The Nike Cortez has undergone several changes in the nearly 50 years since its Nike debut, from cutting-edge performance running shoe to unmistakable emblem of street culture to Academy Award supporter. With a similarly confusing beginning that dates back to a time before Nike even existed in its current form, it has been a convoluted and complicated journey through all these distinct stages of evolution. Now its back in another form with the help of Sacai.
The revolutionary period of shoe collaborations can be credited to the Japanese design house Sacai. Nike’s collaboration partners were once counted on to create colorways for already-existing models, but now they must entirely change a shoe without losing its character. Sacai’s initial iterations on the Dunk High and Air Max 90, which eliminated the models’ lacing features, set the stage for their industry-altering LDWaffle, a design idea that has been heavily imitated by the whole sector.
The Nike Cortez, the second product of their collaboration, uses the same stacked design strategy, with heavy layers added to the heel and interior. Their signature lip is present in the chiselled midsole design at the heel, and there are further exaggerations in the forefoot. The model has a visible Zoom Air unit at the forefoot, which is a popular feature in the company’s running and basketball alternatives. The shoe is expected to drop on the 13th of December 2022. To take a closer look scroll below: