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Nike Air Penny IV (4) Retro Performance Review


My thoughts wont cost you a Penny…

Lame joke… whatever…


Traction – Front to back they work well, not great but not horrible… just mediocre really. The part that was disappointing was the medial forefoot’s design. With large grooves that offer zero flex, there wasn’t enough friction to hold to the courts surface. As a Guard, this isn’t great since we need to be able to push off of the toe more often than not.


Cushion – Heel Air Max and forefoot Zoom Air feel great. This setup has been pretty consistent with each of the Air Penny signature models. The forefoot unit is shaped differently than other units as it mimics the outsole in a way – flex grooves – and had targeted sections for specific strike zones. Once broken in, the comfort and cushion is definitely one of the shoes highlights.


Material – The materials are great. They’re leather and nubuck so they won’t last as long as a synthetic but quality is there. Break-in time with the leather was nonexistent since it’s so soft and this is something the 90’s were all about… style and function.


Fit – They fit true to size and once laced up all the way the midfoot lockdown is very good. Heel lockdown has been absent throughout the Air Penny signatures but was a focal point in this model. With the strap in place, your heel isn’t going anywhere… adding additional lockdown and support.


Ventilation – Just like the previous models, these don’t offer much in the ventilation department. Get used to it if you want to hoop in 90’s era sneakers because ventilation was something we never really thought about.


Support – With the fit being improved and heel lockdown being added, the support is great. There is even arch support in the form of a cheap TPU shank plate made to mimic the original Air Penny IV’s Carbon Fiber… interesting Nike… real interesting. Other than Nike being cheap… the support was there.


Overall – One of my personal favorite Air Penny models and they had fairly solid performance. Looking at the features as a whole, I personally wouldn’t play in them again based solely on the traction. I need a shoe that can keep up with me… I can’t afford to slip and slide around the court.

Bigger players may not mind the lack of traction and will appreciate their supportive fit. Outdoor hoopers may enjoy them as well, if your outdoor courts have a rough surface… the huge grooves should hold up well outdoor.


  1. Thanks for doing the review!
    I was intrigued about the traction performance and how well the strap held the foot in place.
    Keep up the detailed reviews, you’re doing great work.

  2. These were my fav shoes back in the day. However, either I have a defective pair or something, but the forefoot Zoom was tiny and didn’t compare to the original in my opinion. I only played in them like once or twice and kept them for casual, but I’m curious as to whether I didn’t wear them casually enough to break them in…

    I have the Black/White retro colorway…

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