Nike Cortez : history of a legend

Many trainers have left their mark on sports (just a recall we tend to forget: trainers are originally made for sports) and fashion history, undoubtedly the Nike Cortez is one of the most important model in both running and sneakers culture. It is the first shoe released by Nike, the first technological succes as the first best-seller of the “swoosh” brand. More than a running shoe but also a fashion icon, here is the Cortez story:

If you guys know the Cortez for what is has become today, it can’t be dissociated from Nike’s history. A starting point for which would become 40 years later the world’s leading sportswear brand. let’s go back to 1972, Phil Knight, Bill Bowerman and Jeff Johnson have just stopped selling other brand’s products to focus on their own one (1968). The legendary “swoosh” logo was freshly designed (1971) and they had been working on the “waffle shoe” for four years (1968). At that time, Jeff Johnson goes from one athletics track to another in a van to promote Nike’s products as the brand’s main salesman (was already existing but still had no branded products).

In 1972, for Munich summer Olympics, Nike proposes to American athetes to test its now shoe: the Cortez was launched! Bill Bowerman was a former athletics coach at the University of Oregon , he created the shoe following distance runner’s needs. Then Nike introduced its “waffle” canted sole, flexible as grippy, topped by another rubber shock-absorbing mid-sole. Ideal for feet comfort , both soles aimed at reducing legs fatigue and Achille’s heel effort. Its nylon fabric provided lightness. In a few words: a revolution for distance runners.

Seeing the shoes worn by American athletes during the Olympics, the public soon become fascinated for this new brand with its “swoosh” logo: immediate succes. Craze for the Cortez goes far away from a simple running shoe. U.S. university athletes henceforth keep wearing their trainers even after their training sessions, developping an urban streetwear culture. For lack of stocks the original color was navy, but the range soon started to expand to some further colorways, being worn on the athletics tracks like in the streets from then on.

Since its birth, each generation has grown up with a pair or Cortez they associate to a sportsman, a movie, from Steve Prefontaine to Forrest Gump, the shoe marked all eras. Even today in a time of sneakers culture and vintage, the Cortez still got it! Ideal for summer times thanks to its lightness, it still matches our chinos, jeans and shorts greately. By this way, Nike launched this year to possibility to costumize your own “ID” Cortez to celebrate its 40years of existence.

Available on the Nike Store – price : from €90 to €115 depends of the version (leather, suede or nylon).

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