Real fans of Japanese-made canvas sneakers should be no stranger to the city of Kurume. Located in the southern part of Fukuoka, Kurume is famed for its long history in making canvas footwear and is the first in the country to produce vulcanized sneakers. Among the numerous footwear brands from Kurume, Asahi is one of the most established and laudable names in the market. Some might think that brands like Moonstar and PRAS are more popular among consumers, but Asahi, with its 129 years of history and experience, never let its reputation slip and has been standing firm against its rivals.
始創於明治25年（1892年），最早期是一間裁缝成衣店，直至1923年才開拓製鞋業務，幾年後就已經外銷到歐美和非洲等地，在上世紀70、80年代，更曾經為Brooks和Nike等西方品牌代工製鞋。過往Asahi將業務重心，放在代工生產以及製鞋技法上，在鞋款設計上不怎麼引人注目，然而近年品牌積極轉型，推出許多令人眼前一亮的鞋款設計，當中又以「Asahi Deck」和「Asahi Trainers」最受到追捧。
Founded in 1892 (Meiji 25 in the Japanese calendar), Asahi started off as a tailor shop. In 1923, they ventured into shoemaking, and shortly after, the new business boomed and they began to export internationally to countries such as Europe, America, and Africa. During the 1970s to 1980s, Asahi was even awarded the exclusive contract to produce for Brooks and Nike. In the past, Asahi focused a lot on OEM production and was devoted to developing new shoemaking techniques. In recent years, however, the brand has been actively transforming and debuted a series of new designs, including Asahi Deck and Asahi Trainers, that are much sought after.
兩個鞋款的工法和設計，均來源上世紀70年代的，品牌的「Asahi Deck」系列以仿效美國海軍甲板鞋設計，不僅鞋款的廓型流麗好看，穿著時也相當輕盈舒適，而如果你往鞋底瞧，那波浪紋的硫化鞋底，更能讓你走在濕滑地面上不易滑倒，是來自於久留米的悠久硫化工藝。至於另一雙「Asahi Trainers」，是品牌在七十年代時代工生產的鞋款，類似於英軍訓練鞋的樣式，沿用當時的工法，務求令鞋款從外到內，都保留著歷史的原味。而除了本家Asahi推出的鞋款，他們旗下也有SOLS這個子品牌，生產各式簡約好看的鞋款，其同樣師承自久留米硫化工藝，喜歡日本製帆布鞋的讀者不要錯過。
Drawing inspiration from classic footwears of the 1970s, Asahi’s modernized version picks up where the vintage ones left off. The Asahi Deck took inspiration from the deck shoes made in the United States. The shoes are beautifully shaped, light, and comfortable to wear. The vulcanized rubber outsoles have a wave pattern that offers superior grip on wet surfaces. As for the Asahi Trainers, they are created based on the classic silhouettes and are made using the traditional manufacturing method and techniques that have been used since the 1970’s. In addition to their signature homebrand products, Asahi also manufactures for SOLS. Simple yet classy, the SOLS vulcanized sneakers are something that Japanese-sneaker fans shouldn’t miss out.