Whether you’re a huge fan of retro ‘70s footwear or simply appreciate a light running shoe that doubles as street footwear (feel free to eliminate the running part), the Nike Cortez is an amazing and popular style to consider. The Cortez was actually the very first track shoe created by Nike and its 1972 release coincided with the Summer Olympics, where it was seen by millions and quickly garnered a cult following. The sneaker is deceptively simple in its design: older styles were made with leather before Nike switched to lighter weight nylon and suede and the sneaker has foam in all the right places to absorb shock and provide a comfortable experience. As for the outside design, it’s classic and clean, consisting of little more than Nike’s trademark swoosh symbol on the side.
After breaking sales records as a top-notch running shoe, the Nike Cortez enjoyed a long, steady ride on the pop culture train — and it continues to be an uber popular sneaker. Hip hop artists were often seen in videos in the ‘80s and ‘90s wearing Nike Cortez and even Tom Hanks’ character in Forest Gump rocks a pair of red, white, and blue Cortez gifted to him by his childhood sweetheart.
There’s no doubt: the Nike Cortez is a great sneaker — but there’s a catch, of course. A pair can set you back more than $100 with few models selling for less than $60. And that’s why you need to know about these Nike Cortez dupes.
Puma Turin Sneakers
This unisex style, which is only available in men’s sizes, has more in common with soccer sneakers than jogging shoes, but the leather upper and Puma formstrip remind us of the Nike Cortez. It has a rubber outsole for grip and an EVA midsole for cushioning and comes in colors like white and gray, navy, and classic blue and white.
New Balance 574 Retro Sport
Talk about the ultimate street style sneaker: the New Balance 574 Retro Sport was created in 1988 as a mash-up of two popular New Balance styles and with one goal in mind: to be compatible with as many different outfits as possible. It’s the mesh and suede sneaker you can wear with skirts, dresses — everything. It comes in three colors — sea salt and red, sea salt and electric blue, and sea salt and powder — and was designed with midsole technology that provides the ultimate comfort and stability.
Onitsuka Tiger Serrano
The Onitsuka Tiger Serrano sneakers come from the same 1970s fitness roots as the Nike Cortez. This lightweight running shoe has a lightweight upper and spiked rubber outsole and dual-overlay suede on the toe cap. A padded tongue and collar provide extra comfort and support. The brand’s signature stripes will remind you of Nike, but its shade options are even more dynamic. There are crisp, clean color combinations like red, white and blue — as well as unique hues like mauve and white, India ink and pink, and black with blue and white polka dots.