A Closer Look at Nike ACG's Air Deschutz

Read why the revived 1992 classic may be the best sport-sandal of summer 2020.

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Footwear 
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Enjoying the great outdoors has become a bit of a luxury for city-dwellers, and more so now than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to maintain its grip on society. With restrictions on social gatherings in place all around the globe, traversing an uncongested trail may be our only solace from the monotony of staying home this summer.

“Since the pandemic began, it feels like people have been itching to get outdoors and experience nature more and more,” Nike Design Director Nur Abbas tells us in an exclusive conversation. “The idea of outdoors must be more important than ever.”

At the turn of the month, Nike ACG revealed its Summer 2020 collection, complete with the return of the brand’s cult-favorite Air Deschutz sandal. In typical ACG fashion, the seasonal range is primed for nature-seeking-urbanites, and was inspired by a trip the design team took to Japan’s countryside. “The story of their journey out of [Tokyo] to find a place to hike informed the pieces in this collection,” says Abbas. “Things like the lightweight GORE-TEX Paclite jacket because of the tropical rain, or the NRG Vest being a great transition piece that’s useful when you’re traveling to find your day hike.”

Other items within the summer collection include a Polartec®-equipped fleece, a trendy tie-dye Moc 3.0, and a number of new items exclusively for women, such as sweat-wicking, UV-protecting NRG Bodysuit. Yet, even with the advanced tech considered, the standout piece for many ACG fans is the Air Deschutz.

As the fashion world continues to find new and inventive ways to incorporate anti-fashion sandals into their wardrobe, be it from brands like Suicoke or Birkenstock, the revival of Nike ACG’s early ‘90s cross-training sandal couldn’t have come at a better time. Delivering on both functionality and style, 2020’s Air Deschutz is modeled after the original from 1992.

When Nike introduced the Air Deschutz, the sport sandal market was very new and niche, with U.S.-based Teva controlling much of the market since its founding in the mid-80s. Even then, despite being 30-plus years old, the designs haven’t changed all that much. “We tried to keep it as close to the OG Air Deschutz as possible,” a Nike spokesperson tells us. “We updated a lot from a fit and feel standpoint however. A couple key improvements from the OG include: an updated foam for a softer underfoot ride; a wider footbed to fit a variety of foot shapes and sizes; and the addition of a Full Sticky Rubber outsole for increased traction.”

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the resurrected Air Deschutz to weartest a bit, in addition to the aforementioned NRG Vest and a pair of lightweight convertible pants. In short, the Deschutz holds up: it’s ultra-comfy and the traction is tremendous, especially as we were jumping to and from wet rocks at the base of a 175-foot waterfall in Upstate New York. The quick drying materials also came in handy when we intentionally stepped in a shallow end of the pool — although our knit socks didn’t hold up nearly as well. If you’re looking for a durable, classically-style sport sandal that you can wear on the street and trail, you won’t be disappointed with Nike ACG’s Air Deschutz.

Nike ACG’s Summer 2020 collection, which includes the Air Deschutz in five different colorways, hit Nike.com and select retailers today, May 14. The Air Deschutz is priced at $75 USD.

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