Nike Cortez

8.9 score
(WalkJogRun) score (8.9)/10

Our WalkJogRun score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
User's rating: based on 16 user ratings
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Nike Cortez Review Facts

The sign of a good shoe is that it has all three of these characteristics; It’s comfortable, stylish, and most importantly it’s affordable. Having received its initial claim to fame by being featured in the movie Forrest Gump, the Nike Cortez makes the cut. First released in 1972 the Cortez was designed to be the ideal running shoe. Bill Bowerman the designer of the shoe, wanted to create a shoe that was fit for the likes of the Olympic-Class track athletes that he coached to perform in, resulting in the Cortez. Nike has successfully helped the shoe weather the test of time by releasing a variety of colorways; that are both appealing to the eye and to the pockets.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable
  • Inexpensive
  • Quality material
  • Durable
  • Lightweight design
  • Various colorways
  • Runs narrow
  • Difficult to clean
  • Leather design isn’t very breathable
  • Outsole
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 4.5 hours analyzing a total of 853 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • My brother loves his birthday gift. He's been wanting these for a while. I was glad that I was able to get a good price. He says they are true to size.
  • I went up a half size like the reviews mentioned but for my width, these are still a bit narrow. Still a great product.
  • Got these as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend who been overdue for another pair. The quality is great and they fit true to size. He says also that the shoe is very comfortable. His friends are impressed with these also so this gift scores big.
  • My husband is a big fan of this shoe. These are literally his go-to sneaker. They fit his narrow feet well and are very comfortable, he says.
  • I won't wear any other shoes because I love these so much. Been wearing them for years and I have no intention of stopping.
  • My son instantly responding that he wanted another pair as soon as he tried these shoes on. He loves them.
  • I swear by my Nike Cortez. I had at least four pairs of these. They fit comfortably all day. That would explain why I continue to buy them.
  • I was so grateful to find these shoes. Love the different color options. Ordering a few more pairs soon.
  • I've never been disappointed with these shoes. I won't buy another shoe. This is my sneaker and actually my third pair.
  • I am glad that I stuck to my regular size because they fit perfectly. In regards to sizing the reviews were a little confusing.
  • I had a pair of these when I was younger, as a kid actually and really liked them. So I got another pair in my adulthood. Should have purchased a full size larger because the half size up is still snug. But still, I like them.
  • These are not my first pair of Nike Cortez. I am also so satisfied when I buy a pair. Love, love these shoes. The tread on these shoes is awesome.
  • Love the simplicity of this shoe. The shoes on the market today have too much happening, basketball, running etc. This shoe is a legend and a keeper. It's been around for years.
  • You will find people who love or hate these shoes. For me, I purchase them because they look good, and are comfortable. The price is right too. Hope Nike never stops making these shoes.
  • Can't believe I finally got a pair because I've been searching for the Nike Cortez for a while. Love this old-school shoe. Gotta get another pair of these.
  • I have wide feet so I can only wear these for a few hours. But I still love these shoes.
  • These shoes are very comfortable and that's a big deal since I work in a hospital and on my feet all day, almost. Very nice and just as expected.
  • The Nike Cortez is a really nice sneaker. They fit well and look great. Any casual wardrobe will be served well by this shoe.
  • These shoes are snugger than my previous pair but still look great. I know these will loosen up so not worried.
  • I've been wearing these shoes for decades and no plans to stop. There've been a few small changes but what doesn't change is how great these shoes are.
  • Buyers have complained that these do run small.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 853 reviews we found in total, 11% were negative, and 89% were positive.


The Cortez features a durable plastic outsole fitted with a herringbone pattern for added traction and stability. The interlocking grooves of the herringbone pattern allow the user to traverse a variety of terrains without worrying about the shoes either wearing down quickly or slipping due to an inability to find a grip. For a running shoe this is a must because the wearer that they are designed for sometimes need that added edge while either competing or traveling. The ridges, while serving their basic purpose also add an additional flair to the already stylish shoe.


