Nike’s Cortez : The 40 Year Itch

Nike Celebrates Cortez’s 40th Birthday





By Prabhu Silvam

Art and fashion have always enjoyed a notorious “odd-bedfellow” relationship. Trust the wonderful folks at Nike to up that status by a few notches with the Cortez –iconic retro inspired sneakers. This year, the brand is proud to celebrate Cortez’s 40th year in circulation.

Originally conceived in the mid-sixties by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, the “Cortez”, with its thick outer sole and elevated heel sockets, was initially designed to aid the long distance runner. But as fate would have it, these shoes have long evolved into every designer’s muse. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Nike invited some of the greatest names in design in and around Asia to create wearable art- in the form of self-designed pairs of Cortez’s- on the shoe’s 40th birthday bash.

Graphic designer Ling Wu, visual artist Luthfi Mustafah (who also holds a credible street repute as graffiti artist Killer Gerbil) and artist Mriz Sidah are just some of the big names to have made their imprints on Cortez’s 40th birthday.

A clearly elated Ling Wu, whose designs have graced catwalks around the globe, exclaimed at the showcase, “This initiative by Nike is nothing short of spectacular. It’s an absolute pleasure as an artist, to be given the freedom and license to play – and the proof is in the pudding. Some of the designs on show today are the best I’ve seen!”

Happy 40th Birthday Cortez. Here’s to 40 more.