How the Forrest Gump Sneaker Is Making a Comeback

On July 6, 1994, a comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks would enter the film stratosphere and change the way the world thinks about shrimp forever more. That classic movie, “Forrest Gump,” turns 23 years old today. But while supporting character Bubba’s impassioned shrimp catalogue was one of the movie’s most memorable references, the pair of shoes that Forrest Gump decided to take a “little run” in across the country was quite the star on its own. Over two decades later, Nike’s retro Cortez sneaker is making a chic comeback in the new millennium.

Forrest Gump opens a new pair of the Nike Cortez sneakers which would take him cross country in the classic film.
Forrest Gump opens a new pair of the Nike Cortez sneakers that would take him cross country in the classic film.
CREDIT: Paramount/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Nike Cortez Campaign

The Cortez itself is older than the movie, with this past May marking 45 years since the traditional running sneaker’s debut in 1972. To celebrate, Nike called upon “it” model Bella Hadid to sport the shoe in a 1970s-style campaign inspired by Farrah Fawcett’s iconic skateboarding image on the the set of “Charlie’s Angels.” By utilizing one of the industry’s latest go-to girls, Nike maintained the shoe’s retro vibe while making it look cool.

Bella Hadid for Nike
Bella Hadid emulates TV icon Farrah Fawcett in the Nike Cortez OG.
CREDIT: Brianna Capozzi/Nike

Nike continued its momentum from the 45th anniversary of the shoe by rereleasing the white, red and blue colorway made famous by Forrest Gump one week later. Starting at $70 for the Women’s Classic Cortez and $80 for the Women’s Classic Cortez Nylon Premium, the shoe is available in the classic colorway along with various other choices.

The Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Premium in classic green/sail/yellow ochre
The Cortez in a classic green/sail/yellow ochre colorway.
CREDIT: Courtesy of nike.com

Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Premium, $80; nike.com

Nike Cortez Special Releases

On June 17, the brand even teamed up with Nordstrom to hold a birthday bash for the Cortez sneaker in L.A. where the running shoe first became popular in street-style culture. Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s vice president of creative projects, debuted the Nike Cortez Premium iD sneakers, which feature an exclusive pink accent on the midsole.

nordstrom, nike, sneakers, olivia kim, cortez, nikeid, women's
The Nike Cortez Premium iD sneaker by Olivia Kim celebrated its 45th anniversary with original colors and an exclusive pink midsole.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nike also took it a step further to make the Cortez that much more relevant in this day and age. On June 1, the brand released its annual “Be True” collection in celebration of LGBT Pride Month which included the Air VaporMax, Air Zoom Pegasus 34, Flyknit Racer and the Cortez decked out with special rainbow-colored elements.

Nike Cortez Be True
The Nike Cortez from the “Be True” collection.

Bella Hadid x the Cortez

Outside of Nike’s endeavors to reinvent the Cortez, Hadid has also seemingly made it her duty to single-handedly bring back the style. She has been snapped wearing the sneakers repeatedly while out and about, which is unsurprising given she is the front woman for the shoe.

Bella Hadid wears Cortez sneakers out and about
Bella Hadid loves her Cortez sneakers when she is on the go.
CREDIT: (L-R): Splash News, REX/Shutterstock, Splash News

With the Cortez back in full swing this summer and Bella Hadid’s backing, it seems only a matter of time before the style becomes the “it” shoe. Hanks helped propel the sneaker to success in his award-winning role in “Forrest Gump,” and with the actor’s upcoming birthday on July 9, maybe he will also take part in the Cortez comeback for his own celebrations.

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