Memories - Nike Cortez

Nike Cortez shoe in black suede with gray SWOOSH and midsoleExample: Suede leather (black, gray SWOOSH)

Nike Cortez in black nylon with white SWOOSH and midsoleExample: Nylon (black, white SWOOSH)

Nike Cortez shoe in blue nylon with white SWOOSHExample: Nylon (blue, white SWOOSH)

Nike Cortez shoe in white leather with black SWOOSH and midsoleExample: Smooth leather (white, black SWOOSH)

Nike Cortez shoe in white leather with Carolina blue SWOOSH and midsoleExample: Smooth leather (white, Carolina blue SWOOSH)

Nike Cortez shoe in white leather with a red SWOOSH and blue midsole trimExample: Smooth leather (white, red SWOOSH, blue accents).

The author of the book "Sneaker Nation" thinks these are the all-time classic sneakers. I like them too, but I disagree vehemently. The title of "all-time classic sneaker" belongs rightfully to the Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star, having been reported by Converse (when they were an independent company) to have sold over 550 million pairs, and going strong under the Nike corporate banner!

In 1968, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman designed the Onitsuka Cortez with "total toe to heel" cushioning, an innovation in training shoes for runners; at least in comparison to the thin-soled, rock-hard training shoes that predated the Corsair. When Nike and Onitsuka parted ways in 1972, Nike brought out the very similar Cortez.

The Cortez comes in leather, nylon, and suede; color choices include black, red, orange, green, and various shades of blue. The Cortez design has been reissued over and over again by Nike. Newer technology, such as Nike AIR, has made the Cortez obsolete as a serious running shoe. Like virtually all sneakers of its era, now it's pretty much relegated to the casual sneaker category.

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Last Updated: 22 February 2017

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