The Nike Air Flight 89 Reaches for the Stars
The Nike Air Flight 89 basketball sneaker was released in 1989, the same year the Air Jordan IV came out. The two share several design elements like the midsole and tooling. While the sneaker wasn't a signature shoe attached to any one NBA player, it was worn by several of the league's top players of the era, including Chris Mullin, Reggie Miller, and Scottie Pippen. The Air Flight 89 has been re-released several times in a variety of colorways and material updates.
Nike Air Flight 89 Soars in Status in the NBA
Even though the Nike Air Flight 89 wasn't a signature shoe for a particular NBA player, it was popular among the league's Nike's endorsers. The sneaker was worn by stars like the Indiana Pacers' Reggie Miller, the Golden State Warriors' Chris Mullin, the Phoenix Suns' Kevin Johnson, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Ron Harper and Shawn Kemp of the Seattle Supersonics.
The sneaker drew a lot of comparison to Michael Jordan's signature sneaker, the Air Jordan IV. While Jordan himself never wore the shoe, it was worn by his Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen.
The Air Flight 89's Design Takes Some Cues from MJ
The Nike Air Flight 89 was tweaked by legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, who also designed several popular Nike basketball sneakers of the era and Michael Jordan's Air Jordan line. It initially didn't have 89 in the sneaker's title until it got re-released to the market. The Nike Air Flight 89 features the same tooling as MJ's fourth signature sneaker, the Air Jordan IV, with a visible Nike Air unit in the heel and polyurethane midsole.
It features a mid-cut height, variable width lacing options on the eyelets and a leather upper. Nike branding adorns the sneaker's heel and tongue, as well as a Swoosh on the side panels. Plus, an extended leather overlay wraps around the foot for added stability.
Nike Air Flight 89 Colorways and Collectibility
There have been several re-releases of the Nike Air Flight 89 since its debut in 1989. The original Black/White colorway (CU4833-015) was retroed in 2019 for an MSRP of $120 and has a resale value close to the retail price.
Scottie Pippen's Chicago Bulls-inspired colorways have also been re-released. A White/University Red/Wolf Grey colorway (819665-100) dropped in 2016. Its resale value is close to the original MSRP of $120.
Versions of the Nike Air Flight 89 have been released that pay homage to the different NBA players who have worn the sneaker. A Seattle Supersonics-themed colorway in White/Fir/Del Sol (CN0050-100) that nods to Shawn Kemp was released in 2020. A True Blue colorway (CN5668-101), worn by Kanye West in the streets and Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin and Ron Harper on the NBA court, also re-released in 2020. It has a resale value of up to $200, depending on size and condition. The resale value of the Supersonics colorway can be found close to its MSRP of $120.
Nike Air Flight 89 - Black/White colorway (CU4833-015)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Red/Wolf Grey colorway (819665-100)
Nike Air Flight 89 - White/Fir/Del Sol (CN0050-100)
Nike Air Flight 89 - True Blue colorway (CN5668-101)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Rucker (CZ6097-100)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Blue/Red/White (CU4831-406)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Triple White (828295-100)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Urban Haze (828295-300)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Light Charcoal (828295-001)
Nike Air Flight 89 - Obsidian (828295-400)
The Nike Air Flight 89 has also been included in several themed sneaker packs that Nike has released. The sneaker was part of a pack that celebrated Rucker Park next to the Nike Air Force 1 and the Nike Air Barrage. The Nike Air Flight 89 "Rucker" (CZ6097-100) features a White base with Team Orange and Black accents. Its resale value is close to its MSRP of $120. For the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago, the Nike Air Flight 89 was included in a pack that celebrated the city. The "Chicago" Nike Air Flight 89 comes in University Blue/Red/White (CU4831-406) and has stars on the heel counter to resemble the Chicago flag. Its resale value is close to its MSRP of $120.
High-end versions of the Nike Air Flight 89 with more luxe materials were also released through Nike's sportswear arm, Nike Lab. These versions of the sneaker in colorways such as Triple White (828295-100), Urban Haze (828295-300), Light Charcoal (828295-001) and Obsidian (828295-400) carried a slightly higher price point and were made with streetwear and fashion in mind. Resale values for these pairs range from $140 to $200 depending on size, colorway and condition.
Cultural Relevance of the Nike Air Flight 89
Off the NBA basketball court, the Nike Air Flight 89 has strong cultural significance in streetwear and fashion. Celebrities spotted wearing the sneaker include Kanye West, Jake Gyllenhaal and rapper Stalley. When "Fear of God" designer Jerry Lorenzo was working on his collaboration and collection with Nike, he repurposed the original Nike Air Flight logo for the Nike Fear of God branding.