Nike Air Penny IV (1998)

The Nike Air Penny 4.


Player: Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway

Colorway: white/black/royal

Original Release: 1998

Retro: 2006, 2017

Designer: Eric Avar

Release Type: general release

Weight: 16.6 ounces

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The Nike Air Penny 4, prototype.
Penny IV prototype


The end of an era…sort of…

Released in 1998, the Penny IV was the last signature shoe to release during Penny Hardaway’s playing career. By this time, Hardaway was plagued by knee injuries and didn’t possess the explosiveness he once had. 

The Nike Air Penny 4, medial view.

Sadly, that began to reflect in his popularity as Nike would sunset his signature line. The ‘98-‘99 season would also be Hardaway’s final with the Orlando Magic. 

Penny Hardaway wearing the Nike Air Penny 4.

No Mo’ Foam-O’

Perhaps a sign of the waning enthusiasm for the Foamposite, the Penny IV was the first Penny shoe since the Penny II not to feature Foamposite technology. 

The Nike Air Penny 4, left shoe, lateral view.

Instead, the IV took cues from recent Jordan models such as the leather stitching from the Jordan XII and the fabric wrapped Phylon midsole from the XIII. Not surprising since Avar’s mentor was Jordan designer, Tinker Hatfield

The Nike Air Penny 4 (top) and the Air Jordan 12 (bottom).
Penny IV vs Jordan XII
The Nike Air Penny 4 (top) and the Air Jordan 13 (bottom).
Penny IV vs Jordan XIII

The Penny IV also featured a large 1 Cent logo, conspicuously placed in the middle of the tongue and “Penny” written at the top, in response to Penny’s desire to have his 1 Cent brand be more visible. 

The Nike Air Penny 4, right shoe, front view.


  • Combination full grain leather/synthetic suede upper
  • Integrated Velcro ankle strap
  • Adjustable quick lace system under a leather covering
  • Fabric wrapped Phylon midsole
  • Visible large volume heel Air Max unit
  • Solid rubber outsole with herringbone traction pods
The Nike Air Penny 4 sketch.
Penny IV sketch. Photo: Sneakerfiles


  • 1998 OG: $129.99 (about $215 in 2021)
  • 2006 Retro: $140 (about $187 in 2021)
  • 2017 Retro: $160 (about $176 in 2021)
  • Adjusted for inflation, the Penny IV has gotten cheaper over time. 
The Nike Air Penny 4, bottom view.


Penny pinching…

While it may sound like someone’s meticulously maintained savings plan, it isn’t. Instead it indicates the fate of the Penny line

The Nike Air Penny 4, rear view.

Rather than immediately discontinue the line, Nike continued to issue new releases of the Penny IV into the early 2000s in a variety of colorways. 

The Nike Air Penny 4.

The new releases didn’t save the Penny line however as Nike eventually cancelled the line, even going as far as to re-purpose the shoe originally intended to be the Penny V into the Garnett III. In the end it dealt with money. Maybe it was someone’s meticulous savings plan after all…

The Nike Air Garnett 3.
The Garnett III was originally intended to be the Penny V.

It wouldn’t be until 2012 that the next Penny signature shoe, the Penny V, would release. By then, Penny had already retired from the NBA. The final member of the Penny line (so far), the Penny VI, would release in 2015.