Who should buy the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 might suit you well if:

  • You are after a sneaker that stays comfortable from sunrise to sundown. 
  • You prefer a shoe with a cozy platform to lessen the chance of getting foot pains.  
  • Stylish and vegan-friendly sneakers are what you are looking for.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Logo

Who should not buy the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

Look elsewhere if a shoe that could stay undamaged for a long time is what you are after. The Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 might be a better pair for you. Also, sneakerheads in search of a shoe for wet surfaces may look past this Onitsuka model. They might want to check out the Onitsuka Tiger Fabre BL-S 2 and see if it fits the bill. 

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Not Buy

Breathability against blisters

According to several reviewers, the corduroy forefoot of the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 is airy, which prevents the toes from getting blisters.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Forefoot

Sustained comfiness

Lots of buyers have commended the softly-padded collar, which keeps wearers comfortable when standing and walking all day.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Collar2

A cozy and protective cradle 

The footbed of this sneaker is well cushioned, which minimizes the chances of having intolerable foot aches. Also, the three holes on the heel of this shoe from Onitsuka Tiger boost the shock absorption feature of this shoe, several wearers have noted.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Midsole

Grippy and stable

The circular traction pattern of this Onitsuka pair offers a stable grip, especially on flat and dry surfaces many have said.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Outsole2

For the vegans

Those who advocate vegan clothing and footwear are ultimately drawn to this sneaker which comes in a couple of designs made of sustainable and durable non-leather materials. The low-top Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 designs are not only built using animal-friendly components but rendered in a stylish and versatile format using dual-tone EVA foam midsole, forward-looking outsole, and flexible TPU heel.

The former racer is dressed with natural fibers that allow room for the feet to breathe, preventing excessive sweating and discomfort. The use of these green materials keeps its overall form lightweight, reducing tons of load from the foot. The colors are kept subdued which makes this sneaker a perfect mate for solid and light-toned pants, shorts, and skirts.  

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Vegan

Flexible sole unit

The sole of the Tiger Ultimate 81 does not constrict foot movements since it bends easily.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Sole2

A modernized style

Loyal followers of the Onitsuka Tiger running series are reacquainted with the modernized version of the 1980s premier runner the Ultimate 81, while the new breed of sneaker enthusiasts are introduced to this iconic figure that changed the game of running back in the day.

The returnee Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 low-top sneaker is as elegant as ever, dressed in a graceful mix of textile and faux leather. Plus it is made a lightweight and stable built for prolonged use. Moreover, its attractive designs and fascinating color combinations make it a desirable option year-round.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Style

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 History

Once regarded as a technical runner, the Ultimate 81 makes its comeback, decked with modernized styling while preserving its 1980s athletic makeup. The bold look of the former racer is kept with the new style, named Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81. The novel form may have exited the race tracks and taken a detour into the urban streets, yet it managed to remain active and suitable for a myriad of daily light-bearing activities.

Onitsuka Tiger isn’t a new brand that popped in early 2000. This Japanese footwear label is one of the prominent sporting goods manufacturers that made waves since its inception during the post-war period in 1949. Back in the day, Onitsuka Tiger was one of the most reliable athletic shoe companies in the running and other sports interests. This name also became a staple in the Olympic scene and major marathon competitions in New York City and Boston.

In 1977, Onitsuka Tiger was rebranded as ASICS after it cemented a deal with sportswear and net manufacturer GTO and knitwear producer Jelenk. For a time the Onitsuka Tiger label was taken away from the limelight.

Under the triumvirate label, ASICS became more aggressive with its development of athletic footwear. It opened a Kobe-based research facility where it conducted stringent technical tests for the improvement of its performance footwear line, particularly in the field of running. Soon ASICS became a popular name with its production of cutting-edge running shoes.

By 1981, the ASICS research facility began spewing state-of-the-art running shoes; and the very first product was the Ultimate 81. Such footwear was formulated with the highest standards in areas of comfort, heel support, and shock absorption. After its launch, a series of highly-acclaimed running sneakers began to emerge from the new Tiger headquarters, which includes the prominent X-Caliber and Gel Lyte series.

With high demand coming from its avid supporters, the Onitsuka Tiger resurfaced in 2002. ASICS maintained its position in the market as a producer of technical sports shoes, while the Onitsuka Tiger focused on restoring iconic sneakers that made its brand distinct. The refashioned silhouettes are no longer appropriate for their original function, but their designs are relevant for modern-day lifestyles. The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 is one of the top breeds in such a lineup.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 History

Additional info

  • Among the purely vegan colorways under the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 are the mid-gray/burgundy, moor rock/ white, silver/black, black/ black, mallard blue/black, glacier gray/white.
  • The upper is made of hard-wearing and breathable textile covering with synthetic leather overlays.
  • The rubber outsole comes up to the toe for enhanced reinforcement.
  • This sneaker comes in over 20 different colorways.
  • Japanese inspired-lifestyle brand established by Italian artist Simone Legno in Los Angeles, California ties up with the Tiger company in formulating the Tokidoki x Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Colorways

Facts / Specs

Style: Classic, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Closure: Laces
Material: Mesh, Rubber Sole, Gum Sole, EVA / Fabric
Season: Spring, Summer
Features: Breathable

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Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 unboxing and on-feet videos

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.