Everything is a competition for Stefon Diggs — he’ll tell you that himself. “I’m a firm believer in running my own race, and running that race at my pace,” he says. Diggs carries that mindset both on the NFL gridiron, where he’s received All-Pro (2020) and second team All-Pro (2022) selections plus three Pro Bowl nods (2020-2022) as a WR for the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, and off, where he’s become one of the most notable fashion enthusiasts in all of sports, attending everything from the Met Gala to Balenciaga and Jean Paul Gaultier’s shows at Paris Fashion Week, all the while garnering a great deal of attention for his meticulous outfits.
Diggs takes fashion, and, by extension, his footwear seriously. He’s not looking for a flashy tunnel photo (though he’s no stranger to those). Instead, he’s looking to learn, express himself, and curate his aesthetic, and a big step in that ongoing quest is his new partnership with ASICS.
What sets the Diggs and ASICS partnership apart from other athlete-meets-brand deals is that it’s purely lifestyle-focused: no PE cleatsand training shoes backed up by half-hearted lifestyle apparel, instead, it presented the opportunity for Diggs to curate and collaborate with the ASICS Sportstyle team directly. “Off the field, I see fashion and style as ways in which I can engage my mind,” he says. “Through that lens, I found ASICS and was immediately drawn to their portfolio. Their willingness to collaborate with me and embrace my creative freedom makes me incredibly excited for our future together.”
Growing up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Diggs wore ASICS from an early age, and always paid close attention to his sartorial inclinations. “[ASICS are] part of that area’s signature footwear style and damn near everybody had them when I was growing up,” he tells Hypebeast. “I’ve always looked at them through a different lens because of that … I saw them as a way to make a fashion statement that really fit into my lifestyle.” Now, as the brand’s newest partner, he’ll have a chance to do that in a different way than ever before.
In conversation with Hypebeast, Stefon Diggs shared info on his new partnership with ASICS and discussed his lifelong love for the brand, while also riffing on personal style, explaining how ASICS’ ethos mirrors his own and more.
What’s your personal history with ASICS, and how did this partnership come about?
When you’re from the DMV [District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia], you’re kind of always around ASICS. They’re part of that area’s signature footwear style and damn near everybody had them when I was growing up. I’ve been rocking them casually for years — there’s that history with them from my hometown. I was looking for something that not everyone was wearing at the time, and, of course, I wanted something comfortable — and after the last [NFL] season ended, we struck up an organic relationship that wound up progressing into this partnership.
This must be a full-circle moment for you.
It’s crazy, man. Even since I was a kid, I’ve looked at ASICS through a different lens. Everyone’s always known about ASICS’ comfort and performance, but even when I was younger I saw them as a way to make a fashion statement that really fit into my lifestyle. You can have a hard time finding that with shoes nowadays, as it seems like everyone is wearing the same thing and many shoes aren’t versatile from a fashion standpoint. ASICS were my go-to at Paris Fashion Week last month. My friends were roasting me, like “that’s all you wear these days,” and I was like “Look — they’re comfortable and they look amazing. How are you gonna be mad?” Then they’d try a pair on for themselves and never take them off either [laughs].
“If I’m going to put my stamp on something, I want it to be something that I can wear and represent consistently.”
What’s most unique about this partnership is that it’s fully lifestyle-focused. Do you think it sets a new precedent for athlete-brand partnerships?
Typically, when athletes sign a partnership with a brand, the key part of their deal is performance wear: they’ll get a really great, high-tech design, but it’s not really something that they’d want to wear casually. If there is any athleisure wear or lifestyle apparel produced, it usually feels like an afterthought. That doesn’t work for me, because if I’m going to put my stamp on something, I want it to be something that I can wear and represent consistently, something that I can use to walk a fashion show or run on a track.
Do you feel like the partnership provides a fuller portrait of you as a person instead of just you as an athlete?
I do, and I think it’s because it’s centered around expression and style. A lot of times, brands don’t really think about expression — money is the only thing that’s on their mind, which is understandable, but it means that their partnerships will be lacking in certain areas. That mindset doesn’t apply at ASICS, and I’m very thankful for that.1 of 2
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ASICS’ slogan, “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” roughly translates to “a sound mind in a sound body.” The parallels between that saying and athletics are pretty obvious, but do you feel that mindset is applicable to fashion and style too?
The mental aspect and the physical aspect are so closely connected. When I wake up in the morning and curate my outfit for the day, figure out how I want to look and how I want to feel, the “sound mind” is a key part of that. Obviously, I take my workouts super seriously, but I think that to truly look good you have to feel good about yourself as well. You can’t have one without the other, so that saying really resonates with me.
What does style mean to you?
Style is so wide. There are so many areas of it, and I think people spend their time in certain areas. When I was younger, for example, I was a huge streetwear guy. I loved really eclectic, out-there pieces. Now, I’m aiming for a bit more of a clean, chic look, something that stands the test of time. I like putting pieces together that might not necessarily “match” in the traditional sense, but fit me and what I want to convey with my outfits.1 of 2
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I always remind myself that there’s a difference between having clothes and having a wardrobe. I think that the wardrobe I have is an accurate representation of me, and is something that I can hang my hat on. I want to curate a selection of items that I can pass down to my children, and have them appreciate it in a different way than I did. Just like they said on Nothing Was the Same, all that other bullsh*t is here today and gone tomorrow [laughs].
Does that same mindset apply to footwear?
Oh, 100%, and that’s partially why I was so excited to work with ASICS. They’ve been around my whole life — always been recognizable, always made a statement. That is my style. That is my taste. That is the timeless nature I’m looking for.
Why do you think performance running footwear from the ‘00s and early 2010s is so hot in the lifestyle sphere right now?
I think that in the past three to four years, people were really looking for something different to wear and getting a little tired of basketball shoes. A lot of high-end brands started making running-inspired designs, and I was like “man, I’d rather wear the OG, the shoe that inspires these designs.” Other people clearly feel that way as well, and, besides that, people just want a shoe that’s comfy! You don’t want to wear a heavy-ass shoe that hurts your foot.
“How I look is how I feel, so I’m always trying to come correct.”
You compete on the football field for a living — do you think there’s a competitive aspect to fashion and personal style as well?
Oh, everything is a competition to me [laughs]. I’m a firm believer in running my own race, and running that race at my pace. I’m not going to look for something hot that everyone else already has, I’m going to find something that catches my eye and see how hot I can make it. That’s where the competitive nature really comes in, me competing with myself, because it’s like “alright Stefon, if you’re really as cool as you think you are, how cool can you make this shoe? Can you put it on with Bottega Veneta or LOEWE, and how good will it look when you do?” How I look is how I feel, so I’m always trying to come correct.
What about this partnership excites you the most?
That ASICS’ ethos is aligned with mine. They’re rooted in their history, but are always looking for what’s next too. In fashion, and, a lot of the time in life, you’re either going to be a sheep or a shepherd, and I’d rather be the latter — I want to be part of something new, something that I can really stand behind, and I get the same vibe from them. I work hard and always aim to do things at a high level, and so do they.
One final question: you’re leaving for a trip in 15 minutes and can grab two pairs of ASICS to bring with you. What are you picking?
Oh, definitely a Kayano, and … sh*t man, that second one is tough [laughs]. The Zack Bia joints are definitely in the bag, and either another GEL-Kayano 14 or a GEL-2160.1 of 2
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The ASICS GT-2160, GEL-NYC and GEL-1130, as seen on Stefon Diggs, are all available now at HBX. HBX will also host a launch event at its New York City flagship (located at 41 Division Street) on July 13 from 6-9PM ET to celebrate the partnership.
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