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What Is Nike ACG? The Outdoor-Leaning Sub-Label, Explained

Just getting into gorp? Get to know one of the OGs.

three people hiking a rocky mountain

Even within a massive organization like Nike, there are hidden, undiscovered corners — at least for the average fan. Shoppers buying Panda Dunks or basketball sneakers for their kids may have never even heard of Nike ACG. So, what is it? And, who started it?

What Is Nike ACG?

Nike ACG is Nike's outdoor-leaning sub-label. It was launched in 1988, with the Air Pegasus ACG, which was actually a precursor to the ACG line proper that debuted a year later. It was an evolution of Nike Hiking, an aptly-titled line that debuted earlier in the '80s.

Early ACG ads lured luddites into the great outdoors, while simultaneously appealing to early adopters already sold on gear from more well-established outdoor brands: slogans like, "Athletic clubs aren't the only place I can get a workout and a shower," or "There may not be a name for what you do out there, but by god there's a shoe," pitched Nike as the end-all-be-all for all activities, not just running, basketball or tennis.

Nike ACG also served as an arena for experimentation, too, where Nike could develop new silhouettes altogether with little regard for how these designs would impact their bigger bottom line. Sure, they wanted Nike ACG to do well — and earn money — but it was more so simply a point of differentiation from the rest of the industry. Nike, above all else, wanted to be a disruptor: "The creativity, edgy slogans, and somewhat rebellious attitude of it all is really what we connected with," The Culture PDX owner Tanner Gimbel told Highsnobiety.

Today, the Nike ACG line is home to a whole host of shoes with a colorful, gorpcore aesthetic.

What Does Nike ACG Stand for?

ACG stands for "All Conditions Gear," which clearly refers to the line's intent: to be well-equipped for all terrains. While most Nike sneakers are admittedly designed for the indoors, ACG shoes always carried the "Designed, tested, and made on Planet Earth" motto.

Nike ACG Boots

Nike ACG Shoes

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