A Look Back: All Conditions Gear

A Look Back: All Conditions Gear

January is one of the coldest, darkest times of the year in most parts of the U.S. The wind is biting, the snow is deep, and it feels like summer will never return again. In the mid-90s, Nike had a remedy for the bone-chilling temps and less-than-favorable traction: All Conditions Gear. Eastbay catalogs were chock full of hiking boots, trail shoes, Dri-FIT shirts, Therma-FIT pants, and Clima-FIT jackets that kept the body dry and comfortable no matter how hard the snow and sleet came down. One of the people responsible for a lot of what we saw and wore in the ’90s was designer Michael Hernandez. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about what it was like to be part of a team that was setting the standard for outdoor apparel and functional innovative technologies.

Eastbay Outdoors Intro Page

Drew: What was your role with Nike back in the ’90s?

Michael: I was hired by Nike in 1991. During the ’90s, I held several different positions ranging from Product Graphic Designer, Art Director, Design Director and Senior Designer. I contributed on many of Nike’s sport categories during this time including Sports Graphics, Sports Marketing, Jordan, Retail (Niketown), Running, and many Special Projects. I’m a huge fan of product and brand working together to conceive and create compelling products and stories that resonate with the consumer. Product designers often find that their stories and inspiration never make it to the consumer. I was very motivated to work in collaboration with other designers and marketers with the end in mind, delivering our product with stories that inspired athletes, retailers, and consumers.

Nike Outdoors shoes

Drew: Can you tell me about the ACG logo we see on all the gear?

Michael: One of the Nike categories I worked extensively on was All Conditions Gear (ACG). ACG had been around for years and was known mostly for the innovative outdoor footwear. The outdoor marketplace was catering to more of a traditional outdoor consumer who wore a lot of brown shoes. ACG really started to push into new territories with product by innovating. Footwear started to become much more youthful and performance-driven, and the aesthetics started to be informed by trends happening in the marketplace. Consumers were migrating to products that embraced color and new materials. Snowboarding was really pushing outerwear in fun and interesting directions and ACG’s consumer was shifting.

Another brand designer and I were asked to rebrand the ACG logo. We designed for months and presented our own ideas. They choose my design and adopted a new brand direction that was more youthful, performance-driven, and modern. The new branding supported other product categories ACG was building market share in, which included mountain biking, snowboarding, and water sports. The new logo signaled that the brand was less of a granola-eating, tree-hugging product line. ACG was heading down new paths and needed to evolve to a younger mindset.

Eastbay Outdoor Boots

Drew: What was your favorite design/shoe/apparel?

Michael: That would be the Trek Mountain Bike Team uniform. ACG sponsored the Trek Mountain Bike Team and I designed a wide range of garments with sublimated graphics that the team used to train and compete in. The jersey was in tune with the new ACG logo with its streamlined, bold, and simple aesthetic. Nike had been in the cycling business prior to ACG but began investing more into competitive biking, which eventually led to Nike sponsoring the U.S. Postal Service Cycling team.

Eastbay Outdoors apparel

Drew:  A lot of the footwear had interesting names – was there any particular model that had a great story behind it?

Michael: You’re so right – ACG was known for its creative footwear names like Nike Air Rivaderchi, Pocket Knife, and Air Moc (Potato Shoe) to name just a few. I would have to say that the Air Mowabb was the shoe design that leaves the most influence over time for so many reasons. My 23 years at Nike were filled with some amazing experiences. But, most of all, I worked with so many talented people that made the most impact on my design career. I reported to Tinker Hatfield for years, working on his team and learning footwear design. I remember Tinker’s inspiration boards for the Air Mowabb. He drew everything by hand, including the logo that had a lot of personality. His ability to tell a story through his outdoor experiences (Mowabb, Utah) and design skills was impressive to say the least. The original Air Mowabb colors and material story were very fresh then and hold up to this day. This design was deemed more of an outdoor “sneaker.” ACG was leading the outdoor industry by walking away from traditional hiking designs, and running in new directions.

