ASICS Gel Lyte III vs. Gel Lyte V

ASICS Gel Lyte III vs. Gel Lyte V

In 2012 at the London Olympic Games, the Dutch Olympic delegation chose the ASICS GT-II as their official shoe and wore it throughout the opening and closing ceremonies. The delegation made a statement by embodying the philosophy behind the brand – Anima Sana in Corpore Sano (ASICS) that translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body,” a befitting stage for a shoe draped in orange suede with a nylon upper, 3M-trim form stripe, colors from the Dutch flag on the sole and top eyelets along with ‘Nederland’ on the insole.

Uma Thurman & her Stunt Double Zoë Bell at the sets of Kill Bill in Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi LE Shoes. Click Image for Source.

Kihachiro Onitsuka founded Onitsuka Tiger back in 1949 which by 1977 came to be known as ASICS. The brand churned out some of the greatest runners throughout the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s. One of the legendary designers Shigeyuki Mitsui who also partly worked on the GT-II and Epirus is the brain behind the infamous Gel Lyte III, which is one of the silhouettes of our interest today in our this-or-that series. Since IV is considered an unlucky number in Japan, the progression from the Gel Lyte III was the Gel Lyte V but it did not come about until 1993.


Gel Lyte III

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t the Gel Lyte III that started the trend of the split tongue. The LD-Racer and the GT-Racer had the split tongue before GL3 was even born. Regardless, it was the GL3 without a doubt that made it popular. The GL3 was yet another retro that ASICS brought back massively and is probably the single shoe from the ASICS line that has maximum collaborations to its name.

  1. Split Tongue (that doesn’t slip to the side while running or walking like a standard tongue)
  2. Triple Density Sole
  3. True to Size fit
  4. Great Shape
  5. Excellent heel and arch support
  6. Very Comfortable
  7. Lightweight mesh, nylon and synthetic suede upper
  8. 3M reflective detailing on the heel and toe
  9. Two-tone mid-sole
  10. Lightweight


Gel Lyte V

The Gel Lyte V borrows very little from the Gel Lyte III in terms of design. Despite the overall shape being somewhat similar, both the silhouettes differ vastly in terms of how the upper is constructed, the mono tongue fit system, branding, midsole, paneling, overlays, and more.

ASICS Gel Lyte V
  1. Perforation before the toebox seam
  2. Branding close to the ankle
  3. Absence of a plastic insert for heel support
  4. Different paneling and overlays on the upper (compared to the GL3)
  5. Single neoprene bootie construction for snug fit around the ankle
  6. Very Comfortable
  7. Excellent shape
  8. Softer mid-sole
  9. Lightweight
  10. True to Size fit
  11. Signature wave/dripping design on the midsole
  12. 3M reflective detailing on the heel



There is a clear trade-off here. While the split tongue of the GL3 is a unique feature in that it physically changes the way the shoe fits and has a bit of a shock value, the GLV with its mono tongue fit system and harder density waving U-shaped feature on the mid-sole heel increases stability and cushioning. The neoprene bootie can be seen on a lot of shoes including some very popular skate shoes to keep the shoe on the foot during extreme shredding sessions. However, the GL3 looks less clunkier and soggy compared to the GL5 which with its meaty profile can come across as a heavier looking shoe. The way the panels and overlays are stitched onto the upper of each silhouette also makes them look very different from each other aesthetically. There are several collabs out there and both the silhouettes have adorned a plethora of materials with much ease. Personally, I’d pick at least one pair of each for their uniqueness across the board and would highly recommend the same to you.

All Images – ASICS

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