The Cortez’ legacy has as much to do with the adoption of the model by the streets as it does the success of the technical components on the track. With its dominating swoosh and simple colorblocking, the Cortez became a popular sneaker among entire Latino crews in Los Angeles. LA-based tattoo artist Mr. Cartoon has spoken extensively about the importance of the running shoe, along with plain white T-shirts and Dickies, in defining the uniform of Los Angeles gang members. After its street credibility peaked, mainstream fashion eventually caught on and the shoe later became a staple in early 90s Brit-Pop.
With its understated design and undeniable comfort, the Cortez has grown from a performance-driven sneaker for what was then a new-found phenomenon called “jogging” to a model that has defined what has become the world’s most successful sports brand. Nike has gone on to reinvigorate the model with updated technology like flywire and an even lighter weight EVA midsole, but even these models still preserve what made its predecessor so well-regardedâ€”simple styling and trademark performance.
Original 1985 deadstock Nike Cortez
Thanks to Mike Packer of Packer Shoes.