Cortazu is a brand that has been in the spotlight from the start. Three avid skiers and clothing enthusiasts started in 2016 with the idea of making excellent outdoor clothing at acceptable prices. By selling the products directly to consumers, without the intervention of stores, the plan was to create high quality affordably. That plan has now become a reality. Cortazu offers stunning, durable and fine coats of extremely high quality. Below is a review of the hard shell and I’m impressed … pretty impressed!
Various crowdfunding campaigns provided the necessary attention. Potential buyers were able to marvel at attractive teasers, starting capital came in, and the attention in the press was not tender. At the beginning of 2019, Cortazu, then called Cortèz, was even in Forbes magazine. Unfortunately, the organization also came into the picture at Nike, the name Cortèz belonged to them, and so the three were forced to change the name. The quality remained, just like the logo, the action of Nike also provided the necessary goodwill, and this setback motivated even more to become a lasting player.
The first experience with my jacket is very positive. For such a young organization, I am deeply impressed by the quality that I have in my hands. Secretly, as a critical reviewer, I thought I would get an “almost” or “just not” product — the right materials and appearance, but just not the right fit or sag in awkward places. Nothing is less real; This jacket can directly compete with the big brands, and in terms of price, it is immediately the big winner. The light weight surprises, as well as the beautiful premium colors (my jacket is light green) with a high-quality finish.
A minus point immediately strikes me when returning home, no loop to hang the jacket on (this has already been adjusted in the latest series), but otherwise this jacket is a relief after an O’Neill Gore-Tex hard shell from the higher price range with which I trade this Cortazu. The jacket is lighter, more beautiful, and it feels and looks a lot more robust.
Water & wind resistance
I actively wore the jacket during walks through the rainy and windy dunes and snowy France. The jacket remained 100% waterproof in the hard, pouring rain. An October shower surprised me in the dunes of Haarlem, and I stayed dry outside of soaked pants, soaked socks and shoes. Also, all the things in my pockets were still dry, including my cell phone that I keep in the breast pocket. Cortazu has a special pocket on the inside, but it is easier to get my sizeable Oneplus 6T from one of the two breast pockets on the outside. In France, I defied the snow and wind with this hard shell. Under the jacket, I wore just a simple polo shirt and a thin sweater, more than enough to tolerate the cold (0 degrees). However, it was a short walk, and of course, a mid layer is recommended for longer trips. The jacket is really warm enough for a winter sport with a mid layer, I expect, because the bleak wind, despite the thin clothing under the jacket, had no chance to cool my torso. As a result, I noticed that the jacket is breathing well.
The hood closes well and has a hard “cap” on the front. Moreover, it is large enough to fit over a bicycle, ski or snowboard helmet. Let the snow come! The temperatures when used did not fall below 0, yet I do not doubt that this jacket (with the right clothing underneath) can handle pretty extreme temperatures.
The jacket has not had to endure much outside of bushes and some tree branches, and I am curious how durable the jacket is with long-term use. After 6 months, the jacket does not show any cracks, faded spots or scratches, and no seam is loose. The jacket is currently also available in light grey, it looks almost white, and that seems to be very vulnerable for an outdoor jacket. Nevertheless, I also expected that my light green variant would quickly get some stains, so far, I have been spared that although I do see that they are getting a bit darker around the sleeves.
If there is a point where this jacket scores points, then it is wearing comfort. The jacket is light, stretches in all directions and has pockets where you want pockets. The jacket is perfect for outdoor sports and longer walks, even when the pockets are filled, there is sufficient freedom of movement. The jacket also has a snow catcher, never before have I worn a jacket where it can also be zipped, striking eye for detail!
I expected to be a bit troubled by the lack of a flap on the top of the zipper, but even in the rain and wind my throat was free of cold and the piece of fabric on top of the zipper on the inside is very pleasant for the chin and mouth when the jacket is completely zipped shut. There are only two points of attention, that is the lack of inner sleeves, always a plus for me when it is a bit colder, and I don’t have gloves on. In addition, the two large front pockets on the left and right sides feel a bit strange from the inside. It was decided not to choke all the way through to the zipper, creating a small sub-pocket on the underside (see photo), where small “junk” quickly gather.
This jacket is a hard shell jacket in size medium. The sizes are the same as competitors such as The North Face, Peak Performance and Fjällräven. When in doubt between medium and large, the medium is a right choice, but fitting is even more convenient (and you can do so at Cortazu’s office). An excellent jacket with a perfect fit as far as I’m concerned!
Are you going out in grey again? Then this is the jacket you want. Whether you go into the forest for a walk, the snow for an off-piste day or after a day of kiting on the beach, you can enjoy the wind. This jacket feels excellent and looks very beautiful. It is not a middle-of-the-road jacket, the logo and brand name raise questions for many people, only Cortazu knows a handful of enthusiastic outdoor enthusiasts. You feel confident that you are walking around in a high-quality product and people with knowledge of clothing immediately see that you have something special at home.
Anyway, you wear the jacket with a good feeling, because the men of Cortazu have another mission, they want to make the earth greener. That is why they provide 50 m² of greening on a piece of land under Kilimanjaro for every jacket sold.
The jacket that we are reviewing here has undergone some modifications after the original launch. No one-off promotion, this is the way Cortazu treats its customers. They design and develop jackets of the highest quality, ask customers for feedback and adjust their products accordingly. In their office at Vondelpark in Amsterdam, you can fit the jackets from the webshop while enjoying a cup of coffee.
To make a long story short … I am convinced. What a great product Cortazu delivers here. If this is the beginning, I still expect a lot from this brand. I do hope that they continue to fulfil the mission and keep the prices acceptable. The temptation is great to improve the quality or distribution on the scales further. Keep the price and quality as it is now and I expect a large group of loyal fans.
The Cortazu Hard shell (all season) costs € 350, – and can be purchased in the Cortazu webshop or walk in to fit your jacket at the office in Amsterdam.