A Look Back at Corteiz x Nike

April 20, 2023 by Joey Birch

A Look Back at Corteiz x Nike

Brand collaborations are always a welcome sight in the ongoing whirlwind of sneaker releases with every day offering a new colourway or a new pair with Nike continuing to pepper the market with a floury of colourways of popular models such as the Nike Dunk or more recently the Air Max 1.

However, it’s become ever rarer to see a collaborative project, let alone a sneaker release of any kind, create the level of pandemonium that the recent Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 caused across the globe.

For those more tapped into the streetwear scene, you’ll already know plenty about Corteiz. Founded in 2017 by the illusive ‘Clint 419’ the brand's iconic Alcatraz logo has firmly cemented itself within modern culture with a significant position within streetwear and music with the brand's identity becoming a worldwide household name. During a time when the likes of Virgil Abloh and Kanye West were creating grungy, anti-establishment garments; juxtaposing the status quo sparking a new generation of designers and creators to make their mark in the history books of popular culture, CRTZ RTW was born.

Corteiz’s erratic, unpredictable release schedule is a key component of what has made the brand so desirable in conjunction with popular word of mouth. Harnessing the power of social media, the London-based brand has been able to rise through the ranks swiftly with the Alcatraz logo becoming instantly recognisable all over the world.

From lawsuit to lavish collaboration, before Nike and Corteiz’s highly successful collaboration, the two had had a run-in with each other previously in 2021 when the Swoosh delt Corteiz a lawsuit claiming that the brand's name was closely related to one of Nike’s oldest and most iconic sneakers of all time - the Cortez.

However, not only did the case get dropped but in an interesting, and rarely heard of, state of affairs, the duo came together to collaborate on a sneaker that is London to its core - the Air Max 95, lovingly coined ‘110s’ in the UK.

In a world that feels plagued with sneaker leaks and early looks, Clint and Nike managed to keep the release of the CRTZ Air Max 95 well hidden from the public eye right up until the simple yet effective announcement which saw the iconic streetwear logo featuring Alcatraz prison emblazoned on the side of Nike’s flagship Oxford Circus store.

After the release of the initial green colourway, the interest and hype around the Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 only seemed to grow larger following rumours and then teaser images of an additional two colourways each of which to be exclusively released in its own city.

Starting with the ‘Pink Beam’ colourway which focused primarily on the bold pink detailing within the charcoal upper, Clint took over a downtown Deli in New York City which saw thousands of eager fans flock to the streets outside for their chance to get a pair. Speaking to the brand's origins, the release left those across the pond wondering whether they’ll have the chance to get their hands on a pair of 95s.

Finally, Paris, seemingly the second home of Corteiz’s illusive founder known as Clint419. With the anticipation level turned up to the max, the release of the final ‘Aegon Storm’ colourway of the Corteiz AM95s was met with mass appeal. While the UK and US release of the ‘Gutta Green’ and ‘Pink Beam’ colourways garnered attention, the Paris rollout was arguably the biggest of the three with images of a Tiffany Blue Corteiz branded bus driving around the city featuring the coordinates for the drop on the side.

With a pack of fans chasing the bus around the French capital, the rollout brought back memories of past releases similar to the Jeff Staple Nike SB Dunk ‘Pigeon’ or the ‘Paris’ SB Dunk each is recognised as key moments in sneaker history.

Despite the hectic, high-octane, rollout of the Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 having only just begun to subside, it feels like the right time to reflect and take into account the impact that the release had on current, and future, sneaker culture. Could we be seeing a resurgence of the old-school camping out and fighting tooth and nail for the latest pair of kicks to drop or was this simply a flash in the pan?

With Corteiz seemingly going from strength to strength with each month that passes, only growing its audience base further, it feels as if the once underground streetwear brand could be in its early phases of growing into something far greater, already receiving the cosign from the likes of Drake as well as the late Virgil Abloh.

The coming months and years are crucial for Corteiz with millions of eyes on every move the brand makes. Even so, Clint continues to drum up further hype and anticipation with his usual social media antics providing a refreshing, and transparent, feeling to what has already become a brand to be remembered.

To shop the Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 collection, click here.

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