The Nike Air Penny 4 Retro Gets Deconstructed

One of my most anticipated Retro models from Nike Sportswear this year was the Nike Air Penny 4. Emphasis on was…

I don’t know why Nike keeps doing this — it can’t save the brand that much money during production — but it has removed the forefoot Zoom Air that was once featured in the Penny 4. This particular colorway was never one that I was really interested in, especially after seeing them in person, due to the cheap looking synthetic leather used along the strap system. However, I was really looking forward to picking up the OG White/Black-Royal pair once they hit retailers. Looks like I’ll be passing on them now — I’ll likely pick them up because I’m a sucker for nostalgia, but I want to pass on them.

The Air unit in the heel is still in place, but the constant removal of tech is really becoming annoying. Both in Nike’s performance line and sportswear line, consumers can’t seem to catch a break and get real value for their dollar. Unless the Swoosh branding is what you value, then in that case you’re getting everything you paid for. It’s truly disheartening to constantly see your favorite models get butchered (pun intended) with the removal of tech.

Check out the latest deconstruction of the Nike Air Penny 4 Retro below and share your thoughts with us in the comment section. Will this change deter you from grabbing a pair?

Images Via FastPass



  1. Ugh, being born in the late 80s, Penny is was my guy. But if Nike keeps rippin us off (Kobe A.D) on this zoom unit shit, I’m done.

  2. Ugh, being born in the late 80s, Penny was my guy. But if Nike keeps rippin us off (Kobe A.D) on this zoom unit shit, I’m done.

  3. I’ve been done with Nike and Jordan for years now because of the lack of value. Other brands are giving us way more for much less (especially when models go on sale). Being in my mid 30s, I love the Jordan and Nike nastalgia as well, but I just can’t bring myself to pay top dollar for shoes that feel like bricks anymore.

  4. I have the 2001 cool greys and the black/white 2007(ish?) retros and I swear the 2007 ones didn’t have zoom either

  5. I’ve always preferred the look of Nike compared to most other brands, but after reading an article recently in which the leader of Nike said it was more about marketing than innovation, I began to look elsewhere for footwear. I think the cutting of tech on many newer models seems to support that.

    To go off on a tangent…
    Unfortunately, (IMO) not much else is that much better. I bought into the boost hype and I’m a little underwhelmed… I think cushioning “tech” is so subjective that only the wearer can truly say what works, especially when body size comes into play. I’m a big guy, and while boost is plush, for a big guy it isn’t stable, nor “quick” – at least not in the 2016 adi “big three” models for balling. For smaller dudes, I’m sure boost feels great to play in. For me it’s plush, but at some point in weight, you overcome the plushness to just straight up compressing and not getting much more when active (landing off jumps, pushing off, etc.). My CLB’s feel great for casual wear (aside from issues with other aspects of the design). Big dudes need firmer cushion to compensate for the extra weight, so some comments about firm cushion may not apply to the larger guys. I’d love to see shoe review sites have at least one reviewer who represents the larger side of the ball playing spectrum (not sure if any of the dudes on WT are beyong “guard size”, I’m a noob). I think it would be an interesting contrast to most sites where the reviewers are stereotypical “guard size”. But I also realize most dudes who play often probably don’t fall into the sizes I’m referring to.

    1. Do you watch Foamer Simpson? He’s a pretty big guy, and he gives the pros and cons for big men balling in certain kicks.

      1. Isn’t Duke, WT’s big man. Not sure who is bigger between NYJumpman and Duke but i know NYJ plays in the post.

        But speaking of bigman shoes.. how is the Peak Howard 2 performance review going along?

    2. I don’t know how big you want, I’m 5’9″ and around 205. Stanley is a taller guy too. Check ours out if you want

    3. I’m 6’3″ and 205lbs. Loved the Penny line. Back in high school, I was 280lbs. I feel that in general, the cushioning of Nike had much more to it, more feel and response. I played in Uptempos and Pennys, depending on position. I feel that traction, support was much better in Nike’s 90’s shoes than today.

      Won’t the real retro’s please stand up?

      I agree that for big guys, boost compresses too much, and feels unstable. I much prefer the various iterations of jetlon, and Micro G.

      1. Yeah, I’m 6’6″ and current Shaq weight (post retirement shaq, lol) and my current faves for playing are still jordan 29’s, but they don’t offer much support. I like the kd trey v iii’s as well. The air max premiere from a couple years ago and the air max audacity are good for me as well.

    4. I agree with you, because there is a camp that loves to “feel” the cushioning as they are playing, then others who understand that if a cushioning system is truly working, that your should not feel a damned thing when you are balling. Not feeling anything means that the set up is stable, but there is a group of people out there who dig the feeling that the bouncy, mushy set ups are actually giving them something back, as if it is making them run faster or perhaps jump higher. That said being a big guy myself, I cannot wear Boost to play in unless I place an insert inside of them, just to calm down the softness and instability, and I hate Zoom Air for that exact same reason, especially when it was not implemented properly in Nike Basketball shoes. The original Jordan XII’s had it right, as did the forefoot of the Shox BB4 and Shox Limitless. Ever since Nike was forced to change the formula for Air products, you began to get this mushy, unstable, air set up, that wasn’t contained well in the air bags. These shoes were and are treacherous to play in if you are a big dude. Now I am reading, “shoes for the modern big man who plays the all around game, ” which is nothing but bullshit. Steph Curry’s shoes are the best big shoes out there right now, because he hates the mushy set up’s himself.

