My Nike Cortez never left. I have had a pair in my closet since about 1979 I think. My first pair was like this. I'm gonna start wearing them again. I think I have 3 pair now. There is only one word to describe Nike Cortez: Iconic. But what makes a shoe last for 40 years to reach its current iconic state? For starters it was the first shoe of many to carry the Nike name. The Nike Cortez was designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, a legendary collegiate level track coach.