Sneakerhead Must-Haves: The 6 Best ASICS Sneaker Models For Men

Image Credit: ASICS

It’s hard to stand out in a marketplace dominated by sportswear titans like Nike and Adidas. Few can compete when it comes to sheer budget and visibility, so to rise to the top of the pile, it comes down to reputation, quality of product and having a finger firmly on the pulse of ever-evolving footwear trends. In short, it takes a brand like ASICS.

Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, ASICS has been stomping the sneaker game since 1949. Its racing roots can be traced back to the iconic Onitsuka Tiger brand, which now operates as an outlet for ASICS’ heritage lifestyle models, and it’s responsible for some of the coolest shoes currently on the market. From athletic tracks to street corners, these kicks have evolved into a cultural phenomenon, blending style with performance to beautiful effect.

Despite all of this, ASICS is still very much an underdog in the sneaker game. It’s responsible for some great shoes, but it still sits firmly behind New Balance and Reebok in the global popularity stakes.

That said, those in the know have been touting ASICS as one of the hottest sneaker brands for some time now. This, combined with the relative scarcity of its shoes on the streets, makes it a solid option for anyone looking for an ‘It’ shoe that hasn’t yet reached saturation.

So, which styles should you be looking at in particular? Here are the ones we think every Ape reader should know.

GEL-Kayano 14

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 stands as a testament to the ASICS’ commitment to innovation and performance. Born in 2008 from a lineage of excellence, it carried forward the legacy of its predecessors while forging its own path in the realm of running footwear.

Originally introduced as a premium running shoe, the Kayano 14 has recently found favour with a more fashion-conscious audience, thanks mainly to the current Y2k revival.

What sets the GEL-Kayano 14 apart is its blend of stability and cushioning, which provides unparalleled support for long-distance runs or days traipsing around hip city neighbourhoods taking artsy Instagram photos. Its sleek silhouette and modern design make it a stylish choice for casual wearers, and ASICS’ signature GEL technology in the heel and forefoot ensures smoothness with every stride.

GT 2160

The ASICS GT 2160 is a modern classic in the company’s ever-growing footwear lineup. Developed as part of the renowned GT running shoe series, it’s another throwback performance shoe that has found its way into the brand’s lifestyle footwear offering thanks to its good looks and all-day comfort.

First introduced in the early 2010s, the GT 2160 design emphasises support and cushioning, giving it a chunky yet somehow streamlined shape that ties in perfectly with current sneaker trends. Incorporating ASICS’ DuoMax support system provides added stability without sacrificing flexibility, while the GEL cushioning in the heel ensures a smooth and comfortable feel on the foot.

Overall, it’s a solid casual option that’s perfect for anyone searching for a Y2K-style runner that isn’t completely played out yet.

Onitsuka Tiger Mexico ‘66

Hailed by fashion insiders as a potential successor to the Adidas Samba’s throne, this low-profile option from ASICS sub-brand Onitsuka Tiger has barely changed in half a century since its original launch for the Mexico 1966 Olympics. It features a slim silhouette, thin foam midsole, suede toe cap and not a whole lot else, but therein lies its beauty.

This simple, understated shoe goes with anything and everything, which is a big part of what makes it such a great alternative to the Samba. It’s incredibly versatile, easy to wear and looks as great today as it did almost 60 years ago.


The GEL-NYC is one of ASICS’ more recent additions to its lifestyle sneaker lineup. Launched in 2023, it is the result of a collaborative effort between the Japanese brand and Angelo Baque, founder of streetwear label Awake NY. It’s an obvious response to competitors enlisting streetwear creatives to help boost sales (think New Balance and ALD’s Teddy Santis), but it still feels very ASICS.

The shoe borrows design elements from several of the brand’s heritage silhouettes, fusing them together to create a shoe that feels both familiar and completely fresh.

It’s chunky and fun but also elegant and tasteful, making it a great everyday option for those seeking something on trend but a little different from the usual options.

Japan S

These days, ASICS is best known for its running shoes and 2000s throwback styles, but the Japan S goes against this with its simple design, flat sole and leather upper. It shares more in common with throwback court shoes than it does with retro runners, but it’s a classic all the same and a mainstay in the ASICS footwear offering.

The Japan S is based on an ASICS archive model from the early 1980s. Its design is typical of the era’s basketball shoes, featuring a clean white leather upper, contrast branding to the sides and a versatile low-top silhouette.

Novablast 4

With so much to choose from in the lifestyle department, it’s easy to forget that ASICS is first and foremost a running brand. In fact, many of the brand’s best-selling ‘Sportstyle’ sneakers started life as performance running shoes when they first launched.

The Novablast line was introduced in 2020 and has quickly become a core part of the brand’s running shoe offering. It’s one of the best daily trainers on the market, able to handle everything from easy runs to tempo work thanks to its winning blend of cushioning, responsiveness and energy return.

If you’re looking for a well-priced all-rounder that looks as good as it feels on foot, there are few better options.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.