Japan’s top sneaker manufacturer, Asics, has released a new line of shoes called ‘by women for women.’ The collection, which hit stores earlier this month, is the brainchild of Vanessa Asell, a Swedish-born former journalist who now works in the product marketing department at Asics. Tired of shoes that are either ill-fitting and uncomfortable or unfashionable, Asell came up with the idea of assembling a women-only design team to create stylish yet functional sneakers that women around the world would love to wear.

“We designed these shoes talking WITH women, not ABOUT women,” says Asell. “It is a story that from start to end involved the end user and the end user only.”

The inspiration for the shoes originally came from Asics’ archives. “First off, we looked at some old gymnastics shoes from our own collection, and after some market research we started thinking about ballerinas. It was important to match Asics sports technologies with [a] fashion sense, so we tried to maintain a good balance between fashion and comfort,” says Asell.

Inside the left shoe is printed the question, “Where do you want to go?” and in the right shoe are responses gleaned from women around the world, ranging from geographic to more philosophical answers. Asell says she wants the shoes to instill a sense of power in the women who wear them. “I hope that somewhere down the line it will inspire them to make a difference–big or small. And naturally, along the way, a comfortable life on the move. I would love to think that on a gloomy Monday morning, these shoes are waiting for you in the hallway, asking you where you really want to go–and you think, ‘far’.”

The two styles are available at Asics stores across Japan.