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The ASICS International Lyte Wrestling Shoe is the ultimate blast from the past that so many wrestling sneaker heads have been waiting for. It was consistently one of the most popular competition shoes all through the 80’s and 90’s, particularly among elite collegiate and international level athletes. Even after going out of production, it remained a bit of a cult classic, thus prompting the re-release. This high-performance, classic throwback is one of the most comfortable wrestling shoes we’ve ever come across. When you put your feet in them, it just feels right. Thanks to ASICS’ Mono-Sock Fit System, it will feel like you’re wearing…well…socks. Although, hopefully you’re also wearing real socks as well or your feet will get more nasty than they already are. There is plenty of padding in all the right places, especially around the ankle.
As is typical for any ASICS wrestling shoe, the International Lyte was designed with quality, attention to detail, and style in mind. While it has a fairly minimalist and retro looking style, each aspect of the shape, fit, and materials were carefully designed for superior performance, durability, and comfort. The upper is made almost entirely of a super suede Escaine material that is both highly durably and ultra-lightweight. On the side, you’ll notice the “old school” style ASICS logo. The split outsole of the International Lyte is entirely unique to this shoe. It features a split sole which allows for the perfect balance of grip and flexibility, so you can move quickly to evade attacks and be ready to counter in an instant. To the untrained eye, it doesn’t appear to be very grippy, but anyone who’s worn them will tell you otherwise. If you look closely, you can see that the surface of the rubber grip area is almost like sandpaper, giving you air-tight traction on the mat. As the name implies, this shoe was originally designed for international style mats, like you see in the Olympics, which have a much different surface from typical mats you see in the U.S. and requires different features for top performance.
Any wrestling shoe sneaker head will know that there have been several different versions, colorways, and iterations of this model over the years. This re-release comes as close as possible to the very first version that ASICS made, with a few upgrades on the materials, using more advanced shoe making technology.
This rare unicorn of a wrestling shoe is considered part of ASICS’ Tiger line of premium sports footwear. ASICS Tiger is a lifestyle brand that came about between 1986 and 1991 when Japan had a resurgence and became the 2nd most powerful economy in the world. In 1986 they introduced alpha gel in their high-performance sports models, making this technological advancement an instant classic. The Tiger brand represents the interaction of Japanese heritage and modern flair, with an emphasis on infusing artistry, culture and innovation into their shoe designs. Only a few wrestling shoes have made the cut to be part of this exclusive and high-end Tiger brand, and the International Lyte is one of them.
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