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November 02, 2017

Jay Gordon’s Pendleton x Nike Mowabb is Future Americana

The Nike Air Mowabb, released in 1991, was conceived by Tinker Hatfield as the supreme cross-trainer for the adventurer (bike, hike, boulder? No problem for it). The shoe represented a new kind of thinking for outdoor equipment, furthered by its unique “leave no trace” outsole pattern designed to minimize the wearer’s footprint and reduce degradation to the environment. Moab, Utah, — the ultimate in outdoor adventure destinations — was the pivotal muse, while on the flipside — and unintentionally — the design (which advanced ideas earlier realized in Hatfield’s Huarache runner) made an impact on a wholly different surface: urban concrete.

With that, the Air Mowabb represents transcendence for Nike’s ACG line. Initiated in ’89, all-conditions gear usually meant designing for the outdoors with a strictly athletic perspective. Light, fast and innovative, the footwear offerings stoked those enamored with both trail running and riding single-track, and slowly made way into the consciousness of folks looking for alternatives to typically heavy winter boots. When the Mowabb hit, the trickle turned into a torrent.

Jay Gordon, co-founder of Boston boutique Bodega, was among the many who “hated wearing big, bulky boots,” and found ACG as “my way out.”

“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,” remembers Gordon. “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?’”

The shoe was also the beginning of Gordon’s antiquarian approach to collecting ACG. He studied all its nuances: from the Mowabb’s speckled midsole (a Nike first, inspired by trout skin, that has since become an industry standard form of embellishment) to the cut of jackets. He also charted ACG’s evolving color palate, following along through the ’90s and cataloging the various color packs that dropped in the early ’00s.

Over time, Gordon built a stockpile of important ACG pieces, which comingle with his collection of classic American vintage. “I have a pretty big vintage collection, and I have a lot of Pendleton shirts and jackets,” he notes.  

Gordon’s love affair with American outdoor gear (and ACG in particular) 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 especially 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.

The implication of employing Pendleton on a Mowabb is doubly exciting for Gordon given his penchant for the made-in-Oregon brand and knowledge that Hatfield’s original sketches for the shoe included a Pendleton accent. “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 future Americana. We at Bodega are super-excited to be a part of it.”

To do something with Pendleton and Nike on an ACG shoe…this makes the teenage me very happy.

- Jay Gordon

Launching November 5, Gordon’s two articulations of the Nike iD ACG x Pendleton Mowabb feature an exclusive speckled heel strap and black outsole. Each is numbered 1-100 on the medial side of the collar (in the style of the ACG badge). The Sunset will be available at ComplexCon in Long Beach, while the Arctic lands at Bodega in Boston.

Additional customizable options for the Nike iD ACG x Pendleton will run on nike.com from November 9 at 9 am until November 14 at 11:59 pm.