The Cortez features a lightweight wedge style midsole created out of EVA material. This gives the shoe additional comfort and stability; A necessary feature for both the athlete and person who is just seeking a comfortable shoe. The material provides enough rebound to handle any weight that it is placed under. This is especially important for the person seeking to buy the shoe for regular wear; It implies that they wouldn’t have to purchase shoes as frequently. Along with the materials ability to rebound, the EVA adds comfort by reducing the pressure felt by the constant contact with various types of terrain. The added layer protects the feet from sharp objects and improves the wearers ability to travel a greater distance for a longer length of time. The varying densities of the EVA midsole can also be noted by the classic stripe that runs the length of the shoe.


The Cortez comes in a variety of materials, the most basic model sporting a leather upper and the most recent upgrade being to a lightweight fly knit design. The recurring theme of the upper parts of the shoe throughout all the variations of the Cortez is that Nike places makes sure to utilize the contrasting qualities of texture. For instance, the leather models have a mixture of smoother leather material making up the majority of the upper, while a coarse textured leather was used for the area surrounding the eyelets and the heel. For this shoe, Nike made sure to use a lot of contrast throughout. This can be noticed in most of the colorways; The Oregon model for example, used a classic green and yellow ochre. two colors that, if used incorrectly would clash. Nike made it look dope.


The original leather material that the Classic Cortez is made of doesn’t provide much in the way of breathability. The leather doesn’t help much when combined with the rapid movement that wearers usually partake in. Nike combats this problem by designing the shoe with a variety of different materials, from nylon to Fly knit. The more recent materials are a bit more porous and provide what was missing from their leather counterpart. The fly knit for example is thin enough to maintain air flow while the user is engaging in either a strenuous activity or a simply wearing them for everyday use. This is just an area that the classic version of the Cortez was lacking in; the leather, while being cut rather thin is just too thick to provide the wearer with enough air circulation.


Cortez’ throughout the decades are known for one thing, their comfort. The multiple layers of padding on the inside of the Cortez gives the shoe amazing malleability in terms of conforming to the shape and size of the wearers foot. In addition to the foam padding, the thin upper of the shoe, especially in the toe area, aids in providing additional comfort. The rebounding capabilities of the EVA midsole making sure that the material stays fresh also has an added affect; The wearer is saved from feeling the various textures of the ground. Overall the Cortez was designed initially as a shoe for comfort and has maintained that quality during the decades since its birth.


Nike has constantly been reinventing the Cortez. This means that there are a variety of different colorways to choose from so it won’t be too difficult to find a shoe that fits your needs; whether it’s going out for a night on the town, or simply finding a shoe to wear on a regular basis. Nike has pretty much got you covered. The sleek design of this low top shoe makes it extremely versatile in terms of finding complimentary clothing; From a pair skinny jeans or straight leg denim, its up to the wearer. This can be attributed to the simplicity of the design alongside the low top cut; The subtle use of contrasting material along with the contrasting colors also aids the Cortez in its efforts to both stand out and not look too gaudy at the same time.


The leather upper of the classic Cortez proved to be useful in helping the shoe weather the various conditions of the multiplicities of weather patterns outside. Don’t forget to note that they are also made in various materials such as Nylon, Suede, Corduroy, and the relatively new Fly-Knit. Combined with the herringbone pattern of the plastic outsole, this proved to make a relatively long-lasting shoe. The herringbone pattern was designed to be versatile in it’s use, meaning that it needed to be able to withstand a variety of different terrains. Let not forget the EVA midsole which, due to it’s rebounding capabilities can withstand the pressure imposed on it by everyday use. These features coupled with a sturdy design make the Cortez the shoe to look for when durability is necessary.


