Brand Onitsuka Tiger

Onitsuka Tiger

Founded 1949
Founder Kihachiro Onitsuka (jp. 鬼塚 喜八郎)
Engineered Japan
Manufacturer country Japan
Head office Japan, Kobe

Onitsuka Tiger is a Japanese sportswear and footwear brand, founded by Kihachiro Onitsuka in 1949 in Kobe, Japan.

The Onitsuka Tiger brand gained international recognition when Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike, began wearing Onitsuka Tiger shoes during his visit to Japan. Bill Bowerman was so impressed with the Japanese manufacturer's trainers that he decided to distribute them in the United States under the Blue Ribbon Sports brand, which later became Nike.

Blue Ribbon Sports' first deal was an order of 300 pairs of Onitsuka Tiger sneakers for resale in the US.

One of Onitsuka Tiger's most iconic designs is the Mexico 66, first introduced in preparation for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Onitsuka Tiger footwear is known for its comfort, durability and sleek designs. The brand's trainers have found their place in both the sports and fashion worlds.

In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with two other sporting goods companies - GTO and JELENK - to form ASICS.

Since 1977, Onitsuka Tiger footwear has been sold as part of the ASICS everyday lifestyle brand.

Popular Culture

Martial arts master Bruce Lee chose Onitsuka Tiger footwear for his training during the filming of the cult movie Enter the Dragon (1973). In addition, Jim Kelly, Bruce Lee's colleague on the set, was spotted in one of the film's spectacular fight scenes wearing a white and blue Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 sneaker.

In the cult film Kill Bill, Uma Thurman plays the heroine Beatrix Kiddo (The Bride). In one of the film's most memorable scenes, she wears a pair of yellow Onitsuka Tiger sneakers that mimic the shoes Bruce Lee wore in his film "Game of Death".

The sneakers that Uma Thurman wore in "Kill Bill" were the Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi model, and this model became quite popular after the release of the film.


THE ONITSUKA is a luxury apparel and footwear brand launching in 2019. An adaptation of the Onitsuka Tiger brand for the premium segment. The first capsule collection THE ONITSUKA × NICK WOOSTER is a collaboration with menswear fashion icon Nick Wooster. The collection features clothing and footwear made in Japan.


Mexico 66

The Mexico 66 model is named after the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico. The shoes were first introduced in preparation for the 1966 Olympics, hence the name "Mexico 66".

The design is simple but stylish, usually featuring a slim profile with a low toe and a design that incorporates two different colours of leather, suede or synthetic material. The upper features Onitsuka Tiger's signature "tiger stripes", often in a contrasting colour.

The Mexico 66 is known for its comfort, durability and versatile aesthetics that can be combined with many types of casual wear. The Mexico 66 has also gained a certain cultural status, partly due to its appearance in various films and media.

The Mexico 66 remains a popular model in the Onitsuka Tiger shoe range.


The Onitsuka Tiger Corsair is another iconic model in the Onitsuka Tiger range. Originally released in the 1970s as the Cortez, the name was later changed to Corsair due to a trademark dispute.

The Corsairs gained considerable recognition in the running world for their innovative design. It was one of the first running shoes to feature a dual-density midsole, which was designed to give runners better support and cushioning.

The shoe's midsole contains two different types of foam with different degrees of firmness. This design aims to provide better cushioning in the heel area and greater flexibility in the forefoot, reducing the risk of injury and improving overall comfort.

The upper of the Corsair is made of leather or suede and typically features Onitsuka Tiger's signature "Tiger Stripes". The slim, low profile design and relaxed aesthetics have made them popular with athletes and everyday wearers alike.

In terms of pop culture, the Corsairs are associated with Nike. Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was involved in the development of the original Onitsuka Tiger "Cortez". After a trademark dispute, Nike released its own version of the Cortez, which has become one of Nike's most popular styles.


The Onitsuka Tiger Tai-Chi is known for its minimalist, classic design; the trainers are not only comfortable, but also offer a flexible, snug fit that is ideal for both athletic and everyday wear.

Taking its name from the Chinese martial art of the same name, the Tai-Chi embodies balance, flexibility and calm.

The shoe design features soft leather or synthetic uppers for lightweight comfort and ease of movement.

The Onitsuka Tiger Tai-Chi gained widespread recognition when Uma Thurman's character in the film "Kill Bill" wore Onitsuka Tiger Tai-Chi shoes.