Verdict from 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX is budget-friendly.
  • Many color options are available for the shoe.
  • Most buyers agree that the California 78 EX has good arch support.
  • The sneaker is well-made, according to a couple of testers.
  • It’s a very attractive shoe, many reviewers have praised.
  • Several wearers reveal that the Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX is incredibly comfortable once it’s broken in.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Most purchasers feel that the kicks run narrow and tight compared to other Onitsuka Tiger lifestyle shoes.
  • At least one commenter has grumbled that the tongue of the Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX was so thin.

Bottom line

The California 78 EX has the classic look of Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, complete with the Stripe on the sides for some retro styling. This unisex shoe is offered in many color options and has a budget-friendly price tag. The light and vibrant colors are just perfect for spring and summer. 

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX comes in unisex sizing. Ankle movement is unobstructed as the sneaker has a low-top collar. Laces tie up the front for a secure fit. It has a suede upper along with leather reinforcements, ensuring a durable and dependable feel for different activities.

With an athletic appeal, the low-top Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX can be paired with straight pants or shorts for a sporty look. Skinny jeans or leggings will heighten the sneaker’s elegant round toe look. Any top will go with the get-up. It’s also versatile enough to be dressed up or down, worn with dresses or jackets at any occasion. Colorful or patterned clothing and outfits in neutral shades will work with these kicks.

Featuring the Tiger Stripe on the sides, the Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX showcases the brand’s characteristic retro appeal. Even the Onitsuka Tiger label on the tongue adds a vintage flair to the shoe.

It has a suede upper, with leather reinforcements on the toe and heel and stitch detailing all over. The sole features the brand’s classic shark tooth-inspired design, while the heel detail completes the sneaker’s smooth finish.

After the Second World War, former Japanese military officer Kihachiro Onitsuka decided to establish his own shoe company, Onitsuka Co. Ltd. He wanted to produce sports shoes to increase the morale of the post-war youth. After several tries, he was able to produce a pioneering basketball shoe that became popular all over Japan. He would then work with several champion runners to create innovative running shoes.

In 1966, the company introduced a stripe design on a shoe called LIMBER, which later became the iconic Mexico 66 shoe. The stripe symbol is now the Tiger Stripe, a hallmark in the brand’s history, which is featured in many Tiger shoes. In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger merged with GTO and JELENK to become the Asics Corporation. Today, Asics distributes vintage sneakers through the Onitsuka Tiger label.

In continuation of its long heritage of functional and straightforward footwear, Onitsuka Tiger updated its California 78 shoe. As implied by the name, it was first created in 1978 in California, targeted towards the jogging craze that was trendy back then. The shoe was reimagined to produce the Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX, which is made to have a more “experienced” design.

Maintaining the original model’s classic silhouette, the California 78 EX features a retro look. It also prominently features the Tiger Stripe for an elegant touch. Unlike its predecessor, which was made for performance, this running-inspired Onitsuka Tiger sneaker is geared more for casual activities. It balances a sports-inspired look with features that offer comfort and style.

  • Ortholite is used in the insole to improve cushioning and comfort.
  • Shock absorption and support are provided by the EVA midsole along with the added heel cup. 
  • On the rubber outsole is an aggressive tread design.
  • The collar is padded for a comfortable feel around the ankle.


How Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 15% sneakers
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Bottom 33% Onitsuka Tiger sneakers
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Bottom 15% low sneakers
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The current trend of Onitsuka Tiger California 78 EX.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.