Designed by Olympic track coach Bill Bowerman, the Nike Cortez was originally created to be a comfortable running shoe to help with long distance and rough terrain. It was first debuted in the 1972 Olympics and has remained so heavily iconic since then, now transcending from a running shoe to its current revival as a streetwear staple.
So, why is the Cortez considered a street style essential? First and foremost, it's history lies in the street wear scene from the late '80s when hip-hop culture and fashion was on the rise. The Cortez mixes well with both high and low fashion. Not to mention, the sneaker is known as "one of the most comfortable shoes ever", so what's better than a stylish shoe that you can wear with ease?
I love how the Cortez is so versatile and easy to style. I feel like the design details really add a touch of sophistication--I've seen different variations of the shoe worn with culottes, dresses, skirts, you name it. For these sneakers, I love a tapered pant that sits right above the ankle. Wearing form-fitting clothing that complements your body definitely pairs well with these slim-fit kicks, and helps to give a really cohesive look.
The narrow silhouette of the shoe makes it easy to dress up or down. It's so slim that you can play with proportions easily. For this outfit I went with a more sleek look. The Cortez comes in so many different color ways, so color matching is a cool factor to add to your outfit when styling the sneaker.
I am obsessed with this cropped cut-out top from Motel, as well as these funky gingham print trousers from Pull&Bear. Pairing a cropped top with a pant that sits right at the waist line creates just enough balance. For accessories, I chose a black purse with silver hardware to match the belt, and these white retro sunnies. One thing I love to do is have two bold accessories that match in color equally distributed within the look.
The Nike Cortez is definitely a closet staple as we head toward the summer. It's super light-weight, easy to wear, and super affordable. Whenever I can spend less than $100 on a pair of sneakers, I'm all over it. How will you style your pair?