Towering Cortez

A vintage sneaker gets a vintage treatment: platforms


CDG X Nike Cortez AW2018

By Shu Xie

Comme des Garçons is a frequent collaborator with Nike. To fans of both brands, it’s a pairing made in heaven. Their output, as far as I can remember, is never boring or not whimsical. I can’t say it’s the same with Off-White’s, which banks on hype than edge to create desire. But that’s another story altogether.

CDG and Nike’s latest is a take on the latter’s Cortez, the Swoosh’s first track shoe issued in 1972, when many of us are not even a single-cell form. What the the Comme team has done, and rather spectacularly I think, is not give this classic kick a 2018 look, or splashy tech. Instead, they put the shoe in context, circa 1972. The Cortez was launched in America during that year’s summer Olympics in Munich and is believed to have truly launched Nike. But rather than connect to the sneaker’s sporting roots, CDG has opted to look at the major fashion footwear trend of that era. I don’t need to point to you what that was.

Launched today, the new kueh-lapis-like mid-sole of the Cortez and the shoe itself prove that, in footwear, retro styles can be relevant, look new, and easily lend themselves to reinterpretation. The CDG version comes with a leather upper and a foam platform that looks to be at least four-inches high (I have yet to put a measuring tape to it, but when I do, it will be reflected here). The mid-sole bears the cheeky imprint of CDG: the in-step and out-step of the striped platforms are mismatched.

Nike seems to be scaling the heights when it comes to their new kicks, which I suppose is a boon to women who wants sneakers to wear, but find them generally too low (hence the intro of other platform sneakers such as Puma X Buffalo London’s Suede Buffalo and Stella McCartney’s Eclypse?). And I remember the Spice Girls, do you? I guess I am going too far back.  I don’t know about you, but these giants look mighty collectible, even if your Yeezy-loving other half thinks otherwise.

Comme des Garçons X Nike Cortez, SGD760, is available at Comme des Garçons, The Shopping Gallery, Hilton. Illustration by Just So based on original photograph by rosrosroc

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