After completing the Air Penny Project, its time to fill you in on how the fifth installment of Penny Hardaway’s signature sneakers held up on-court.
Traction – There tend to be issues when hooping in translucent outsole but the Penny V had no issues at all. In fact, the traction was very sticky and gripped to the floor well… under any circumstance. No matter what the court condition was, the Penny V was able to take care of you with quick stops and harsh lateral & linear movements. This is the best traction on an Air Penny to date and its one of the best traction surfaces available at the moment.
Cushion – Unfortunately there isn’t a forefoot Zoom Air unit that I can find or feel. For myself, this wasnt a huge issue as the foam used was fantastic and feels a lot like Cushlon – used on the LeBron 9 Elite P.S. – so impact absorption is evenly dispersed. This also allows for great court feel but lacks a bit in terms of responsive or reactive cushion. At the heel there is the large 180 degree Air Max unit. This is much more firm than the LeBron 9 & LeBron 9 Elite’s Air unit but its offers plenty of stability since it wont be scrunching up upon impact. It still does it’s job but it isn’t felt as much as the LeBron models mentioned.
Material – Blending the old with the new, this is the smartest thing Nike has done with the Air Penny V. Us older generation guys (and girls) get nubuck, just as we remember it on the past Air Penny models, while the new age of hoopers get the synthetic Fuse. Both materials blend perfectly together and requite absolutely no break-in time due to the design and placement. This is one area that has been consistent in all of the Air Penny models… the materials placed on them have all been great.
Fit – They run true to size and slightly narrow at the forefoot. If you are a wide footer try them on or use your best judgment as to if you should go up ½ size.
Lockdown is phenomenal from heel to toe and that is a much welcomed change of pace when directly comparing them to their predecessors. There isn’t much to say other that they keep the foot perfectly contained and in one place allowing you to roam the floor freely without restriction.
Ventilation – This has been a low point with most of the Air Penny’s since they were all originally released in the 90’s, when ventilation was the last thing on our minds. Since the Penny V incorporates new innovation with a hint of the past, ventilation is VERY apparent along the toe and the medial/ lateral panels. By adding ventilation in these areas, air flow is great as it allows moisture and heat to escape… plus they were able to use that throwback tongue without messing with it at all so that’s a plus too.
Support – The support comes from the wonderful fit and Carbon Fiber plate under foot. The only issue I came across wasn’t due to a lack of support but due to the design. At the forefoot, the very first section of the toe is rounded and contours around the toe perfectly but is then rounded under the shoe & outsole. I rolled my ankle a couple of times after landing on this area of the toe – which is mostly my own fault – so just be careful if you land on your forefoot versus your heel. Luckily the astonishing fit saved my butt as the shoe stayed in place on my foot when it rolled so I was able to bounce back within a minute afterward.
Overall – These are probably the best in the Air Penny line in terms of overall performance. The lack of a forefoot Zoom unit could cause some to pass on these but their traction, fit and support are all highlighted within the shoe and design perfectly. Their additional features like proper ventilation and wonderful mixture of materials make up for any potential negative aspects.
If you wanted to know which Air Penny’s I enjoyed most on-court then you will have to wait to find out.