What do you get when you mix the Nike Cortez — designed in 1972 by Nike co-founders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight as one of the brand’s first shoes — and CLOT, a streetwear label from Hong Kong that aims to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western cultures through design apparel and goods? You get a unique interpretation of the Cortez guided by kung fu and the Chinese yin-yang philosophy that can be worn in three different ways. From its outdoor base, to indoor shoes, to the slip-on, CLOT and Nike have you covered functionally and fashionably for whatever may come.
“The Cortez has a really rich history and is an amazing silhouette that’s clean and simple,” said Lauren Amos, founder of Antidote, an immersive fashion boutique in Atlanta. Its clean base and versatility silhouette-wise make the Cortez the perfect choice for fashion collaborators like CLOT co-founder Edison Chen, who decided on the Cortez after judging a Nike: On Air contest in Shanghai in 2018. One entry, the Air Max 270, dubbed the “Kung Fu Soul” by designer Harry Wong, caught his eye, particularly by introducing the outer shell concept on a Nike model. Fast forward to this year and the CLOTEZ has officially been introduced.
The CLOTEZ has a nylon upper shell atop a white midsole with reflective drawstring laces that fasten at the heel featuring yin-yang symbols. Once you remove the inner shoes from their outer shell, the second iteration, white leather shoes with black leather Swooshes, is revealed. Dual logo branding from CLOT and Nike adorn the tongues, while embroidered Chinese characters translating to “Kung Fu” cover the heel. Other details are the yin-yang symbols on the outsoles and insoles with the third and last iteration incorporating the foot inserts that come separately in the sneaker box, serving as a modern take on a kung fu shoe.
Surprisingly, the CLOTEZ is still lightweight and easy on the foot despite all its interchangeable parts, and the inventiveness doesn’t stop at the sneakers. CLOT designed a special yin-yang sneaker box with the Nike logo reflected atop and motion depicted by a martial artist spelling out “CLOT” on one side and “Nike” on the other. Once you open the box, you’ll see a separate compartment that houses the foot inserts comfortably next to the sneakers with CLOT wrapping paper.
What are your thoughts on the 3-in-1 design of this collaboration? How would you wear them?
The CLOT x Nike “CLOTEZ” was released on Feb. 10 at JUICE retailers for $180 and is available now at various reseller sites.
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