Like any number of fondly remembered, archival pieces from the world of sneakers and sportswear, Nike’s ACG range is reverently spoken of as “legendary,” and pieces bearing the distinctive, triangular ACG logo become coveted, in the specific way that contemporary streetwear items are coveted. That is to say, they become fodder for the post-modern re-appropriation culture that absorbs the physical form but dissipates the original context of everything it touches.
Make no mistake; Nike’s ACG range was a revolutionary development. Before Nike changed the rules the field of high performance outdoors gear existed as a specialized niche where aesthetic clichés abounded. Think in terms of earth tones, so much olive, khaki, brown, a full visible spectrum of plaids, and tried and true materials like leather, canvas, corduroy, wool, flannel, and maybe some fur. Visually, Nike’s impact was immediate and obvious. The application of the sleek, high tech athletic performance and bold, youthful design and the, at times, confrontational attitude that shot Nike to the apex of the sportswear world to gear designed to function in all conditions, essentially opened the eyes of a new demographic to the great outdoors. You didn’t need to be a capital ‘O’ Outdoorsman with a collection of Field and Stream dating back to 1957; you just needed a sense of adventure.
Unfortunately, this critical aspect of the ACG range has been lost to the nebulous, contemporary interpretation of style, which treats items as a mix of fine art and religious relic. They can be appreciated and preserved, but to actually use them for their intended purpose would be to irrevocably defile them. It’s long past time to say ‘enough.’
What better place for the reclamation to start than with All Conditions Gear. The Holliday 2018 collection leads the way with new editions of ACG favorites in the Air Revaderchi, Ruckel Ridge, and Dog Mountain, the reintroduction of the ACG Okwahn II rocking climbing shoe, and the debut of the new Angel’s Rest silhouette, along with a full range of apparel and accessories.
This season, channel the spirit of those early ACG print ads, the ones designed to get people off of the couch, out of fluorescent lit banks of stationary bikes and stair climbers, and into the vast expanse of nature. All those product features being touted, the traction soles, moisture resistant textiles, breathability, lightweight insulation, etc., are there for a reason, and it’s not just to look good in an OOTD post. All that tech was put there to be rained on, snowed on, tramped through and covered in dirt and mud, and generally withstand whatever else, Ice? Sap? Pine Needles? the outdoors can throw at it.
There’s a whole world out there, and you can’t see very much of it if you’re worried about keeping your shoes clean.