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Which Came First: The Nike Cortez or Onitsuka Tiger Corsair?


The recent legal kerfuffle between Nike and BAPE over the alleged infringement of the Air Force 1 design has triggered intense debate online. Many commentators have pointed to the Swoosh’s own history of rebranded IP that went on to net them one of their earliest successes. This is the story of the contested Cortez and Corsair.

Few sneakers have a more fascinating lineage than the classic . If you think there’s something familiar about this elegant retro racer, you’d be right. This was the jogging shoe of the early 70s. Layered like a sponge cake, nothing rivalled the comfort of the cushy sole unit. In fact, it was so good that another sneaker brand couldn’t help but make their own carbon copy, but more about that later.

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