Nike's ACG line has come a long way since its inception in 1988. Originally designed for outdoor enthusiasts, the line has evolved into a popular and versatile option for everyday wear.
WHAT DOES NIKE ACG STAND FOR?
ACG, which stands for All Conditions Gear, was created to provide durable and functional footwear for hikers and mountaineers. However, as the brand gained popularity, it began to incorporate more fashion-forward designs and materials, making it a go-to option for sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts alike. The ACG line has also been influenced by cultural trends, with collaborations featuring artists and designers such as Stussy and Acronym.
Despite its evolution, the ACG line remains grounded in its original mission to provide footwear that can withstand all weather conditions and terrain. Join us as we explore the history and transformation of Nike's ACG line, from its trailblazing beginnings to its current status as a staple in sneaker culture.
Over the years, the ACG line expanded to include a range of shoes and apparel, including jackets, pants, and backpacks. The line was known for its bold colorways and functional design, with each product designed to withstand the elements. The ACG line also gained a reputation for its focus on sustainability, with many products made from recycled materials.
Nike 1981 Approach
source: The Culture PDX
INTRODUCTION: NIKE HIKING (PRE NIKE ACG)
Nike’s first attempt at all-terrain gear came in the form of Nike Hiking in 1981, with notable ACG Nike shoes like the Nike Approach (pictured below). This was, in fact, the first Nike shoe to use Gore-Tex. The Approach featured ‘Gore-Tex’ and ‘Cordura’ fabrics throughout the upper as well as a lug sole and hinged metal eyestays which made it the perfect hybrid between a hiking and climbing boot that was both durable and comfortable.
THE BEGINING OF NIKE ACG (ALL CONDITIONS GEAR)
Nike 1988 Air Pegasus
source: Sneaker Freaker
Following Nike Hiking, the first sign of Nike’s All Conditions Gear (ACG) was in 1988 when the men’s Air Pegasus ACG was released. This featured a synthetic upper and rubber toe guard to give runners a shoe they could use in ‘all conditions’. Whether it was raining, snowing or off-road running; they would no longer have an excuse not to go out. ACG’s official release came in 1989 with the Nike Wildwood and Son of Lava Dome which were both outdoor training and running shoes built to withstand any condition or environment. For the Wildwood, the leather instep and tongue helped to protect the foot when on rougher terrain. Similarly, the Son of Lava Dome had a combination of leather and textile panels that kept the shoe tough in areas of stress and stripped back where flexibility was needed.
Possibly the most notable shoe from ACG is the Air Mowabb, named after the Moab desert. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Mowabb was destined for greatness. The Jordan 3-through-15 designer created the Mowabb as a cross between the Huarache and aforementioned Wildwood. The 1991 classic was the first Nike shoe to feature a speckled midsole enabling the shoe to be more breathable and durable. It also featured Neoprene inners, an injected Phylon midsole, a rubber outsole and a lateral outrigger which is why the Mowabb is often said to be the best running/hiking hybrid in Nike’s arsenal.
Nike ACG Govy Snow Boot, 2000
Unsurprisingly, with the formidable standards, practicability and bold style held by Nike ACG, they quickly developed a hugely interested and loyal fan-base. This can still be seen today with instagram accounts like acgarchive that has a 245-piece archive of pure ACG. The impact ACG had bringing techwear mainstream was monumental in the 1990s. ACG continued to release products throughout the 90s and into the 2000s with bold pieces like the 2000 ACG Govy Snow Boot. However, it wasn’t until 2014 when ACG took the next big step in their 30+ year life.
In 2014 ACG relaunched as NikeLab ACG. This immediately gained widespread attention. With a new silhouette of the original 1989 Wildwood and with Errolson Hugh’s vast talent and portfolio. Having worked on the Stone Island Shadow Project and co-founding his own ACRONYM apparel in 1992, it’s no surprise the Canadian designer shook the tech and outerwear scenes.
NikeLabs ACG Prestos, 2016
Under ACG he went on to design some of techwear’s best sneakers like the all new Prestos in 2016 which feature a V-Notch, stretch mesh in the forefoot, a steel spring heel-clip as well as neoprene throughout the shoe, all this mixed with the ability to wear them open or closed, the Prestos were deemed the shoe of the year by many enthusiasts. Furthermore, Hugh went on to work alongside CDG to create the ACG Nike Air Mowabb Comme des Garçons in 2018, The CDG Mowabb had many similarities to the modern Mowabb, however, CDG did exaggerate the paneling, gave the Mowabb slightly more dynamic lines and swapped out the ACG heel branding for CDG, which created an all round higher end look for the hybrid sneaker.
Nike ACG x Comme des Garçons Air Mowabb, 2018
Sadly, despite the great work, the partnership between Hugh and Nike came to an end in 2018 with Hugh being followed by James Arizumi. Nevertheless, Hugh and his work with ACG will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on techwear and hopefully with some ACRONYM x Nike collabs on the way in 2022 there will be more brilliant projects to come.
WHERE TO BUY NIKE ACG SNEAKERS?
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