40 years ago, the “Nike Cortez” started off so small. So how did it become the significant aspect to the success of Nike, Inc.?

Originally a track shoe, the Nike Cortez was first designed by Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman. Not only was he a visionary, he was also an Olympic-class track coach who saw to it that athletes deserved better shoes that are more comfortable and durable. He wanted to engineer running shoes that were versatile for both distance training and road running.

Bill Bowerman finalized his image of the Nike Cortez in 1968.


In 1972, the first Nike Cortez shoes were launched, during the peak of the Olympics. It gained rapid interest from the public and the rest, as they say, was history.

Fast forward to 40 years later, although the shoes have continuously been redesigned (change in material, weight, etc.), the demand for the Nike Cortez was still escalating, with shoe sales going through the roof. And because of the popularity of the shoes, Nike, Inc. is now a multi-billion dollar corporation, with stores in more than 160 countries and a headcount of 35,000 employees worldwide.


Yesterday, Nike Malaysia celebrated 40 years of running for the Nike Cortez at Juice, Bangsar Baru. It was part of the worldwide celebration and the evening saw the presence of honoured guests from the creative industry, celebrities, and members of the media.

Besides, what better way to celebrate the birthday of a running revolution than a night filled with Asahi beer, Ramli burger, cotton candy, ice cream, Nike Cortez cupcakes, a “Pimp My Cortez” competition, and good music from our local DJs, right?

For more pictures, click!

Perhaps it’s the comfort and durability of the shoes, or the fact that it took an athletic powerhouse to be obsessed enough to create it, one thing’s for sure, Nike wouldn’t be what it is today if not for the Nike Cortez.

Happy Birthday, Nike Cortez. Here’s to many more years of running to come!

To learn more about the iconic Nike Cortez, go here.

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