steadily growing to accomodate every sport imaginable from cheerleading to badminton. But here in the states, Asics is best known for their running kicks as the second most successful brand next to Nike. This influence is derived from their mantra, 'A sound mind in a sound body' as well as sponsoring major events including the NYC Marathon, a global force of a race. For a Japanese brand with such a soothing motto, we at Sneaker Report were curious about the concept behind this head-turner of a sneaker.
With the GEL-NOOSA TRI collection now in it's seventh successful generation, Sneaker Report reached out to Mark Doherty, the General Manager of Footwear with ASICS Australia, to get the story on the brand's flashiest sneaker.
The NOOSA Collection has become a favorite in the running community, can you talk about your involvement with its evolution over the years?
Mark Doherty: It started long before the Noosa with a shoe called GEL BONDI that had a multi-colored heel. Then the GEL FORSTER TRI came out and it was an all neon colored shoe. Forster is where the Australian Ironman used to be held, so the GEL NOOSA TRI came about after the Ironman event moved to Pt Macquarie and unfortunately that is not such a cool name for a shoe. In conjunction, we had just signed the Noosa Triathlon event. Hence the name, GEL-NOOSA TRI.
Can you take us through that design process?
Triathletes love to express themselves through color and the latest in technology so we wanted the shoes to be loud. Secondly, we felt that shoes had become to predictable (bland and boring) so we wanted to make a statement. What better shoe to do it with than the GEL-NOOSA TRI? Also, the world had just experienced the horrible 9/11 tragedy, we all needed a way to express ourselves with something uplifting and fun.
"The GEL-NOOSA TRI is a global phenomenon. The NOOSA became known as a sneaker that was fun, that allowed for an expression of ones individuality...oh and by the way, it was a heck of a performance running shoe."
We aren't used to such a colorful print here in the US, is this a popular style for Asics overseas in Australia and Asia?
GEL-NOOSA TRI is a global phenomenon. The NOOSA became known as a sneaker that was fun, that allowed for an expression of ones individuality...oh and by the way, it was a heck of a performance running shoe. Consumers worldwide have gravitated to what this shoe represents.
How would you define this sneaker? Spirited? Ugly? Fun?
Certainly fun and spirited, but the number one goal of the product was to be unique. We knew we had a unique product on our hands when copies ended up popping up all over from the competition.
Do you think that the aesthetic affects the runner's performance?
When a runner puts on the GEL-NOOSA TRI, they feel fast, they feel energized. How could you not!!
What should we expect next from the Noosa Collection, can you go bolder?
Bolder will be tough, the shoe has become known as being unique through color. I think we need to focus on how we can continue to be unique. That execution moving forward may be different than the use of just color I guess we will have to wait and see.
And finally, as a runner and Asics insider, what is your favorite running shoe of all time? The GT-2020. It was the fouth version of the legendary GT-2000 series from Asics. It was my first one that I worked on when I joined the company and was the shoe that I did the majority of my training in when I ran my first NYC Marathon. It will always be near and dear to me. I ran the actual race in my next favorite shoe of all time the GT-Cool Express.
Thanks to Mark and the Asics team, click above to see the full NOOSA collection.