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Shoe Spotlight: Nike Cortez

Debuting during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, the Nike Cortez became an unmistakable icon, worn by team USA, as the first track shoe designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. Bowerman, an Olympic-class track coach himself, imagined a performance track shoe lighter and more comfortable than any other shoe available at the time. He felt that athletes needed a weatherproof and durable running shoe designed for distance, training, and road running. It was that simple idea that spawned the silhouette that became one of the most significant aspect to the success of Nike, Inc. Putting unprecedented cushioning under the fastest feet in the running world, and thriving with the urban scenes of Los Angeles, the Cortez quickly became the most popular training shoe in the country.

Over the past 20 years, the Nike Cortez has been redesigned several times. Leather was first used to construct the runners, however Bowerman soon realized that changing the material of the shoe's upper to nylon or suede could greatly reduce the weight of the shoe. In 2009, a new design of the Nike Cortez - the Cortez Fly Motion -debuted. The Cortez Fly Motion instituted flywire: Nike’s lightweight thread made of Vectran stabilizing the upper of the shoe, further reducing the weight. Since its release in 1972, no shoe has expanded the definition of a running shoe quite like the Nike Cortez. Appearing on the silver-screen, the Cortez’s can be seen in Ernest R. Dickinson’s cult classic Juice, on the feet of George Costanza in episodes of Seinfeld, and who could forget that time Forrest Gump ran across the whole of America in a magic pair of Nike Cortez, just because he felt like running? With such a rich history and classic look, the Nike Cortez is a timeless running-inspired profile that is here to stay.