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Nike Air Penny V (5) Performance Review


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.

The The Nike air Penny 5 is featured in our Penny Hardaway sneaker history video






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.






  1. sick review, didn’t think it would perform good, guess I’ll try mine out to play with, love the materials but the nubuck is a dirt magnet, I got the green colorway. Also, not sure you’re the one to ask, but is the out sole going to turn yellow just like the Jordans?

    1. Yeah I’m curious to know as well wheter the translucent outsole will yellow. I heard that the translucent outsoles that have the slight blue colour to them wont yellow, but I’m not sure as I’ve never owned a pair.

      Nightwing, what your take on the yellowing of outsoles especially those that are infused with blue?

      1. yup, they gave me the display shoe, *smh* and there’s quiet yellowing inside the grooves right next to the traction pad. I just thought they were dirt or mud but now someone confirmed it. Thanks man. I still don’t see any point of selling shoes with clear soles, but I guess we all buy it haha

    1. Just going to explain this one last time…

      These score 1/2 point more than the KDV, yes. But you need to look at MORE than just the overall score because it isnt an accurate way to judge. The KDs score perfect in almost every category, ventilation brings the OVERALL score down bc its based on an AVERAGE or curve. Just like grades in school. You get three A’s and one F and your GPA is screwed bc of it. Its very simple, open your mind to more than just an overall score.

  2. I checked the list and didn’t see it so ill ask about it. Since this shoe was technically designed and made in 2012, don’t you think that it should be on the top 10 list? it certainly ranks high enough. just my thoughts. let me know your thought process and if youll change it or not.

    1. I wanted to put them on the list, theyd place under the HD2012, but they came in a SportsWear box and not a performance box so i didnt want to advertise them as a performance shoe when the brand itself hasnt labeled it as such. I played in them on-court for my own curiosity and for the purpose of the Air Penny Project – since Penny is a ball player.

  3. I dont know if sole collector is a reliable source or not, but they say that it has forefoot zoom :

    ” The Phylon midsole houses a rear Air unit and forefoot Zoom, while an icy translucent sole wraps things up below.”

    1. There isnt any Zoom Air. Nike said the same thing and so did I before the shoes released. There were no tech specs on them released and eastbay was the only source that described the shoe perfectly besides me. Nike even states that there is foamposite on the shoe…

  4. nice review. the cushioning setup made up my mind right away. a Penny w/o forefoot Zoom is weak. then the heel airbag is hard. lack of effort imo

  5. Nice review as always NW. Just wanted to point out that I think that the reason the Orlando colorway hasn’t sold out yet is because Nike keeps on producing them, where as the treadwell eagles and dolphins colorways were a one and done kind of deal. Don’t have any sources on that but it makes the most logical sense to me

  6. Nightwing. On both kd v and penny v u said that these shoes r ur go-to shoes
    The court of my school is disgusting(well, cuz it’s high school, and gym class uses the court too). On that kind of a situation, which shoes would u pick to play on a dusty court?

  7. For outdoor’s (Already have shoes for indoor) should I get these or the Ektio’s? Or is there another shoe you’d recommend for less than $200.

    Cheers, love the reviews!

  8. I know i’m way late, but if i’m comfortable playing in the KD Vs you think these would be a good choice? I love a few of these colorways and would love to be able to hoop in some of the Invisibility Cloaks

  9. Great shoe to ball in, you wont be disappointed…

    one negative my clear soles turned pinkesh-red and I only used to play indoors.

    great support and traction..

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