Not many running shoes have the kind of vibrant history that the Nike Cortez does. The shoe, officially launched at the 1972 Munich Olympics, is almost as old as the Nike brand itself (Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike Inc. in 1971). It started out as a modern running shoe, and has transitioned into a lifestyle must-have with a retro personality. Over the years, the Cortez has gone through multiple revisions, but the iconic design has stayed. And that holds true for the 2018 line-up too.

Nike is offering an extensive range to choose from—there are 60 variants in multiple colours (Nike calls them colorways), and leather, nylon, suede and corduroy finishes. The Nike swoosh logo sits on the outer side of each shoe, a contrast on some options (white on a black shoe, for instance) and merging in others (white on white). Generous padding around the foot provides insulation from shocks or jerks and keeps you comfortable for extended periods. The leather variant is easier to maintain but does not allow for much ventilation. The nylon upper variants may require a bit more maintenance periodically to remove dust, but they offer more airflow.

Over the years, the Cortez has gone through multiple revisions, but the iconic design has stayed. And that holds true for the 2018 line-up too
Over the years, the Cortez has gone through multiple revisions, but the iconic design has stayed. And that holds true for the 2018 line-up too

The Cortez stays true to the narrow design—which may mean you’ll need to buy a size larger than you would other running shoes. While a lot of new running shoes use exotic materials for the midsole, with claims of boosting comfort as well as responsiveness, the Cortez simply goes for a cushy EVA mid-sole that provides comfort and a certain amount of responsiveness. It does not have the most cutting-edge technology—simplicity, perhaps, is its biggest strength.

The Cortez has stood the test of time—and Nike has stuck to the basics that have made this shoe so popular over the years.

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