Jun 22, 2011 12:00AM

Asics by Junya Watanabe

These ones aren't for wearing with pencil skirts and nylons.

Junya Watanable sure knows what a sweet pair of kicks looks like. He may be more often associated with the monocrome collections he designs under the Commes des Garçons umbrella, but what a Commes collection lacks in zebra print accents and fluorescent pink laces his latest collaboration with Asics more than makes up for. Watanabe is no stranger to shoe collabs, having worked with sneaker companies Converse, MAD Foot!, PRO-Keds and Reebok as well as creating a range of vivid perforated wingtips for bespoke shoe manufacturer Tricker’s. He has now lent his talents to the Gel Lyte III, creating a zebra print and patent leather sneaker with the midsole highlighted in muted gold.

Considering that inline running shoes have an intrinsic ugliness about them, it is a testament to Watanabe’s understanding of modern fabrics and technologically advanced materials that his vibrant Gel Lyte is actually not ugly at all. It’s an eye-catching shoe, but one that you can imagine peeping out from the baggy plaid jeans of a Tokyo hipster rather than from the awkwardly short trousers of a mid-30s suit who walks to work to save on gym fees. Fittingly, the release is Japan-only — so unless you're planning a trip around October you'll have to stick with your ugly-as-sin Gel Frantics.


Hannah Ongley