Nike outdoors shoes 2

Drew: There were many innovative technologies being introduced rather quickly, such as Dri-FIT, Therma-FIT, and Clima-FIT. Did you play a role in developing any of these fabrics, and if so, which was your favorite?

Michael: Yes, the Nike-FIT system of fabric technologies were being used across the Nike categories. Dri-FIT was being used in Team Sports as a first layer that far exceeded the benefits of cotton undergarments. Nike-FIT got a real boost when it was promoted through advertising and launched a new branding scheme that I was responsible for designing. I redesigned the Nike-FIT branding marks and created a menu of product trim application to marry up with the fabrics. The trim applications menu included molded patches, woven labels, reflective labels, heat transfers, and screenprints.

The benefits of Nike-FIT were also communicated with informative technical illustrations that we applied to a new Nike-FIT hangtag system and sublimated interior label packages. The new system was not confined to just apparel – footwear leveraged the fabric technologies as well. The ACG and Running categories implemented this system the deepest. The benefits of appropriate apparel layering came to a head when we educated consumers on why layering correctly improved personal performance and comfort.

Nike Outdoor-FIT apparel

Drew: What are you working on currently, and can you share a little bit about The Bruin Co.?

Michael: I started up my design and marketing consultancy, The Bruin Co. five years ago. I’ve designed footwear and other products, though the lion’s share of projects are focused on branding. I have branded and rebranded many clients’ businesses with a focus on elevating their brand and getting more strategic about how they tell their stories and focus on their consumers with more purpose.

My last role at Nike was Global Brand Creative Director. I spent a decade at Nike focused on brand design, gaining valuable experience creating and implementing seasonal global directives that included applications for Product, Retail and Digital. I also worked on content creation that included TV broadcast and web/viral content. Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my design experiences. Design is more than a slogan. You can just do it or go big or go home. Either way it’s all about the small details. The Bruin Co. is located in Salem, Oregon. Find us at www.TheBruinCo.com and on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bruinstudio/?hl=en

Nike Outdoors full spread

Timberland: A Deep-Rooted History Of Excellence

Timberland: A Deep-Rooted History Of Excellence

Timberland boots are everywhere. Next time you are out in public, check to see what everyone around you is laced up in and you’re bound to see quite a few Timberlands.  Part fashion staple, part work warrior, they are really the perfect boots to take anywhere and do anything in. Timberlands were invented in America and became a global phenomenon thanks to their premium craftsmanship, cutting edge designs, and legendary comfort. Check out our timeline and behind-the-scenes photos below to learn more about how the boots you love came to be!

A Timberland Timeline

1973

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The first Timberland waterproof boot is created in Newmarket, New Hampshire, thanks to silicone and oil coating — setting the new standard for quality-crafted boots.

Fun Fact: Timberland footwear is submerged in water for four hours, then flexed 15,000 times to ensure they remain dry to get the passing grade.

1978

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Based on the success of the boot, the Swartz family, decide to rename the company ‘Timberland.’

2007

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Timberland takes its first steps to create an eco-friendly collection of footwear, apparel, and accessories. Earthkeepers is created, a program that makes their products from recycled, organic, and renewable materials.

Fun Fact: Timberland has recycled 233 million water bottles by using PET materials to make laces, mesh lining, and other various parts of their footwear.

2008

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Timberland partners with Green Rubber Inc. to make the outsoles for their boots from old tires. Once the tires are discarded, they are re-claimed to be recycled into the footwear, rather than ending up in landfills.

Fun Fact: Since then, Timberland has saved 3.3 million pounds of rubber by reusing them to make the outsoles of their boots.

2013

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Your favorite boot turns 40! The “Best Then. Better Now.” campaign launches to celebrate the anniversary of the popular boot and show Timberland as a head-to-toe outdoor brand.

Scroll through the rest of the behind-the-scenes photos below to see more about how Timberland boots are made.

