Size and fit

The Cortez Basic Leather upper is built with full-grain leather which makes it durable and offers a premium feel. This material provides support for the foot when in motion. The low-cut collar gives freedom of movement to the ankle. This running-inspired sneaker is well-padded inside which makes it very comfortable for the feet.

Nike Cortez Basic Leather Style

If the first Bowerman masterpiece way back in 1972 was such a hit back then, the updated version made of premium leather rocks sneakerheads’ lives. The clean and sleek construction can be seen in neutral colorways and is perfect for any casual activity.

This low-top Nike Cortez Basic Leather model complements everyday clothes such as plain colored tops, skinny jeans, shorts, and joggers. Looking good seems so effortless when sporting around in this shoe.

Notable Features

This sneaker is a dead ringer for the old model and has a debossed lace dubrae with the “Cortez 72” logo etched on it for emphasis. As a whole, the Cortez Basic Leather maintains its vintage silhouette but has a more comfortable foam midsole which acts as a cushion for the foot. The herringbone tread is also to be noted for as it adds on to the grip of the foot.

Nike Cortez Basic Leather History

It all started way back in the trunk of Phil Knight’s car. It was a combination of Knight’s search to make a living without giving up athletics and Bill Bowerman’s quest for the best racing shoes. As Knight went to Japan in 1963, he was able to meet up with a famous Japanese running shoe manufacturer, Tiger, a subsidiary of the Onitsuka Company. Both parties invested $500 in selling some pairs in the US under Blue Ribbon Sports, Knight’s representation.

Everything went well in the following year, and as sales reached a million dollars, they changed the brand to Nike and made the Swoosh its trademark in 1971. The new brand name Nike means a winged goddess of victory according to Greek mythology. And this best describes how Nike ventures into the shoe business.

One of the reasons why Nike is the top choice among athletes is that each shoe is made for a particular activity. From the Nike Air Technology up to the most advanced self-lacing design, Hyperadapt line, this brand only proved to the consumers that they could keep up with the different demands. Though there is one style that is still in demand – the Nike Cortez. It is classic and timeless which can perfectly go with any outfit.

The Nike Cortez became a hit during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Yet Bowerman continued to improve the shoe by changing the leather upper to nylon. This was then called the Nike Nylon Cortez, the world’s fastest running shoe. But Bowerman did not stop there. A more updated version featured a better leather upper plus the foam midsole for comfort. And this is the low-top Nike Cortez Basic Leather.

Though this shoe is running-inspired, people see it more as lifestyle footwear that is versatile. It is an icon with interesting colorways that sneakerheads continue to tune in for more developments in the future.

Additional Info

  • The Nike logo is all over the shoe - tongue, heel tab and insole.
  • This sneaker is an updated version of Bill Bowerman’s 1972 running model.


How Nike Cortez Basic Leather ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 26% sneakers
All sneakers
Top 18% Nike sneakers
All Nike sneakers
Top 25% low sneakers
All low sneakers


The current trend of Nike Cortez Basic Leather.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.