The great outdoors is more of a state of mind than a specific location. After all, they can be great anywhere. But, and there would be very few arguments to the contrary, the great outdoors are especially great when it comes to the Pacific Northwest. Take your pick from a seemingly endless series of majestic forests, mountain peaks, lakes and rivers. No surprises then, that two brands that have defined and redefined outdoor gear are situated seven miles apart from each other in the state of Oregon.
Pendleton Woolen Mills has been manufacturing outdoor clothing and blankets in local textile mills since 1909. Pendleton’s colorful Native American patterns, sourced from tribes throughout the American west have become a hallmark of classic Americana and synonymous with adventure in the natural world.
Nike is, of course, not just an outdoors brand, but when they put their Swoosh into something, it goes all the way in. Nike’s All Conditions Gear range of products revolutionized outdoors gear the same way that their radical aesthetic and technological leaps forward changed sportswear. Before ACG, footwear that was designed to endure the stress of inclement weather and rugged terrain was traditional and bulky; the old-school hiking boot reigned supreme.
Living anywhere in the United States that experienced full blast winter weather ensured that the clunky boot experience was not optional. Jay Gordon, co-founder of Boston boutique Bodega, is a Boston native and avowed bulky boot hater, but for someone who lived through the Blizzard of ’79, when snow piled up to second floor house windows, those two positions didn’t exactly mesh together very well.
Then Nike ACG came along.
Early ACG models like Son of Lava Dome, Wildwood, and the Super Dome boot set the standard for this new blend of performance technology, style, and outdoor functionality, but it would take the man who unleashed the Air Max 1 upon the world to drive the ACG concept home with a wider audience. The Tinker Hatfield designed Air Mowabb is the crown jewel of the ACG line. Coveted upon its initial release in 1991, and in its various reissued forms, is a true Nike icon. The Mowabb applied the principles of the cross training sneaker, still a novel concept in those days, to outdoor focused footwear. The result was a shoe that was dynamic enough to support activities like hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and rock climbing, and sturdy enough to withstand, well, all conditions. It looked like nothing that anyone had ever seen, but in true Tinker fashion, would influence everything that came after it; the speckled midsole introduced by the Mowabb became an industry fixture.
The Mowabb made an immediate impact on Jay Gordon, who had found a stylistic escape hatch from the flannels, maple syrup, log cabin winter footwear of traditional New England.
“I started collecting sneakers in high school, and would take the bus to New York to get shoes that I couldn't get in Boston. That's where I first saw ACG. I loved it instantly. ACG colorways and the whole vibe of it was my style. The first time I saw someone wearing the Mowabb I thought ‘those are awesome.’ It was one of the first ACG shoes that I got. I was with a friend at a store on 17th street. He was like, ‘Why are you getting that? It's crazy?’”
Over time, Gordon built a stockpile of important ACG pieces, to compliment his monumental collection of classic American vintage, which included a healthy amount of Pendleton’s famous Native patterned wool goods.
Gordon’s love affair with the American outdoor gear comes full-circle in a duo of special-edition Nike iD x ACG x Pendleton Mowabb. The two versions highlight distinct, limited Pendleton patterns created specially for Nike (fun fact: It's the first Pendleton output to include the Nike wordmark). The Arctic is an appropriately stark, black and white scheme, while the Sunset’s mix of bold colors references the late evening skyline of Moab, Utah, the popular outdoor adventure spot home to two national parks, that inspired the design and name of the original Air Mowabb. Accompanying 5 panel hats will also be made available for both colorways.
“To do something with Pendleton and Nike on an ACG shoe…this makes the teenage me very happy,” says Gordon. “Joining all these storied brands — this is the future of Americana. We are super-excited for Bodega to be a part of it. Bringing together different elements and backgrounds in one place is what Bodega is all about.” Launching November 5, Gordon’s two articulations of the Nike iD ACG x Pendleton Mowabb feature an exclusive speckled heel strap and black outsole and an original Tinker Hatfield Mowabb concept sketch on the footbed. The Nike iD ACG x Pendleton Mowabb is limited to 100 pairs of each color, worldwide. Each pair is individually numbered 1-100 on the medial side of the collar (in the style of the ACG badge). The Sunset will be available exclusively at ComplexCon in Long Beach, while the Arctic lands at Bodega in Boston in-store only. On November 9, additional customizable options for the Nike iD ACG x Pendleton will open up at Nike iD for a very limited time.