ASICS started with basketball sneakers made in founder Kihachiro Onitsuka's Japan living room in 1949 before making their way to the United States in 1977. But it was in 1986 that ASICS introduced its comfort-first Gel technology, designed to enhance cushioning, provide soft landings for the foot, and compete with Nike's Air efforts. Today, kicks like the GT-II and Gel-Lyte 3 are enjoying a refresh as ASICS collaborates with boutique sneaker shops and prominent names in streetwear.