translated and edited by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner
L-R: Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki, Adidas Japan president Pascal Martin, shoe master Hitoshi Mimura, and 1991 World Championships gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi in Tokyo on Nov. 13. Click photo for full-sized image.
Sports maker Adidas Japan held a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 13 to announce the signing of Hitoshi Mimura, the master craftsman known for the handmade shoes he has long produced for the world's top athletes, to an exclusive advisor position with the company. Mimura, 61, will continue to develop his shoes at his 'M. Lab' workshop in Takasago, but said, "I want to make shoes that will set a world record."
Beginning in April, Mimura's shoes will be an Adidas-branded product. Focusing on running and baseball, he will supervise product development for elite athletes, the designing of Adidas' lasts, and Adidas' mass-produced running shoe line. "I hope to work together closely with the athletes," Mimura said.
Mimura had a long-standing position with rival maker Asics, where he made shoes for Olympic marathon gold medalists Mizuki Noguchi, Naoko Takahashi and Stefano Baldini and baseball great Ichiro Suzuki among others. He left Asics last spring to pursue his work independently.
At the press conference on Jan. 13, professional baseball player Norichika Aoki, outfielder for the Yakult Swallows, and 1991 World Championships men's marathon gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi were in attendance. Aoki commented, "During the off-season in 2005 Mr. Mimura made shoes for me and told me, 'You're definitely going to get more home runs in these,' and, as he said, I went from 3 to 13, then 20. I was really surprised."