Highsnobiety

Nike ACG has long been the Swoosh’s most technical (but still very wearable) lines, so what other Nike sub-label would you expect to revive one of the ‘90s best trail sneakers?

Nike’s ACG Air Exploraid was re-released in February after first seeing limited release in 2023, boasting fairly few structural updates and some fairly muted original colorways.

But Nike ACG’s chunky shoe masterpiece finally has a bold new colorway that puts a little pep in the beefy sneaker’s usual grey and brown step, lending them some deserving summertime cheer. About time that the retro-cool Exploraid soaked in some ’90s flavor.

If nothing else, this new blue and yellow Nike ACG Air Exploraid colorway with tan leather details stands out.

The colorway’s primary-colored brightness somehow softens the silhouette of the Air Exploraid shoe, making it look a little less rugged than its prior counterparts and even its Nike ACG peers, like the Mowabb.

But make no mistake, this is nearly the same versatile Exploraid sneaker, complete with ridged outsole and mesh bootie, that was first released in 1999, a practical but still really attractive outdoors shoe. 

Nike ACG was founded in 1989 as Nike’s in-house outdoor brand ("ACG" = "All Conditions Gear) and officially launched with now semi-obscure Nike Son of Lava Dome sneaker.

Back then, the Nike line was all about extreme colorways and in-your-face advertising boasting about its utilitarian sneakers and wearables. As such, Nike ACG marked one of the first moments in contemporary history that hiking gear and trail shoes were seen (and worn) as fashion objects.

There’s something about this loud blue and gold colorway that reiterates a pre-Y2K vibe that’s a gentle contrast to many of Nike’s modern sneaker drops

It’s bright and a little obnoxious but in a way that says, “I take my outdoors activities seriously but not myself.” Which is exactly what the Nike ACG Exploraid was made for. 

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