A running shoe is not quality if it doesn’t provide much in terms of protection. Thankfully, the Cortez was designed for track athletes and the laymen alike. The Herringbone pattern on the Cortez outsole aids the wearer in finding the grip necessary to successfully traverse any terrain. The hardened plastic make of the outsole is relatively thick, which is a must because it prevents outside hazards from being felt while traveling.


The original purpose of this shoe, was to provide something that runners could travel over various terrains in. This is something that Bill considered when designing the Cortez. Fitting it with firm padding and a sturdy material that wouldn’t flex whenever weight was put on it. The padding on the inside of the Cortez and the EVA material in the midsole bend to counter any pressure that may be imposed on the wearers feet by characteristics of the environment. Also, the plastic outsole does it’s job when it comes to counteracting the vibrations that go through the shoe when ran in; the nature of the material makes it extraordinarily good at that.


The Cortez doesn’t leave anything to be desired in terms of support. As a running shoe, it is necessary for the wearer to be able to run in the for extended periods of time. This is another thing that Bowerman kept in mind wen considering the make of the shoe. The extra padding on the inside aids the shoe in being able to succumb to the curves of the base of the foot and of the heel, aiding in the athlete’s efforts. Also, the wider heel on the revamped classic Cortez model give the wearer more range of motion regarding where they can land their foot; meaning that they have less to worry about in terms of foot fatigue and soreness.


When looking for a running shoe it is imperative that the buyer look for a shoe that can handle several land types; from damp to rocky terrains, or both. The herringbone pattern of the outsole was made to do just this. The interlocking pattern of the herringbone provides more in terms of grip, which is a must for those who are looking for a hoe that they can wear for multiple events; say a cross country event, or a track meet.


When we think of leather shoes, we usually don’t have flexibility in mind. But, the thin cut of the classic Cortez’ upper allows the shoe’s material to bend to the will of your feet. For a running shoe, this is another must. The More recent models have featured different material that have only improved the Cortez’ ability to adjust to the movement of your feet while holding firm against outside forces.


If you’re looking for an affordable shoe, the Cortez has got you covered. When looking for running shoes, things can get kind of pricey, but the Cortez offers a quality, sturdy shoe that doesn’t require you to go to deep into your pockets. It doesn’t offer much in terms of high quality material but for such an inexpensive shoe, you definitely get a bang for your buck.


The Cortez was made to prevent overpronation in runners. The added cushioning and wedge shape of the midsole do just this, by helping the runner with their motion control and weight balance. The goal was for the Cortez to be able to support athletes during their activities. In a runner this is necessary because of the variety of motion that they can engage in. In newer models of the Cortez, Nike has improved the heel of the shoe by making it wider, which adds to the wearers range of motion and adds to the wearers overall stability when running walking, etc.


The Cortez has a low heel to toe ratio. The low drop also aids in overpronation by guiding the foots landing place on the ground; it directs the foot to land on the balls of the feet rather than on the edges of the foot or the heel. For the extended distances that athletes must travel on their feet, this is a key feature. This was the goal for Bowerman, to design a shoe that athletes could travel in, which is why he designed the shoe with a low drop.

Key Features

• Low heel to toe ratio
• Extra padding for comfort
• Eva midsole
• Herringbone patterned outsole
• Colors to highlight the different textures in the midsole and upper
• Variety of colorways for added style


Overall, Bill Bowerman designed a shoe that was made for athletes. It provides a lot in terms of support, which is noticed by the layered cushioning throughout the shoe. Its simple design allows the user to pair it with a variety of clothing, meaning that it won’t restrict the wearer’s style by any means. The variety of colorways also provides the wearer with several choices; from a solid black to a grey and pink, they have tons to choose from. When it comes to flexibility the shoe doesn’t leave much to be desired, especially with the Fly-knit upgrade. Nike has even fixed the breathability issue by designing the shoe with more porous materials such as the nylon and the fly knit. Overall, the Cortez is a quality shoe with a design that has withstood the tests of time rather nicely.