Nike Cortez... a history
Started by Bill Bowerman in 1972, the Cortez was designed to take the strain of repetitive running by athletes; it had to hold up to 100 miles of training a week. Modeled on the cushioned comfort of a flip flop, a foam mid-sole provided comfort along the natural shape of the foot.
Nike may have kept things classic on 2008's Running Man Cortez collection (which also featured an updated Air Max) but the inky blue and silver swoosh gave it a futuristic look. The Cortez gained the nickname "Forest Gumps' after the character of the same name ran across America in, er, the film of the same name.
In 2002, Nike launched the Nike Chinese New Year series, transforming their classic trainers into designs inspired by the signs of the Zodiac. The Tiger Cortez Classic, released in 2010, was the first time a Cortez was used in the series, and featured a silk tiger-stripe print, with the classic swoosh made from horsehair. Quite a leap from the brand's athletic roots.
Part of Nike's Athletic Department series, which focused on sports and training apparel, these Cortez were made in black suede, with coloured accents along the Swoosh, mid-sole and heel. Sneaker-freaks will tell you the time to replace your Cortez' is when the teeth (the grip on the sole) have worn down.
Although these may look a bit too stylish for the simple Cortez, they were designed this year as a fusion of new-meets-old-school trainers. A women's version was available in brown and pink which, to be honest, looked a bit mental. We like these ones - they're a little more grown up.
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A Brief History of the Nike Cortez
FULLY-FUNCTIONAL STYLE STAPLE
By Chris Mandle, 28 November 2011