If you’ve been waiting for Nike to get into the hiking boot game, today just might be your lucky day. The sports apparel and footwear giant has announced a new line of outdoor-focused shoes under its All Conditions Gear (ACG) brand. The new shoes promise to deliver a high level of performance – even in terrible conditions – with the promise of being equally comfortable on the trail as they are in an urban environment.
Dubbed the ACG Ruckle Ridge, the new hiking shoes are the brainchild of longtime Nike designers Tinker Hatfield and Aaron Cooper. The boots take inspiration from the company’s long history of creating trail running shoes. The design elements that have proven useful in trail running served as the launching pad for the Ruckle Ridge.
Cooper has indicated that the idea behind these shoes came while he was converting an old mountain bike into a touring bike, using parts from the original design for use on the road. He then wondered why he couldn’t do the same thing with footwear to create a shoe that was equally ideal for running in the city as it would be hiking on trails in the mountains. From that idea the Ruckle Ridge was born.
The inspiration for creating the new shoes didn’t end there. Cooper also spotted mountain goats wandering high in the mountains in Glacier National Park and began exploring how those creatures were able to move so well even on the sides of sheer cliffs. He discovered that a mountain goat’s hooves are softer in the middle and more rigid on the outside, giving them more flexibility and grip. That same idea was then brought to the Ruckle Ridge, which has a soft, sticky substance on its inner sole, while the rubber that surrounds it is more akin to that found on a road running shoe. The result is better traction, even on wet, slippery surfaces.
Other nice additions to the new Nike hiking shoes include a dynamic debris guard in the midsole that purportedly manages to provide protection for the foot while also helping the wearer to stay connected with the ground. The shoe’s upper region is also built to be flexible and breathable, while incorporating a quick-lacing system that makes them easy to get on and off.
All of that technology should serve the Ruckle Ridge well in a variety of outdoor environments, but the design of the shoe appears to be aimed more at the urban explorer. While most outdoor brands give their shoes a look that hints at their intended use, these look more like a cross between a hightop sneaker and loafer, with bold colors to match.
Priced at $180, the Nike ACG Ruckle Ridge are available now.
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