It is good to have rules. Rules make all the difference. When it comes to sneakers, those rules get stricter. There are parameters I simply cannot compromise on and that’s the most important rule, even though it’s not the only one – quality, comfort, story, boutique’s past reputation and releases, do they deserve my money, does the brand rock with me, do our vibes match, would I say yes if they seeded me a pair, etc. all come into play in no particular order. At the end of the day, if I cannot vouch for something or someone, I will not pitch it/him/her to you. That’s another rule.
A Gel Lyte III is a very familiar silhouette to me. So the comfort part is something I have no bones to pick with. The things I do not know about the particular release like how does this release feel in hand, what are the extras in the box, etc. then take precedence. Another thing I know for sure is that when Deon and his brand Concepts touch something, they like to do it right than do it quick. Their past releases have never disappointed and everything they do is unique, to me. Their focus on storytelling surrounds the product with extra stuff in terms of amazing packaging, extra laces, history, art work, etc. that makes the product so much more desirable than a competitor’s drop. After pestering them repeatedly, when I heard from Asics India that the drop was coming to India and I would be one of the lucky folks to get a pair gifted, I was over the moon. Knowing that it was Concepts’ 25th anniversary too was a no brainer. In light of the other famous food themed sneakers done by CNCPTS, I knew this would become part of my collection.
In recent years, the Japanese tuna went from being an unpopular fish to a delicacy with sushi enthusiasts spending millions (yes, with an M) on it. Named “Otoro” after Japanese tuna’s extra-fatty belly, the collab is a brilliant play of colors. The pink hues across the upper crafted from buttery pigskin suede, the 3M reflective bits representing the knives of a sushi chef and the flat green laces representing the dish’s partner in crime – Wasabi, the pair straight out of the box is a sight to behold. Unlike the jacked up saturation and sharpness sliders of Instagram influencers, it was a breath of fresh air to hold the pair in my hands and admire its unedited beauty. Unfortunately, the accompanying “Four Days” apparel collection that goes with this pair did not drop in India, which includes bright-colored T-shirts, a matching crewneck and sweat pant set.
The debossing on the lateral side proudly reads CONCEPTS on the right foot and the left foot adorns the good old Gel Lyte III, encrusted into the light pink buttery suede. The in-soles are teeming with a marine theme with the bluefin tuna on the left step and the Concepts as well a ASICS branding on the right step. The tiger stripes have 3M reflective hits on both the medial and lateral sides. The two signature Gel Lyte 3 “windows” as I call them are 3M too and help break the saturated color of the mudguard that surrounds a contrasting pink toebox. Finally, the heel reads “Gel” atop a 3M reflecting panel that helps offset the dark pink upper part with the lighter pigskin suede. The mid-sole and outsole keep the tonal details intact along with the flat tonal laces, unless you really want to throw on the green wasabi laces to be playful.
While the box left me desiring for more and so did the extras, I think outside of India it got a well-rounded drop with the matching apparel collection that made up for the “missing” stuff. I would have loved a set of light pink laces and a dust bag included in the box. Rocking a retail price of INR 12,999 in India, this is not a cheap shoe by any means and the extras on a collab always help justify the price. I am happy and thankful that ASICS India offered to seed me this pair and would cherish this release for years to come.