The resurgence of baggy t-shirts, baseball caps, and dad shoes feels like normcore’s hipper, younger sister rifling through her older brother’s donation pile. 2023 seems to be all about making uncool things cool again, and Japanese clothing brand NEEDLES wants to be at the forefront of it all with a new ASICS collab.

NEPENTHES-helmed NEEDLES teamed up with podiatrist-approved ASICS teamed up with for a fresh take on the EX89 sneaker, officially drops on September 30 online and at NEPENTHES retail locations.. The shoe’s design takes cues from its 1989 predecessor, the GEL-EXTREME, but with more cushioning this time around. 

NEEDLES honors the classic silhouette by keeping redecoration to a minimum. Its  ASICS collaboration is offered in both black and white, both featuring contrast stitching in NEEDLES’ signature purple. Honestly, I figure that the white model has a slight leg up because the stitching can be seen better and the maze-like ASICS stripe on the uppers pops even more. The asymmetrical design also has NEEDLES’ butterfly logo embroidered on only one shoe within each pair.

In fact, a closer look at the shoes reveals that there was more care put into NEEDLES’ ASICS collab than a simple paint job. The stitching is slightly different, inspired by the mesh on NEEDLES’ track pants, whereas groups of four stitch lines appear throughout the shoe as an homage to the stripes on the side of the pants.

NEEDLES has been on a collaborative hot streak, most recently working with renowned skatewear brand DC Shoes to add its flair to the beloved, chubby sneakers worn by skateboarders across generations. 

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