A Look At The Jordan Future Boot

A Look At The Jordan Future Boot

Jordan Brand has never been afraid to push boundaries.  In fact, the sneaker giant has thrived by creating bold new looks that challenge traditional sneaker norms. That’s why the Air Jordan 1 was so successful. Decades later, Jordan Brand is still changing the game by challenging traditions with increasingly innovative styles.

Jordan Brand Future Boot

The Jordan Future Boot is the latest daring move made by Jordan Brand. With fall here and winter fast approaching, the Jordan Future Boot blends Jordan’s iconic look with winterized materials and rugged outdoor style, delivering a warm, durable, and waterproof solution ideal for trekking city streets in snowy weather.

The Jordan Future Boot sports the iconic Air Jordan 11 outsole and Jordan detailing on the tongue, while providing the functionality and durability of a boot. It debuted in a black-and-dark-grey colorway that is available now at eastbay.com. Keep it locked to Eastbay’s twitter and Instagram for information on upcoming Jordan Future Boot colorways.

In the meantime, let us know what you think of the boot in the comments section below. Will you be copping the Jordan Future Boot before winter? Which colorways would you like to see the boot come in?

The 5 Trendiest Women’s Boots This Fall

The 5 Trendiest Women’s Boots This Fall

Boots

You’re an athlete, so you live a life of game-day shoes, trainers, and slides, but when fall comes and the air begins to cool, you get a chance to break out a more stylish option. Modern boots have nailed fashion and functionality, and these are the five sleekest looks of the season.

 

G.I. Jane

The war between summer and winter is raging. The perfect way to combat the chill is to grab your favorite boots, head into battle and defend your style. Our favorite so far? The Sorel Major Carly, combining a tough-as-nails look, with feminine charm.
$149.99 at eastbay.com

Sorel Major Carly


Urban Walkers

Sometimes you want to look fly in the city in something other than a heel. A 6” Timberland Bramhall keeps you comfortable but also helps you build your street cred. Stylish patterns in tweed and wool, paired with rugged material, and a sturdy heel, is perfect for exploring your urban jungle.
$159.99 at eastbay.com

Timberland Bramhall


Cute Coverage

Sometimes only a tall boot can give you the coverage you need on those chilly days. UGG Everglaydes do a great job of making your legs look longer and adding a classic touch to any outfit. These suede boots adorned with leather straps and metal details have taken fall fashion to a whole new level.
$219.99 at eastbay.com

UGG Everglayde


Everyday Style

An ankle boot is every girl’s wardrobe staple. Perfect for dressing up or down, Teva Delavina Ankle Boots are not only incredibly stylish, but fully functional. With a rubber outsole for traction and a waterproof leather upper, these never let a little rain slow you down.
$119.99 at eastbay.com

Teva Delavina Ankle


In-Between Queen

When you don’t want to wear an ankle boot and don’t want the full coverage of a tall boot, go for a mid-length stunner. No matter what’s on your agenda for the day, the Timberland Savin Hill is sure to provide all-day comfort without compromising your everyday style. Pair them effortlessly with leggings and an oversized sweater or jeans and a scarf.
$179.99 at eastbay.com

Timberland Savin Hill

The North Face Snow Sneaker II

The North Face Snow Sneaker II

words_Nick Engvall

Winter weather has already taken over most of the country in some way shape or form. If you’re one of the people already feeling the effects of mother nature’s wrath then some weather appropriate shoes might be a necessity about now.

The North Face has just released the second edition of their Snow Sneaker. The Snow Sneaker II is loaded with technologies designed to keep your feet thinking that it’s spring time no matter what kind of elements you have to deal with through the winter. PrimaLoft Eco insulation manages temperatures to keep warmth inside and cold outside. HydroSeal technology helps the suede upper become waterproof. Last but not least, an aggressive TNF Winter Grip outsole ensures that you can step securely through the snow and icy conditions.

Available now: The North Face Snow Sneaker II

The North Face Snow Sneaker IIThe North Face Snow Sneaker II