Verdict from 100+ user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • According to several reviewers, the corduroy forefoot of the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 is airy, which prevents the toes from getting blisters.
  • Lots of buyers have commended the softly-padded collar, which keeps the feet comfortable all day.
  • Its footbed is decently cushioned, which minimizes the chances of having intolerable foot aches.
  • The three holes on the heel of this shoe from Onitsuka Tiger boost the shock absorption feature of this shoe, several wearers have noted.
  • The rubber sole of the Ultimate 81 shoe is fantastic on most flat and dry surfaces.
  • The circular traction pattern offers stable grip, many have said.
  • Its general construction is comfortable enough for whole day use.
  • Consumers who support vegan sneakers are attracted to the sustainable materials used in some of the designs of the low-top Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81.
  • The sole does not constrict foot movements since it bends easily.
  • Its attractive designs, fascinating color combinations, and high-quality materials make it a desirable option for year-round.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The ball portion at the bottom wears faster than any part of the shoe, at least one purchaser has declared.
  • A reviewer says that it would have been more comfortable if the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 sneaker had gel cushioning like its ASICS’ brothers.

Bottom line

Those who are in the hunt for an extremely comfortable, well-structured, and super soft sneaker are amazed at how supportive, flexible, and sufficiently cushioned the low-top Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 is.

This sneaker keeps the feet secured and free from foot aches with the combination of padding features on the collar, tongue, and footbed. Its general structure allows consumers to accomplish multiple yet less vigorous tasks in a day while sporting this former top-notch running silhouette.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 lifestyle sneaker provides a comfortable environment for the feet with its generously padded interior, airy upper materials, and cushiony low-profile midsole. The leather overlays on the medial and lateral sides reinforce the walls of the shoe.

It has a TPU base, which acts as a heel stabilizer and which also offers extra support at the rear part of the shoe. The toe box is somewhat roomy and may be a problem for those who want a snug fit.

This low-top Ultimate 81 remake is not the type of shoe for long-distance running, but it is made as a comfort-style sneaker, which may be used the whole day efficiently under less severe circumstances. As mentioned by tons of consumers who have tried this on, it is a kind of lifestyle sneaker that lasts for a substantial amount of time.

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 with a lightweight and stable built for prolonged use.

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 discomforts. 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 may have crossed over from an entirely active wear label to a lifestyle fashion brand, but its authentic high-standard Japanese craftsmanship hasn’t failed to attract consumers whether they are die-hard devotees and or a new breed of cult followers. Its recent development, the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 low-top lifestyle sneaker is an ideal example of how the brand has maintained its keen attention to details with the distinct attributes built into this model.

Apart from its hands down aesthetics and styling, this refashioned interpretation of the iconic runner is loaded with an adequate degree of cushioning coming from its well-padded internal structure. This is further enhanced by the obvious holes in the heel area of the midsole, which improve the shock absorption quality of this shoe. The hard wearing rubber outsole cohesively pulls this sneaker together as a perfect accompaniment for a broad array of casual wear.

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 the 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 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 its original function, but its designs are relevant for the modern day lifestyles. The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 is one of the top breeds in such lineup.

  • 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.


How Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 14% sneakers
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The current trend of Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81.
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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.