It’s pretty obvious that sneakers with a great story behind it live forever.
The Nike Cortez is one such sneaker with an amazing backstory that has lasted for over 46 years.
Before coming into existence as the Nike Coretz, there was a previous chapter to the story of this sneaker.
The American track and field coach Bill Bowerman, who later became a co-founder of Nike , worked on a running shoe named TG-24 together with the Japanese footwear company Onitsuka Tiger (Asics). In August of 1966, Bowerman ordered 300 pairs of the “TG-24 shoe designed by Bill Bowerman w/Mexico Line” (this was the name of the shoe lol) to be distributed in the US. The shoe contained everything that a runner at that time was looking for and it went on to become one of the best selling runners if that year.
Have you heard of ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’? Well if you haven’t, it was the name of Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman’s company before they decided to change it to “Nike”. This was an Oregon based company that imported these performance shoes from Japan to the US.
In 1967 ,Bowerman, who created this shoe (TG24) decided to change its name to a more market friendly name. So he came up with the name “Mexico”. This name was inspired by the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico.
After the year of the Olympics came, Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka Tiger wanted better sounding and a more flashier name for the sneaker.
So they came up with the name “Aztec”. This name was based on ancient Mexican history and the Aztec Empire. But they soon got into some legal trouble as this name was too close to the Adidas Azteca Gold track shoe.
So Blue Ribbon Sports renamed the shoe as the “Cortez”. This name was allegedly chosen after Hernan Cortés who defeated the Aztecs. (In your face Adidas!)
The TG-24 Cortez became an instant bestseller and it went on to become the number 1 bestselling shoe in the history of Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka Tiger.