Over the years the shoe has propelled champion runners, graced silver screens (in a 1994 best picture winner, no less) as well as televisions and become a staple of west coast hip-hop street style.
“The Cortez is an iconic shoe that harkens back to my earliest days in the sport. The shoe allowed me the confidence and support to explore my fullest potential as a young aspiring athlete,” recalls Joan Benoit Samuelson, gold medalist of the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Anglenes games.
The first true women’s version of the shoe, the Senorita Cortez, hit market two years later in 1974. The aesthetic and performance retained the hallmarks of the original, and throughout the ’70s enjoyed status as Nike’s best-selling shoe. In 1977, Nike Cortez hit living rooms across the United States via the small screen, helping to solidify icon status among women across the U.S. and beyond.