Women's Nike Cortez
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It’s not a stretch to call the Nike Cortez the most comfortable shoe in “history” when you consider its historical connections. The women’s Nike Classic Cortez lets you write your own chapter.
A Shoe for the Ages
From the time the Nike Cortez debuted during the Munich games in 1972, it captured the world's attention. But its international athletic presence had begun four years prior in Mexico City.
Before Nike was Nike, it was Blue Ribbon Sports, co-founded in 1964 by Phil Knight and his college track coach Bill Bowerman. They began by distributing and designing shoes for another maker, including one that was to be called the “Aztec” as a reference to the 1968 Mexico City games.
But they encountered a legal roadblock when a rival shoe company deemed the name too close to its own “Azteca Gold” shoe. So the name “Cortez” came to Knight and Bowerman, as the name of the Spanish conquistador seemed a clever way to “defeat the Aztecs.”
Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike in 1971, and the newly rebranded company rolled out the Cortez en masse at the 1972 games – complete with the newborn Swoosh logo – before winning sole legal right to the name in 1974.
The Nike Classic Cortez may be a streetwear staple today, but with original designs geared toward long-distance runners, it has long and deep roots in high-performance athletics.
Bowerman tinkered with those early upper materials to lighten up the shoe, swapping out the original leather for the lighter suede and much lighter nylon.
The foam midsole and outsole of the shoe were the first produced by the company to cushion your every step. The multiple layers of foam give extra cushioning to your heel to reduce impact and help keep legs feeling fresh mile after mile.
The oversized Swoosh and the contrasting heel tab give designers easy options for colorblocking, so look for hits of color there. And the colored-up foam wedge adds another hit of color while distinguishing between the layers of foam.
The herringbone traction pattern was designed to help propel you forward, but it serves an aesthetic purpose as well. In street culture, one could judge how new the Nike Classic Cortez shoes are by the ridges – the “teeth” – of the outsole, visible from the side. The more rigid those teeth, the fresher your gear!