Size and fit

In terms of sizing, there’s hardly any difference for the Nike Cortez Ultra Moire as it runs true to size. It is available in men’s and women’s sizes.

Nike Cortez Ultra Moire Style

The Nike Cortez Ultra Moire continues the legacy of one of Nike’s most popular shoes. This time, the Cortez gets a modern upgrade with a modern touch of Ultra Moire material that has also been applied to equally popular and iconic shoes such as the Air Max 1 and Air Max 90.

The result is a lightweight and breathable sneaker that is sleek to wear for various casual occasions. Whether you are wearing shorts or pants, the Nike Cortez Ultra Moire is easy to style and match with clothing. It first came in the stylish OG White, Blue, and Red colorway but other colorways such as Black, Beige, Obsidian, and Red soon followed.

Notable Features

While the silhouette of this iconic sneaker seems to be its most notable feature, the Nike Cortez Ultra Mire came prepared with a few upgrades that improve its upper and sole materials. It includes a one-piece compression molded upper made up of perforated leather material that is lightweight and seamless. The lightweight and breathable upper also sits on an updated sole material comprising of an injected Phylon midsole with three foam densities for soft cushioning while the improved herringbone pattern has an enhanced grip and traction.

Nike Cortez Ultra Moire History

Released at the time of the 1972 Olympics, the Nike Cortez has been a pioneering design of the brand that really got people talking. It was light, sleek, and comfortable sneakers that every runner wants at the time. It is made of leather with wedges on the rubber sole that is ideal for the track.

Designed by Olympic track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, it was Nike’s first sign of commercial success as sales of the Cortez reached $800,000 in its first year of sales.

Now, some 45 years since its launch, the Nike Cortez silhouette still commands huge sales for the company. Later installations of the Cortez in the past 20 to 30 years offered a more laidback and casual design that has made it among the go-to casual shoes and bestselling sneakers of all time.

But going back to its early beginnings in 1968, the Cortez was initially called Corsair, patterned after Japanese brand Onitsuka’s Corsair. Back then, Nike was still Blue Ribbon Sports and Bowerman was at the helm with fellow Nike co-founder Phil Knight in crafting a good running shoe. Bowerman intended his new shoe design for long-distance running with a herringbone sole that can stand a lot of wear during runs. Incidentally, Bowerman was also the man who introduced jogging or recreational running in the US in the 1970s. But it wasn’t the Cortez that was the first running shoe released by the brand when it was already known as Nike, Inc. but the Nike Waffle Trainer or the so-called Moon Shoes which Bowerman also designed. It featured a waffle rubber sole and leather upper.

However, it was the Nike Cortez that got everyone talking when it was introduced in the streets of Los Angeles with its thick, long-wearing outer sole that absorbs shock and reduces leg fatigue.

Some 20 years after its release, the Nike Cortez slowly transitioned from being a running shoe into a casual shoe. Its popularity never waned and instead continued to produce sales for the world’s largest shoe manufacturer as it was a staple among the street style hip-hop-loving community.

But what further boosted Cortez's sales was the 1994 award-winning movie, Forrest Gump. The movie which featured actor Tom Hanks as running enthusiast Gump at one scene flashed the Nike Cortez in its OG colorway the White, Varsity Red, and  Royal Blue colorway. As a result, sales of the Cortez skyrocketed again that it is but fitting for Nike to name one of the shoe’s models as the OG Nike Cortez Forrest Gump as an ode to the film.

The same iconic colorway of the Cortez was used by brand designers in the Nike Cortez Ultra Moire when it first hit the stores in July 2016. The lightweight and breathable shoe had perforated upper with modern materials that reduce material wastes than traditional cut and sew methods.

Additional Info

  • Despite lacking arch support, the Nike Cortez Ultra Moire has a removable insole which can easily be replaced by orthotic insoles to provide extra arch support when needed.
  • Among the celebrities seen wearing the Nike Cortez Ultra Moire were Bella Hadid, Christina Milian, and Chris Brown.


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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.