Kenny Moore, Runner Who Helped Bill Bowerman Develop Nike Cortez, Dies

Olympic and University of Oregon runner Kenny Moore, who ran for Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, died Wednesday in died Kailua, Hawaii at the age of 78, OregonLive reported.

As a student at the University of Oregon, Moore ran under the guidance of Bowerman, finishing his collegiate career with three All-American honors and two national titles for the team. He placed 14th in the 1968 Olympics and fourth in 1972.

“We are deeply saddened by today’s news of the passing of UO distance great Kenny Moore,” University of Oregon track and field said in a tweet. “Among his contributions to track and field, he was an Olympian, UO All-American, journalist and screenwriter. Our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends. You’ll be missed, Kenny.”

Moore was also instrumental in the development of the iconic Nike Cortez running sneaker. Bowerman built the shoe with Moore in mind and had him test out different versions for months. The sneaker was meant to have a more durable sole, with cushioning and arch support.

“Every shoe was custom made for me,” Moore said in a Nike blog post discussing the iterations of the shoe. “I had the privilege of becoming a better runner every time I put a new prototype on.”

Nike celebrated Moore’s connection to the silhouette with the “Kenny Moore Collection” in 2017.

Moore’s passing marks the another major loss in the Nike world this week. Earlier this week, design icon Peter Moore, the architect behind the legendary Air Jordan 1 basketball shoe and iconic Nike Dunk, passed away.

Moore spent decades in the footwear industry and is responsible for several iconic sneakers, most notably the Air Jordan 1. Aside from the Air Jordan 1, Moore also designed the instantly recognizable Jumpman and Wings logos that are synonymous with NBA icon Michael Jordan and his namesake Jordan Brand.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Peter Moore, an iconic designer, whose legacy will forever be connected to Jordan Brand, and the sneaker culture he helped to create. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Moore family during this time,” Howard White, SVP of Jordan Brand, said in a statement.

Access exclusive content