Size and fit

Built with a breathable and light nylon upper overlaid with durable suede, folks can expect a comfortable yet supportive fit from this model. Its low-cut profile also lets wearers move their ankles freely. Its narrow build, though, may cause slight discomfort for wide-footed sneaker fanatics, thus sizing up is well recommended.

Nike Cortez Basic Nylon Style

An updated version of Bowerman’s first masterpiece, the running shoe-inspired and low-top Nike Cortez Basic Nylon maintains its forerunner’s vintage silhouette almost untouched.

Its clean construction is often seen in a wide array of colors including black, white, yellow, and royal blue. Everyday clothes like jeans, shorts, joggers, skirts and leggings simply look good with this model.

Notable Features

Looking a lot like its ancestor, the silver lace dubrae with a debossed Cortez 72” logo and the revamped outsole tooling defines its look. Its outsole, however, retains its stripe for added pop, its foam midsole for lightweight cushioning, and the herringbone tread for traction and grip.

Nike Cortez Basic Nylon History

Sneaker juggernaut Nike, in the 1960s, started as a small business called the Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). A sole distributor of Japanese shoe manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger (aka ASICS), co-founder and track coach Bill Bowerman worked with Onitsuka Tiger in creating a distance and road running shoe that is both comfortable and durable.

In the year 1966, a runner called the TG-24 made its debut. Designed by Bowerman, this shoe was crafted with an aerodynamic upper and a thick rubber sole with a raised heel. It offered enhanced comfort and durability. It also helped reduce injuries. This innovative creation was just what the athletes needed in those days.

Over the years, Bowerman changed the shoe’s name from the Mexico” to the Aztec” and finally the Cortez.” A shoe launched during Onitsuka Tiger's and BRS' partnership; these two companies split resulted in a legal battle over the Cortez’ rights. In the end, both were permitted to produce and sell the model. However, BRS, which at that time was already known as Nike kept the Cortez name while Onitsuka Tiger called their version as the Corsair.”

The Nike Cortez made its mark in the year 1972 during the Munich Olympics. Despite its success, Bowerman, who was insistent on developing the lightest possible runner, thought it was wise to change the original’s leather upper and create a nylon version. Known as the Nike Nylon Cortez, this 1975 model was marketed as the world’s lightest running shoe.”

The brand, though, did not stop there. Time went by, and Nike continued to make subtle tweaks to the shoe’s construction and materials. The updated version dubbed the Nylon Basic Cortez, later on, surfaced. Although no longer made for the track, this now lifestyle footwear features a slightly wider and higher heel as well as a lace dubrae.

Additional Info

  • The textile lining, as well as padded tongue and collar, give the shoe a better in-shoe feel.
  • Nike logo is placed on the heel tab, tongue label and insole for additional branding.


How Nike Cortez Basic Nylon ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 47% sneakers
All sneakers
Top 36% Nike sneakers
All Nike sneakers
Top 48% low sneakers
All low sneakers


The current trend of Nike Cortez Basic Nylon.
Compare to another shoe:
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.