Footnotes.PH: Nike Air Penny 2

Earlier this year, I missed creating content. I missed recording a podcast and I was craving for a creative outlet. I decided that I wanted to tell stories, similar to HONY but I added my own twist. So, Footnotes.PH was born. My goal was to take sneaker pictures and tell the stories of the people wearing them. I’ll be posting some of them the stories here and adding more details that aren’t part of the Instagram post.

I only had one goal when we went to Hong Kong in 1997: buy Nike Air Penny 2s.

Penny Hardway was unlike any player I’ve watched before. He was a revolutionary, multi-talented player that I looked up to. I bought his jerseys in the Greenhill Tiangge. I was probably the only kid in the country trading away Michael Jordan trading cards to get Penny cards. I asked the impossible from my Tito from the States. I wanted him to bring me home his arm band that had “PENNY 1” stitched on them.

I worshipped Penny. Naturally, I had to own a pair his signature shoes.

For two days, we scoured every mall in Hong Kong for a shoe store that carried a pair. It seemed as if the entire country was out of Penny 2s. Towards the end of the second day, we entered a store that had a Black/Royal Blue on display.


It was my first time seeing them in person. I was awed by how beautiful the shoe was in real life. I immediately asked for my size. The sales person went to the back to check if they had it in my size. The wait was agonizing.

He brought out the biggest size available. I struggled to get my foot in. My toes were crumpled up in the shoe. But I didn’t care. I was prepared to make it work. My mom wasn’t having it though. She checked the space between the big toe and the front of the shoe with her thumb. There was none.

She asked if it came in a bigger size. The sales person said it was the last pair. She made me remove the Penny 2s and had my younger brother fit it instead.

Perfect fit.

My brother ended up getting the Penny 2s. I went home with lookalikes.

Fast forward, 20 years later. My wife and I went to Hong Kong for our honeymoon. Part of our itinerary was Fa Yuen St., the sneaker street in Mongkok. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. But it was just fun to browse and check out what Hong Kong had to tempt us.

The very first store we entered, these bad boys were staring at me.

I asked the person in the counter if they had a pair in my size. The wait to find out was just as agonizing as it was 20 years ago.

They had a pair in my size. Last pair. On sale.

I had to go around Mongkok and make sure that they were the cheapest pair available, because, you know. My wife even had to talk me into it. But as soon as I saw the pair, I knew within me that there was no way I was leaving Hong Kong again without a pair of Penny 2s.  I eventually pulled the trigger and here they are.

These are my grails.

Penny Hardaway image from, Penny 2 image from

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