After The Question, Allen Iverson's most well-known shoe has to be The Answer IV. Worn during his 2000-01 MVP season, the classic Reebok's most enduring image was created in Los Angeles, when following a right-to-left cross and corner jumper at the Staples Center, Iverson stepped over a prone Tyronn Lue on his way to handing the Laker juggernaut their first—and, as it would turn out, only—loss of the postseason.
The best way to describe The Answer IV to someone who's never seen it is this: a sleek and streamlined update of The Question. The Answer IV utilized similar colorblocking and the same ghilly lacing, but featured a lower cut and a zip-up upper, as well as new tech—full-length DMX as opposed to Hexalite—in the midsole.
“The Answer IV, we really set out to create a lightweight shoe with a great speed graphic,” says Reebok Global VP Todd Krinsky. “So when you look at the Answer IV, it’s got a very strong front-to-back graphic that goes throughout the shoe. We created shoes that have a 3M reflective shot because we were always wondering what a shoe would look like when it was shot, flashes going on in the arena. It’s got a 3D Ultralite bottom so it makes the shoe two or three ounces lighter than a normal rubber shoe—back in the day before there was light everywhere, it was one of the lightest basketball shoes. And then from a fashion perspective we added the zipper, and so kids could wear it laced up when they were playing, and they could zipper it down with jeans when they weren’t playing.”
Iverson's personality, by then well-established in NBA circles, was all over the shoe as well. "Only The Strong Survive," the lettering of one of his earliest tattoos, appears on the outsole, as well as a stark black-and-white impression of his face, complete with his signature headband and braids.
“I was just happy to have my own shoe—that was my dream, that was one of my biggest dreams," Iverson says now. "Obviously to make it to the NBA, but to have my own signature shoe, I mean, nothin’ topped that. I couldn’t wait to put ‘em on…. And then to have an MVP shoe, to have a Finals shoe, just a dream come true.”
The retro version is actually truer to the shoe Iverson wore on the court than the original release, as it features a Velcro leather flap over the zipper pull (as dictated by the NBA) rather than a plastic cover like the OGs. You'll be able to find the black/white Answer IV at select retailers (a full list follows at the bottom) for $115 starting on August 10th, with red/white to follow in the fall—and then who knows?
“One of the reasons we’re bringing back the Iverson collection is because these shoes are timeless," Krinsky says. "They’re just great designs that look modern and fresh in any era.”
You could say the same thing about the guy who wore them.
For more from Todd and Allen Iverson himself on the Answer IV, check the videos below:
The Answer IV will be available at the following retailers: Foot Locker, Finish Line, Champs, Jimmy Jazz, Shoe City, City Gear, Shiekh, Shoe Palace, Kicks USA, Puffer Reds, Cool J’s, Mr. R Sports, Villa, City Sports, BX Sports