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Nike Cortez

Nike Cortez - a cornerstone of the sneaker scene

The Nike Cortez is one of the oldest sneakers in Nike's company history and therefore already has a few years under its belt. The first Cortez saw the light of day back in 1966 and has inspired fans all over the world ever since.

Over time, the icon has undergone many design changes and has often been relaunched with different materials such as leather, velour or nylon. The focus on comfort, durability and resistance has always remained the same over the years. In particular, the sneaker's raised heel was celebrated by countless athletes as it significantly reduced the risk of Achilles tendon injury. The Nike Cortez is also no stranger to big collaborations. Stars like Bella Hadid or Kendrick Lamar have already added their personal touch to the sneaker in the past and generated a lot of hype. Such collabs like the Nike Cortez are often revived and shine in new splendour. So that you don't miss out on these future releases, you should subscribe to our Grailify newsletter or download our free Grailify app instead.

Nike Cortez - Sneaker with a History

When it comes to the all-time favourite Nike silhouettes, the discussion usually revolves around very popular sneakers like the Air Max, the Air Force 1 and of course the Air Jordan. Even though these models have been in the limelight for ages and the Air Max recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, the Nike Cortez has been in the sneaker game for much longer. The classic turned 45 not too long ago and still looks as sexy as ever. Within this immensely long period of time, the Cortez went through quite a few changes and relaunches, which we will now present to you!

Before the Nike Cortez was even allowed to see the light of day, there was already a previous chapter in the mid-60s. In cooperation with the Japanese shoe manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger, Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike, designed a sneaker with an aerodynamic upper, a continuous foam midsole and a very traction-rich herringbone outsole. In 1966, Bowerman had 300 pairs of his creation made under the rudimentary name "TG-24" and sold all models to athletes within the United States. Apart from the very bulky name, the shoe fulfilled all the athletes' wishes and became an absolute bestseller.

Those who know a little about the history of Nike will know that at that time they were still operating under the name Blue Ribbon Sports. BRS imported high-performance shoes from Japan to the USA for a long time and met with a really high demand. In 1967, Bowerman finally changed the name of the sneaker to the much more digestible pseudonym "Mexico". This change was appropriately based on the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, which Bowerman saw as an ideal opportunity to market the new running shoes. But even the Mexico was to keep its name for only a few laps of the track.

Shortly before the start of the Olympics, Bowerman and Onitsuka Tiger decided on the new pseudonym "Aztec". This name also remained for a short period of time, however, as a rather critical letter from Germany arrived very soon. From a legal point of view, the newly chosen name was too close to the adidas Azteca Gold, which is why a new term had to be chosen very quickly. And so BRS finally decided on the now world-famous name "Cortez". Allegedly, this pseudonym was chosen because the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes defeated the Aztecs. Quite a clever dig at the competition from Germany. In addition, the sneaker became an absolute bestseller despite the forced name change. The TG-24 Cortez was adored by countless athletes for its features, but the big breakthrough also slowly began in the lifestyle sector. Even though the collaboration between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was a huge success, there were some problems brewing behind the scenes.

In May 1971, Bowerman and Knight changed the name of their company from BRS to Nike. The plan was to sell the Nike Cortez as one of the first model series under the new name and thus be well positioned for the launch of the brand. However, this resulted in a legal dispute with the previous partner company Onitsuka Tiger that lasted for years. During this time, both manufacturers marketed their sneakers under similar designs and the name "Cortez" until Nike won the dispute in 1974. The rest is history 😉 Over the course of the next few years, the Nike Cortez became an absolute classic in the casual wear segment and is still loved by fans all over the world 45 years later.

Design details of the Nike Cortez

The characteristic design of the Nike Cortez is characterised by clean lines and minimalist elements. The sneaker features a sleek upper made from premium leather that not only gives it a classic aesthetic, but also provides durability and comfort. The signature S-shape of the Swoosh logo on the sides gives the shoe a distinctive look and symbolises the dynamism and speed of the sport it was originally designed for. Another eye-catching design element is the wide midsole, which not only ensures a stable fit but also gives the shoe a contemporary silhouette. The outsole features a grippy herringbone outsole that offers excellent traction on various surfaces and also makes the sneaker suitable for sports activities. Furthermore, the Nike Cortez features a variety of colourways that have been released over the years. From classic monochrome colours to vibrant and bold colourways, the Nike Cortez has covered a wide range of styles, making it a versatile and popular sneaker for all tastes. Furthermore, the classic Nike Cortez has also played an important role in pop culture. From famous actors and musicians to athletes and fashion icons, many celebrities have worn the sneaker in public, contributing to its cultural significance. Despite its long history and the many changes it has undergone over the years, the Nike Cortez is a timeless classic that is appreciated by sneaker lovers all over the world. Its unique design details, the combination of tradition and innovation as well as its unmistakable aesthetics have made it a shoe that continues to fascinate and inspire even after decades.
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