“What was great about Penny was that he was always expressive and always willing to push the limits in terms of aesthetics and expression.”-Eric Avar
words // Zack Schlemmer
After a solid lineup of PE's and non-official signature shoes from Nike, Penny Hardaway got his first official signature in 1995 with the Air Penny. Eric Avar designed a shoe made for the versatile and explosive Hardaway with wing-like lateral support and maximum cushioning with Air Max2 in the heel, and the new Tensile Air (renamed Zoom Air) in the forefoot. The Air Penny was something Nike basketball had never designed before: a shoe that, like Penny, fit somewhere between the Force and Flight lines.
The most iconic colorway would be the one you see above: a black base with a contrasting white wing, royal blue accents and an Orlando Magic inspired pin-striped tongue. The Air Penny also introduced Penny's "1 Cent" logo that would be on every following Penny signature model.
Take a look below at the original Air Penny and its design sketches, including an early version with a strap and lace eyelets similiar to what would end up on the Nike Air Wayup.