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

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?

Nike ACG Manoa Boots Now Available

Nike ACG Manoa Boots Now Available

words // Nick Engvall

Winter is creeping up on most of us and before we know it we’ll be walking uphill both ways through snow covered sidewalks. If you live next to one of those neighbors that is always last to shovel their sidewalk clean, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about a new pair of winter boots.

Although naturally  a new pair of ACG Air Max Goadomes might be on the top of the list, Nike has a released a new more price conscious boot for the upcoming season change. The Nike ACG Manoa uses a combination of tightly woven nylon mesh and leather to help you battle the elements. To help keep things as lightweight as possible, a phylon midsole construction was chosen. An aggressive tread pattern from ACG provides the traction needed in all conditions.

Available now: Nike ACG Manoa 

Nike ACG Manoa Boots Now AvailableNike ACG Manoa Boots Now Available

 

 

 

Columbia Bugathermo – No Ordinary Boot

Columbia Bugathermo – No Ordinary Boot

words_Nick Engvall

This winter has been pretty extreme for much of the United States. Mother Nature seems to have decided to make up for lost time by dumping snow all along her path throughout much of the Midwest and East Coast. This year, however, even if Mother Nature isn’t on your side, Columbia is stepping up for you with a new design, the Columbia Bugathermo.

The Bugathermo is far from your average boot. It’s actually a rechargeable heated boot. That’s right, plug it in, charge it up, and it will give you eight hours of warmth in a choice of three different temperature settings. What makes it happen is internal lithium polymer batteries that can be charged up with the included power adapter. As you would expect from Columbia, the Bugathermo is also equipped with a handful of other technologies that keep it a step above (and warmer) than the rest. An integrated toe heating element and Thinsulate insulation do their part in keeping temperatures up. A combination of nubuck and suede cover the upper and are also waterproof thanks to Omni-Tech technology, which helps protect your feet from the elements while still remaining breathable. Columbia’s Techlite material fills the midsole for optimum cushioning and an aggressive rubber outsole is in place to help you keep your traction at all times.

In addition to the standard black colorway, Eastbay recently spotted a rare version of the Bugathermo at the recent 2011 SIA Snow Show in Colorado. A killer snow sculpture of the Columbia Bugathermo boot was on display in Breckenridge. Check it out below!

Available now: Columbia Bugathermo

Columbia Bugathermo - No Ordinary BootColumbia Bugathermo - No Ordinary BootColumbia Bugathermo Snow SculptureColumbia Bugathermo Snow SculptureColumbia Bugathermo Snow Sculpture

Columbia Bugathermo – No Ordinary Boot

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