With the recent drop of our latest Tier 0 release – the NikeLab ACG Lupinek Flyknit Low, many have been asking and wondering what does ACG mean?
Born more than 30 years ago to provide reliable protection and performance in all conditions, Nike ACG was reborn as NikeLab ACG back in 2014 to deliver sport utility for the concrete jungle. Covering outerwear, footwear and portable storage, the collection is designed to meet the demands for mobility and weather protection in any city setting.
What does ACG stand for you ask? The line stands for Nike All Conditions Gear. Sneakers and clothing are composed for outdoor performance; this sportswear line has functional and casual appeal all over it. Famous shoes from the Nike ACG collection include the Nike ACG Air Mowabb, Nike ACG Lunar Macleay, Nike ACG Lunar Trail, Nike ACG Wildwood, Nike ACG Goadome, Nike ACG Lava Dome and more.
The earliest elements of the Nike ACG range were formed back in the early 1980s, when shoes such as the Lava Dome, Magma and Approach were released, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the ACG concept was formally announced.
Before then, Nike had mainly been targeting the sports performance category, with only a few significant exceptions to the program: with ACG, performance was still very much at the heart of the range, but the aesthetic was more suited to the great outdoors than much of the sports footwear had been. Rough materials, solid sole units and colour palettes that both blended in with their surroundings yet still turned heads was the main focus on this project.
For such aggressive-looking silhouettes, comfort still reined supreme, with models such as the much-loved Mowabb (named after the terrain of Moab, Utah) featuring neoprene sock linings and superb ventilation. ACG’s success on the streets was easy to understand: a shoe that could grip boulders and hop across rock faces would probably handle the concrete jungle equally well.
Below we take a look at some of the greatest ACG sneaker releases to date:
The all-time classic. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Mowabb established the soon-to-be-everywhere spattered midsole, and brought Huarache to the mountains. Lightweight boots were already a thing, but never quite like this. Essentially a Huarache runner with a full-height neoprene collar and a more aggressive outsole, the Mowabb is legendary for good reason.
Much of what made ACG great was the fact that the shoes were running shoes camouflaged as hiking gear. The Wildwood (and it's techier cousin, the Wildedge) wore thinner disguises than most. The original Wildwood was as close as ACG came to making a true "street" shoe, and owed more to classic runners like the LDV and the Terra TC.
Long before the Roshe Run became the “in-thing”, the Air Moc had the simple formula down pat - a super-basic upper (without laces, even, just a toggle) on top of a well-cushioned sole. This wasn't a hiking shoe per se, more of for in-camp wear, but it became a cult classic far removed from the beaten path.
What started as a project from Denmark's Wood Wood - a Lunar update of the Wildwood - became an ACG staple. No complaints here - the Lunar sole complements the techy Wildwood upper perfectly, and the midsole spatter nod to the Mowabb is perfect.
Not to be confused with the pre-ACG Escape runner, the Air Escape was more in the mold of the Mowabb, although without the Mowabb's signature neoprene bootie. It wasn't really a takedown as much as it was something a little more civilized. Not that there's anything wrong with that.