The original “Royal” Nike Air Foamposite One made famous by former NBA star Penny Hardaway is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a retro rerelease. Ahead of the widespread launch, Nike provided early access to the sneakers via the SNKRS app on Monday, and social media images are showing that the kicks came up with unexpected surprises.
Along with the iconic “Royal” Air Foamposite One, Nike included a limited-edition card signed by Hardaway.
“You’ve unlocked early access to one of the first 200 pairs of the Air Foamposite One XX, helping kick off the sneaker’s 20th anniversary. Courtesy of Nike+ SNKRS, each pair includes this commemorative card, hand-numbered and signed by Penny Hardaway. A limited-edition marker is also included, as a nod to Penny’s ingenious improvisation to meet on-court footwear regulations two decades ago,” reads the message from Nike.
Nike’s message is referring to a memorable incident during the ’96-97 NBA season in which Hardaway blacked out the Foamposite’s indentions with a Sharpie in order to avoid a fine from the league. The striped shoes went on to become a sneaker legend, and they were later referenced in Nike’s limited-edition 2015 “Sharpie Pack” release, which also included the Zoom Penny 6.
In order to obtain early access to the kicks on Monday, sneakerheads were required to interact with the Nike+ SNKRS app and “color in” the stripes of the Foamposite with a digital Sharpie. Upon completing the task, users were greeted with a video message from Hardaway which granted access to purchase the shoes.