A Look into the History of ACG All Conditions Gear

A Look into the History of ACG All Conditions Gear

dan foley ·

Despite some of the game-changing sportswear innovations that have come out of Nikes HQ in the last 55 years, it probably doesn't come as much of a shock to hear that Nike has also made some excellent outdoor clothing over the last 40 years.

Deemed All Conditions Gear (or ACG, for short), Nike's range of mountain-friendly wares has always been exactly what it says on the tin… it's gear for all conditions outdoors. Although Nike ACG didn't officially hit the trail until 1989, the seeds were planted a fair bit earlier. Lay back and relax as we take a trip into history.

In the early 70s, a new breed of shaggy climbers known as the Stonemasters had summoned around the cliffs of Yosemite. They took the easy surf-style they'd seen on the beaches of California out into the country. 

Back in 1981, Nike Hiking was launched. The trailblazer to ACG, this range featured a rocky trail shoe called the Lava Dome, arty approach boots named the Approach and a boot known as the Magma. As the adverts Screamed, these were not your average hiking boots.

Not only were they tonnes lighter than anything else around at the time, but they featured intriguing details like quick-drying linings. Following by a revolutionary new waterproof fabric known to man as Gore-Tex.

It's probably also key to mention that Nike wasn't afraid to use a bit of colour on their products. The vibrant orange and green swooshes helped the boots stand out against a swarm of basic brown leather and fit in with the new wave of technicolour dream coats from Patagonia, The North Face and Berghaus.

We are now lead into 1989 when Nike ACG finally breaks down on terra firma. Whilst footwear pedants may spout that the ACG name was first used in '88 with the launch of an all-terrain version of the Nike Pegasus, it was '89 that things got into gear.



Nike Hiking, as the name suggests, still based very much around the hiking scene. Nike ACG went a leap further, overmarking the boundaries between rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, snowboarding and almost any other outdoor activity. The new technology materials used everything from Gore-Tex snow-suits to lightweight windbreakers.

As the 90s rolled around, outdoor activities became more and more accessible — climbing walls were opening up all over the joint, and mountain bikes were just about becoming things that ordinary people could afford. Enjoying the 'great outdoors' had gone beyond simply walking about in the wilderness of the world to the next extreme; MTV-flavoured element had been added to the craggy proceedings.

It was excellent timing from the Nike team to bring out the most infamous ACG creation ever seen, the 1991's Air Mowabb. Devised by architect-turned-trainer maverick Tinker Hatfield, these were a hybrid of the Wildwood and the recently released Huarache. Which is meant to be inspired by Native American moccasins and the Martian landscape of Moab in Utah.



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