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BEHIND THE DESIGN

ACG RUCKEL RIDGE
Nike’s All Conditions Gear has long helped equip bodies across the globe for outdoor activity and exploration. Activity and exploration that requires you to be ready for whatever; rain, sleet, snow, and all kinds of dirt. Nearly three decades since its inception, ACG now takes the idea of “All Conditions Gear” to the next level with the ACG Ruckel Ridge, a boot like silhouette built for treks from manmade surroundings to the great outdoors.

Designed by longtime Nike Footwear Designers Tinker Hatfield and Aaron Cooper, the shoe was born from personal insight gathered from Cooper's own excursions. “For many years, I rode (cycling) road and trail but always wanted a more hybridized experience. One of the fastest growing trends in cycling is taking an old mountain set-up and turning it into a 'touring' bike,” he explained. “I found a similar opportunity with running. Something you can run with through the city AND take up into the mountains.”
The inspiration didn’t end there for Cooper. On a hike in Glacier National Park, he took notice of mountain goats trekking along vertical rock walls with ease. “It reminded me of the Goat Tech trail running shoe we did back in the mid-90s,” Cooper shared. “Funny enough, I found out I work right next to one of the minds behind the design, Tobie Hatfield. He told me about its history and I continued to learn more about mountain goats online. One of the reasons they can trek hundreds of miles is the soft inner sole of their hoof – and one of the reasons they can walk across vertical rock is because of the hard perimeter of their hoof.”

As you’d imagine, this insight inspired the innovation behind the Ruckel Ridge’s multi-density and hybrid traction performance outsole. A soft sticky rubber makes up the inner surface for traction on wet & dry surfaces and to deliver dynamic comfort. The rubber surrounding that is described as a “High-performance road running formula.” At the outer-most perimeter, Cooper and the team equipped the outsole with a “cleat” rubber that works in combination with a multi-density sock liner and midsole with reinforced sidewalls to mimic the mountain goat abilities that allow you to trek across the city and climb mountainous terrains.
The work down below didn’t end at the outsole. There are additional materials between the multi-density outsole and dual-density midsole that act as a “Dynamic Debris Guard.”

While most hiking footwear incorporates materials to protect your feet from bruising, this also creates a barrier that restricts ground sensitivity. Cooper and the team did not want to settle for that. “We set out to do both; Allow for that essential communication between the ground and your foot, while also protecting you from potential bruising. We found that the combination of a material originally invented for the Air Foamposite and a rate-sensitive, stretchable, high shock-absorbing foam creates a layer of protection without compromise.”
With the foundation of the shoe established, the team looked to match their efforts with the upper design.

While the outsole played on the biomimicry of a mountain goat hoof, the upper was built to create a proprioceptive connection between you and the ground underneath. In other words, mentally connecting you with the shoe. This was accomplished thanks to a specifically developed Flyknit collar and a quick lacing system. “The lacing is simple and does create a secure closure, but what you don’t realize at first glance is it connects directly with a 'quad-axial' woven material to create a containment system for your feet," Cooper explained. Instead of trying to “Lock your foot down,” the team set out to contain the foot while allowing it to perform naturally. Additionally, the Flyknit collar works to keep out debris on your treks.

Blending inspiration from hybrid cycles and mountain goats with athlete insights, the shoe presents a combination of giving athletes what they want and more. A shoe that not only meets their needs in the great outdoors but also in their everyday city life. As Aaron Cooper simply puts it, “The ACG Ruckel Ridge is an extension of your natural anatomy amplified with the biomimicry of a mountain goat.”
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