Asics teams up with Architect Kengo Kuma to design the Woven MetaRide AMU

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Who is Kengo Kuma?

Kengo Kuma is a Renowned Japanese architect and master of design. Kuma is known for his innovative form, attention-grabbing aesthetic, and rule-defying works of art. He is responsible for the design of Japan’s National Stadium for the upcoming 2020 Olympics. He is also famous for merging his design with natural elements and prefers locally-sourced materials. A key theme in his architectural design is the connection of people to the earth.

The Collaboration

 Japanese footwear brand ASICS has reached out to Kuma to design a special edition trainer using the MetaRide silhouette. Kuma realizes that creating a building is not different from creating shoes because, for him, they both start the same way – by observing the way that people move and feel. This is Kuma’s first-ever footwear design, and just like his buildings, he wanted it to stand out and stay true to his philosophy. 

Image via @ASICS

And stand out it does. The collaboration of ASICS and Kengo Kuma has produced a trainer like no other. To start with, the classic MetaRide shape of ASICS is the base of this design. The MetaRide shape is in itself a masterpiece. It curves upward towards the toes as it prevents too much ankle bending. This shape also reduces energy consumption. 

The Design

Drawing on inspiration from the traditional Japanese art of bamboo weaving called yatara ami, the shoe features an interwoven pattern of white strips. According to Kuma, the design was based on the Japanese belief of ‘connecting lines’. The culture believes that while a single line is weak, a bundle of strategically interconnected lines is strong. The natural elements of Bamboo captivated Kuma. He wanted to translate bamboo’s ability to both be hard and soft at the same time to shoe form.

With the ASICS Woven MetaRide AMU, ancient techniques are artfully combined with advanced technology to create what this renowned architect calls his “smallest building.”

image via

Combining form and functionality, the ASICS Woven MetaRide AMU has all the elements of classic sneaker design, yet it looks contemporary and modern. The shoes’ upper is a slip-on mono-sock. Kengo created the upper by overlaying with a criss-cross pattern of white strips. It perfectly imitates the way that bamboo, a supple and flexible material, is plaited and interlocked in yatara ami. The knitting pattern then creates a solid structure. The interlocking layers of the sneakers adapt naturally to the foot’s movement. Toggle laces secure everything in place.

Materials Used

Kengo Kuma made this shoe from recycled polyester. Kengo knitted purposefully in order to stabilize the foot. They converge elegantly to form the ASICS logo on the side. The shoe is all-white except for the tan midsole, which beautifully breaks the monotony of white. The tan color comes from the natural cellulose nanofibers in the material. The material captivated Kuma because of its opposing functions of advanced cushioning and durability. He also prefers the natural tan hue instead of the usual dyed color. The outsole is white and there is a shock-absorbing gel on the heel.

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