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Asics Wants More Than Runner's High

Outpace Nike and Adidas? Maybe not, but the world's fourth-largest sportswear brand wants to stretch beyond its rep for performance shoes

Quick, name the four largest sportswear brands in the world. Nike (NKE), Adidas and Puma immediately spring to mind. But the fourth-ranked brand is likely to be a bit of a head-scratcher for most: Asics.

The Japanese brand has nowhere near the cachet cultivated by its gargantuan rivals. And why would it? The $2.1 billion company is about a tenth the size of Nike. Asics's annual revenues are roughly equivalent to what Nike spends on advertising and sponsorships, which makes Asics's own ad budget of around $150 million seem miniscule. Small wonder you will probably never see big-name stars such as David Beckham or LeBron James donning Asics gear.