words & images // Nick DePaula
In a world of continually limited releases and quickstrike everything, the days of the true 1-of-1 player exclusive have definitely dwindled. For an athlete like Penny Hardaway though, an icon who has enjoyed one of the most successful sneaker lines in signature history, the extra effort is happily made.
After a seasonal meeting with the Nike Sportswear footwear team this past March, Penny Hardaway once again professed his love for the Air Force 1, still one of his favorite shoes to wear around casually. When asked what his favorite non-Penny shoe was, without even hesitating, Hardaway yelled out, "I love Air Force 1s!!" He was wearing an all black pair of the "Birds Nest" Air Force 1 Low Supreme that day, of course.
The Sportswear team and Penny continued to talk it up about his favorite runners, his thoughts and feedback on the upcoming Zoom Penny Rookie and discussed where he wanted to see the future of his line head, but Penny still kept coming back to the classic lines of the Air Force 1.
As a thanks for his nearly two decade relationship with the brand, Nike Sportswear created this personalized Air Force 1 Low just for Penny in size 14. A clean white upper of both smooth and tumbled leather, at the specific request of Hardaway, serves as the base, with several details and cues drafted off of his classic signature Air Penny 1 seen throughout.
There's a recognizable striped tongue, custom woven tongue label, inspired-by Swoosh and his unmistakable 1 Cent logo along the heel. His favorite phrase, "Ballin' Is What I Was Born To Do" can even be seen along the sockliner.
Check out the exact pair below that Penny gave us a first look at last week, and be on the lookout for a few more 1 Cent surprises!