      Sorry for the rant, but that is what I do, Nike sucks.

  6. Nike needs to stop depending on their branding for everything, like most people are going to different brands now.

  7. Did they at least take the “Zoom Air” branding off the forefoot outsole? I could tell Nike was up to the BS just by looking at the air bubble. I remember Max Air bulging out from the midsole. Now it’s recessed into it and looks like one of those fake Walmart looking air bubbles.

    I guess Nike isn’t expecting people to actually use retros for whatever sport they were originally made for, so they take the useful tech out, yet still charge top dollar (and sometimes more than the OG).

  8. I could almost understand if Nike did this to a show with no tech, but damn. They are basically making every retro kick a gussied up version of an AF1.

  9. Well, it’s not exclusive of Nike changing the tech on their retro shoes, adidas did that too with the Kobe/Crazy line, using cheaper materials, EVA foam instead of adiprene+ and making changes to the outsoles and traction patterns. It’s kind of sad since we all buy those shoes not only for nostalgia but also for the great experience we had back in the day wearing them even outdoors. I was looking forward to get those Penny IV since the Atlantic Blue II’s I got last year were pretty good, but now I will wait to know how Nike changed them. Thanks for the advice again!

    1. That is true. Doesn’t Reebok Question and other Iverson retros go away with og DMX I-Chambers (whatever they called) and go with foam instead? Not 100% about the Questions but their retail is not cheap either.

    2. To be fair with adidas they lost the patent to feet you wear so they had to make some changes in the Kobe/top ten/early crazy line

      1. Lost that patent but not the adiprene+ patent, also the traction pattern on the Kobe/Crazy One was different, both are herringbone but the OG was thicker in the heel and the rubber a lot more durable. The Kb8/Crazy 8 and Elevation Eqt/Crazy 97 retros are great and really closer to the OG’s even without the Feet You Wear, why not making all retros like that?

  10. The problem is that they didn’t make a fair compromise/trade-off. If I had to throw them a bone, I could understand putting out a show for the sake of casual nostalgia — it’s obsolete as a performer so just give people the look. The catch there is, yeah, it’s totally cheap like a fake MAG. But the bigger issue is they didn’t price it as such. Nike’s pricing it like an official shoe just so they don’t look like suckers. They know for a fact it’s clearance-bound where they truly projected their profit margins (unless they’re just too stupid). It’s a stupid practice one way or another.

  11. I got the last Penny 2 release. The ASG CW. I got 2 of them at about $80 a pair. Im pretty sure I can feel the Zoom Air in the forefoot but after seeing this deconstruction… Can anyone like Nightwing2303 confirm that the last Penny 2 retro has the full tech? Either way i love the Penny 2.

  12. I play in Zoom Soldier 9s (I’m 225 and CAN feel the Zoom) and not retros because they aren’t meant to be used for performance anymore. Nike never intended for people to play in retros. I love the shoe. Couldn’t afford it when I was a kid and the lack of Zoom doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not playing in them anyway.

  13. Shocker… Nike letting us down again… didn’t see that coming. Damn.. I wanted that white pair too! I’ll have to wait until the go on clearance.

      1. Oops sorry thought you was talking about the Penny 2. But for the Penny 4 I am sure they will hit clearance.

  14. I was so mad when I saw this on IG!! The Penny line is my favorite so I was looking forward to getting the of colorway of these. I use my sneakers to ball in so this is disappointing !! I kept tagging Nike lol

  15. The removal of tech is annoying for sure, and is getting worse. I had an interesting conversation with Nike and footlocker about a year or so ago.

    I was trying to figure out the cushioning set up for the Jordan 2 retro, as every website said something. After talking to three Nike reps, none of them had a clue.

    I finally went to my local house of hoops, and they told me Nike really dicked out on the release. Black and red had heel air, black and blue and and white and black had heel and forefoot air. There are so many retro’s, but every time Nike removes something. Loved the zoom flight 96, but the fake carbon fiber. I’ve pretty much sworn off Nike, and am very happy with brandblack.

  16. LOUD NOISES!!!! COME ON NIKE! You are literally making knockoffs of your own products. Shameful. $160 for these?!? I hope they don’t sell one pair and they all end up in a landfill (that’s where these deserve to exist). Shame. These were an old favorite on-court option of mine back in the day.

    This REALLY makes me want to never buy a Nike shoe again. And so soon after the whole Kobe AD fiasco. Wow.

  17. Wow. Not good. This may not hurt the average consumer but for us who love and appreciate every aspect of an original sneaker, it stings. Obviously for casual wear it’s nice to have sneakers we loved growing up, but after I break them in I like to actually play ball in them. Not cool Nike.

  18. I was looking forward to cop a pair for competitive basketball but this article saved my money. Being 30 is really sad that we cannot enjoy the same kicks we grew up with. For that reason i buy Nikes for ballin only when they hit outlets and never pay fullprice because simply they dont worth the retail price. I buy retro Jordans for everyday use (they are cheap ass quality too) and for performance also i am turning to UA (started with Prototype and Blk Ice) even i am not Curry’s fan. At least they offer bank for your buck shoes. Right now i bought Curry 3 “Magi” that were on sales in Europe and couldnt be more happy. Dont be a sucker buy shoes from brands that offer you more. At the end Nike will get the message.

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