Onitsuka Tiger Corsair


Inception 1969
Inventor Onitsuka Tiger

The Onitsuka Tiger Corsair is an iconic shoe from the Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger and has an important place in the history of running shoes.

First introduced in 1969, the Corsair was designed specifically for long distance running.

Unlike the brand's previous models, the Onitsuka Tiger Corsair features a unique cushioning system. This model was one of the first to use a dual-layer EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) sole, providing excellent shock absorption and improved running comfort.

The original Corsair design was classic and recognisable, with "tiger stripes" on the sides and a contrasting colour scheme. The upper material is a combination of natural and synthetic leather, giving the model a stylish look and increasing its durability.

Since its introduction, the Corsair has been slightly modified but retains its classic aesthetic and functionality. Today, it remains a popular choice among brand enthusiasts for its style and comfort, perfect for running or just everyday wear.

Litigation with Nike

In the mid-1970s, a conflict arose between Nike and Onitsuka Tiger that eventually led to a lawsuit. The dispute was over a sneaker model that Onitsuka Tiger called the "Corsair", while Nike called it the "Cortez".

Initially Nike, then known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was Onitsuka Tiger's distributor in the USA. However, after the relationship between the two companies deteriorated, BRS began to develop its own line of footwear. One of the first models they released was the "Cortez" trainers.

It should be noted that both the Corsair and the Cortez were very similar in design, as both models were based on the same original Onitsuka Tiger model.

In 1974, Onitsuka Tiger sued Nike, claiming that Nike had illegally used the name "Cortez". This case was one of the first significant lawsuits in the sports footwear industry and drew considerable attention to both companies.

In the end, the court ruled in Nike's favour, finding that Onitsuka Tiger had failed to prove that "Corsair" and "Cortez" were synonymous. This meant that Nike could continue to sell its "Cortez" trainers.

Since then, the two models have become some of the most popular of their brands, and despite this legal dispute, each has maintained its place in the history of sports footwear.

Gallery of the Onitsuka Tiger Corsair model