Spring signals signs of growth, but Asics is aiming to cultivate a complete tennis collection for the fall.
We visited Asics’ New York City offices earlier this week for a sneak preview of its 2013 fall collection, which features deep jade, neon orange, and performance black as its primary color palette. The range represents a step forward for Asics, which can now market itself as a true head-to-toe tennis brand with the launch of its racquet line earlier this year.
The new collection is marked by its color coordination, performance fabrics, athletic silhouettes, and the integration of Asics’ distinctive Tiger stripe design into some of its new apparel pieces, as part of the brand’s aim to create synergy between its shoes and clothes.
“This is our first tennis global collection that creates true head-to-toe coordination across the entire line,” said Asics’ apparel product manager Kim Shelton. “You’ll see versions of the Asics’ stripes used throughout the new apparel in the detailing. The colors are vibrant, it’s a broader collection than our spring line, and our tennis line is also coordinated with our fitness and running line. So players training in extreme heat, for instance, can use some of our ultra-light running apparel, which matches our tennis line as well.”
The fall 2013 tennis apparel will be released on July 1, a month after Asics launches new versions of its flagship shoe, the Gel-Resolution 5 (along with the Gel-Solution Speed), in new cosmetics that put the footwear in style step with apparel. (See above photo for examples.) Asics says the new Gel-Resolution 5 shoes, which retail for $140 and come with a six-month outsole warranty, feature a thinner flexion fit upper for added comfort and lighter weight, plus a relocated trustic system, which is now embedded in the area above the outsole rather than exposed at the outsole. Asics says this redesign, inspired by consumer feedback, allows more outsole contact with the court. The new men’s version, available in sizes 7-13, 14, and 15, comes in black, white, and neon orange. The women’s version, offered in sizes 5-12, is white and green. Clay-court versions of the Gel-Resolution 5—the men’s is white, blue, and silver; the women’s is white, green, and silver—will also be released on June 1.
“Players who wear the Gel-Resolution are loyal to the shoe, and their suggestions were a reason for hiding the trustic system,” said Angela Reyes, Asics’ assistant product manager for footwear. “Now, there’s more rubber sole hitting the court on contact, which is important in tennis where you change direction. The upper is more pliable; it’s not as heavy as it was previously, so it’s a more comfortable shoe as well.”
Asics’ marquee players—2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur and flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils—will both make colorful statements on court at the 2013 U.S. Open. Stosur is scheduled to wear the green Racket Dress (MSRP: $80) and a matching black Racket Jacket with green piping (MSRP: $90). Monfils is expected to wear the Gel-Solution Speed (MSRP: $130), which is lighter and lower to the ground than Stosur's shoe of choice, the Gel-Resolution 5. The Gel-Solution Speed will be available in black, neon orange, and white for men, and green, black, and silver for women.
“Sam Stosur is fantastic to work with and she provides us with very honest feedback about what she needs to perform her best on court,” said Shelton. “For instance, with the shock orange color, she told us, ‘I’m not comfortable wearing something that bright on court,’ so we adjusted. Sam will be wearing green at the U.S. Open. She typically likes to train in shorts and tanks and wears dresses for her matches.”
Some of the new tops and polos for women feature mesh panels and cinched-in waists for a more fitted feel and feminine silhouette. The new black Court Skapri ($60) merges a skort with capri leggings, features two ball pockets in the capri, draw cords on the side, and should be ideal for women who play on cool autumn mornings.
Monfils is set to wear a “shocking orange” sleeveless t-shirt version of the Resolution Polo, which is also available in black and white and retails for $55. Monfils will pair the tee with the black-and-orange Resolution Short ($60). American Steve Johnson will also wear the Resolution Polo. Both pieces incorporate Tiger stripe details and mesh panels for breathability.
Like Stosur, Monfils, who began wearing Asics in January, likes to forgo sleeves for freedom of movement in hot conditions.
“First of all, I need my clothes to be comfortable. For example, sleeveless tops in extreme conditions and t-shirts indoors," Monfils told TENNIS.com. "I take a lot of inspiration from U.S. sports so of course larger shorts are also an important component of what I like. As for the colors, anything flashy!"