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Revisiting The Nike Air Penny 4, Hardaway’s Last Signature Shoe As An NBA Player

Revisiting The Nike Air Penny 4, Hardaway’s Last Signature Shoe As An NBA Player

Air Penny 4 History Nike Snkrs 1

With the Nike Air Penny 4 back on the shelves for another retro run, Nike SNKRS takes a look back at the history of Penny Hardaway’s often underrated signature model. Arriving in 1998 at a turning point in his career, the Penny 4 would be the last model worn by Penny during his time with the Orlando Magic throughout the injury-plagued later portion of his career. For this reason perhaps, the shoe never quite got the shine it deserved, fading into obscurity for many of those who weren’t diehard Penny or Nike Basketball fans.

Designed by the legend Eric Avar, the Penny 4 actually took some influence from Air Jordans of the time—a premium leather upper with parallel stitching similar to the Air Jordan 12, and suede ankle detailing and podular sole like the Air Jordan 13—adding a supportive ankle strap system and Air Max cushioning to the heel. Influence aside, the Penny 4 stands alone as a distinct and important piece of Nike Basketball’s late-90s history, and especially the history of Penny’s beloved line, as it was the last signature shoe he’d wear on court (the line was rebirthed years later with the Penny 5).

Almost 20 years later, the Penny 4 is back again, available now at Nike.com in its original home “Orlando” colorway, as well as a new OG-inspired black and royal look. Revisit the history of the shoe here with a look at an original sketch by Eric Avar and some rarely seen colorways.

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This OG “Orlando” colorway is available now at Nike.com.

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