While Onitsuka Tiger shoes (by Asics) have been around for a long time, I only started taking an interest in them recently.

During my research to find retailers and compare prices (and designs), I found an online seller who was selling them at nearly a third of the prices found in stores.

While checking out his/her page, I saw a pair which I particularly liked. However, as I was not entirely sure of the reliability of the seller and the authenticity of the goods, I checked out the comments section and found that there were others who had similar questions.

The seller’s response to earlier queries about authenticity is as follows:

…basically our shoes are from OEM factories located in Fujian and Qingdao, China. We can say those are the genuine in function and design but there could be difference with distribution channel.”

It wasn’t very convincing, so I turned to the physical retail stores instead. After going to couple of locations, it turned out that the pair I wanted was an older model and had been discontinued.

While at the official retailer, I bought a pair that looked great, but was different than what I saw online.

Against my better judgement, I decided to buy from the online store as well, as I really liked the one I saw. After I got both, I took the opportunity to make some comparisons between the one I bought at the store, and the one I bought online (I saw another post about how to tell the difference between a genuine Onitsuka Tiger and a fake one, but it wasn’t very comprehensive…and there’s nothing like checking it out for yourself).

Here are my findings. For ease of reference (and obvious reasons), I shall refer to them as “White” and “Brown”. I shall leave you to make your own conclusions.

(Note: Unless otherwise specified, “Brown” is always on the left or top of the diptychs, and “White” is on the right or bottom.)

Usually, the first step in determining authenticity is to look at the logo. My first stop was the heel flap, to look at the Tiger wording. For “Brown”, the letters were embossed, while the ones on “White” seemed printed on, and had a raised texture.

heel flap

Next, I looked at the logo on the tongue. For “Brown”, the logo was embossed on leather, while the one for “White” was embroidered on fabric before they were both sewn onto the tongue of the shoe.


I turned the shoes around to look at the logo on the soles, to find that there were subtle differences…


…and also discovered that “Brown” had both logos pointing outwards (in different directions), while “White” had its logos pointing in the same direction.


Next, I looked at the logo printed on both insoles. The fonts for the word Onitsuka are slightly different.


Other differences include: the design of the soles…

sole_left shoe

…the texture of the rubber part in front…


…and also inconsistencies in the way the stripes meet the sole/toe cap.



Other differences I noticed…the size and manufacturing information was stuck on as a sticker under the tongue of “Brown”…


…while “White” had the information sewn onto the side of the tongue.


And the pièce de résistance…the insole for “Brown” could be removed! I tried to remove the insole for “White”, but I don’t think I could have done so without damaging the shoe.


More photos below to show the differences…






Can you tell which is the one bought online, and which is the one bought at the official retailer?