Nike Air Penny II (1996)

The Nike Air Penny 2.
Air Penny II


Player: Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway

Colorway: black/white/royal

Original Release: 1996

Retro: 2008

Designer: Eric Avar

Release Type: General release

Weight: 14.6 ounces

The Nike Air Penny 2, medial view.

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Not all sequels are bad…

Designed by Eric Avar, who would later design the Foamposite, the Penny 2 had the unenviable task of following the highly popular Air Max Penny which was released a year earlier. The rumor was that Penny Hardaway loved his first signature shoe aesthetically, but saw room for improvement performance-wise.

The Nike Air Penny 2, front view.

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Avar took Penny’s feedback about the Air Max Penny into account when he designed the Penny 2. Reportedly Penny’s favorite from a performance standpoint, the 2 released in late 1996 with much fanfare. The shoe was heavily marketed, being the subject of TV commercials with Lil’ Penny and Tyra Banks and on print with the famous Nike phone number ads.

The Nike Air Penny 2, right shoe lateral view.

The departure of Shaq meant that the Magic were now Penny’s team, and the Penny 2 would join him in the spotlight. Penny would wear the 2 from the start of the 1996 preseason until the Spring of 1997, when he began wearing the Foamposite One.

The Nike Air Penny 2, rear view.


Providing a more snug fit than its predecessor, the Penny 2 featured a Durabuck, synthetic suede and full grain leather upper. Similar to the Air Max Penny, the Penny 2 sported a Phylon support wing, albeit with a carbon fiber reinforcement.

The Nike Air Penny 2, left shoe lateral view.

The Penny 2 also featured forefoot Zoom Air cushioning and 180 degree visible Air sole cushioning in the heel. At 14.6 ounces, the Penny 2 was slightly lighter than the Air Max Penny, which weighed 14.8 ounces.

The Nike Air Penny 2, right shoe medial view.

From a performance standpoint, the Penny 2 was a step up from its predecessor. The overall comfort was better, providing better lateral and medial support and well as a larger, more padded tongue for stability.

The Nike Air Penny 2, left shoe medial view.

The 2 released during the 1996 holiday season in three OG colorways: 1) black/white/royal (pictured); 2) white/atlantic-blue; and 3) white/black/royal. The black colorway retroed once, in 2008

The Nike Air Penny 2, right shoe bottom view.


The Penny 2 retailed at $139.99 (about $228 today). The 2008 retro retailed at $135 (about $160 today), meaning the Penny 2 has gotten cheaper over time. 

The Nike Air Penny 2, left shoe bottom view.