September 23, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 11
While it might not carry the same level of clout as its legendary older sibling, the Gel Lyte III, there is no question that the Asics Gel Saga II is one of the brand’s most beloved classic silhouettes. Originally dreamt up by renowned Asics design guru, Toshikazu Kayano, the Gel Saga II released in 1992 as a follow-up to the popular Gel Saga model and wound up eclipsing the legacy of its predecessor to the point that it eventually claimed the “Saga” name all for itself upon its retro revival. The shoe we now all know and love as the Gel Saga is actually the Gel Saga II, but Asics has simplified its retro designation to the most basic form and somewhat re-written its own brand history in the process.
After a considerable absence, the Saga re-emerged in late 2011 and made a quick splash thanks to high-profile collab editions by the likes of Patta and Ronnie Fieg, followed by a bigger push in 2012 featuring some OG colorway reissues and a few more well-received joint endeavors. Despite a warm reception from consumers, the Saga continues to take a backseat to the Gel Lyte III in terms of mass appeal and awareness, but devoted fans of the model will be quick to tell you that it’s one of the most underrated running silhouettes of its era.
With every well-executed collab version that surfaces, the Saga seems to gain a little ground, but its appearances are relatively sparse in comparison so there’s still plenty of room to grow. These days, it seems like roughly three out of every four Asics collabs use the Gel Lyte III as the model of choice, and it’s easy to understand
why so many people are eager to get their hands on such an iconic shoe. And while no one is complaining about all the nice GL3 colorways that have come our way, it’s always refreshing to see some variety thrown into the mix, especially if that means fresh new takes on the Saga. So far, only a few shops have taken a crack at the Saga, but the results have been pretty rock solid across the board – a testament not only to those who have put their own creative spins on the model, but also to the shoe’s infinite potential for enticing color-up possibilities.
The Saga’s latest foray into the collab zone comes by way of Cali shop/brand, BAIT, who have truly taken advantage of the opportunity by creating one of the most desirable make-ups of the shoe seen to date. Still less than a year old, BAIT has really hit the ground running with their collaborative efforts, dating back to their ambitious first project with Asics, as well as successful team-ups with Reebok, Saucony, and Creative Recreation.
Dubbed the “Phantom Lagoons”, this latest project stands to be their biggest yet when it drops this coming weekend, and according to BAIT CEO and founder, Eric Cheng, we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s in store as the shop begins to hit its full stride. We caught up with Eric to get the inside scoop on the BAIT x Asics Gel Saga and what the “Phantom Lagoons” are all about, so continue on for the full interview and a detailed look at one of the most mouth-watering collabs of the year.