The Onitsuka Tiger EDR 78 – $90
More than a few of us have stayed away from the Asics Onitsuka Tiger line due to their low profile, lightweight design. Nobody wants to wear cinderblocks when in sneakers, but the Onitsuka Tiger has taken a “less is more” approach since its early days. One of their earliest users, the Olympic Marathon Champion and pioneer of long-distance running Abebe Bikila, used to compete barefoot. So… the foundation for this shoe line has been… little foundation… for the longest time.
And while the EDR 78 does have a bit more cushioning thanks to the nubby sole, they’re still more Samba than a squishy, bouncy sneaker. They are not a cheaper alternative to the Victory Sportswear Classic Runner, or a pillowy New Balance number. They are lean, they are mean, and they are not pretending to be anything other than what the brand has always been.
Hoping they’d be something else is 100% the fault of this author. Ya big dummy.
(I just didn’t want to drop $220 on the USA Made light-grey Victory sneakers.)
Clean white and gray with a bit of olive for contrast.
Anywhodiddly, they are terrific looking. Like the Nike Killshot (another great looking shoe that isn’t the most supportive or squishiest of sole), the EDR 78 nails the retro-look without seeming out of place with contemporary clothes. These will do just fine with jeans, chinos, and yes… athleisure a plenty.
Gotta love the old-school script Tiger on the heel
The low profile and mix of suede and mesh sure makes them look fast. And they’re billed as a trail running sneaker. Although as a clumsy heavy striker myself, I feel like the borderline flimsy uppers would lead to me snapping an ankle the first time I stumbled over a branch. Materials seem to be quality though. Laces feel good and tie up well. Suede doesn’t feel cheap. And they don’t smell like a tire fire or anything right out of the box (I know, a low bar, but some shoes do).
Suede and mesh uppers. Materials don’t feel cheap. They ARE very lightweight though.
Fit seems to be true. A 10.5 fit my normally 10.5D feet pretty well. Just don’t try to squeeze into them if you’re a true wide foot. While the lightweight walls should give a bit, there’s just not a lot of platform for wide-footers to anchor too. Again, lean and mean. That’s what these be. Expecting otherwise would be a mistake. Translation: don’t be like me!
“Trail running” nubby sole runs up the back of the heel
Just like the rest of the line, the EDR 78 is a less-is-more lightweight sneaker for those who don’t want the bounce and forgiveness of modern cushioning delivered by mattress comfy athletic-styled shoes. They’re a lifestyle sneaker rooted in history. A history where people use to run barefoot, and basketball was played in Chuck Taylors. My legs are screaming in pain just thinking about that. Things. They change.
If you’re light on your feet or light in frame, you’ll probably love ’em. Because they look terrific. If you’re a bit of a heavy striker or more solid of build, you’ll be more comfortable with something more, well, comfortable.
For me, I’ll just save up for the Victory sneakers. And in the meantime, I’ll be leaning on the crazy comfortable and supportive Gel Kayano.