In 2023 the Nike Air Flight 89 made a comeback with a few new and old colorways, among which we got one for a short review. This sneaker holds a special place in the hearts of many sneakerheads, especially the ones that got to experience that era in their teens. The newer generations often mistake these for some knock-offs, given their looks that are reminiscent of the Air Jordan 4. The two models were designed by Tinker Hatfield and released in the same year, 1989. Interestingly enough the Air Flight 89 was released first, being originally named Nike Air Flight low. Designed for basketball, they quickly became a street favorite and absorbed into the 90’s culture. 

First Impressions

The pair we got was the one dubbed “Brigade Blue” or “Obsidian Blue”, a colorway initially introduced in 2015. They come in the classic red Nike box like many of the retros released nowadays. One of the first things I noticed on this pair is the quality of the leather for this 2023 release which is not the best, with mostly synthetic leather upper. This is one of the first things to check on the releases of this model as Nike actually had some all genuine leather versions recently as well. They also seem a bit bulky and they carry some weight, with size 11 weighing almost 19 oz.

How They Fit

The Nike Air Flight 89 fits true to size with a roomy toe box that will accommodate the ones with wider feet. Some may feel that they are too accommodating in this sense so they may feel a bit bulky which was not the case with the original pairs released in 1989. It is to be noted that you’ll need to break these in a bit to get the most of them. If you are not sure about your Nike sizing you can check out this size chart

Nike Air Flight 89 Review 1

Nike Air Flight 89 white blue 1

Nike Air Flight 89 white blue 2


As mentioned above, the upper of the Nike Air Flight 89 is made up of thumbled leather with traditional, retro stitching. For this pair we got Nike seems to have used synthetic leather which is more apparent in some places than others. There are no perforations in the leather so there isn’t much air flow in these, making them great to wear in the winter, same as we did for this Nike Air Flight 89 review. The heel collar and tongue are heavy padded which add some nice heel support and cushioning. Notably the upper also features the extra plastic eyelets in similar style with the Air Jordan 4. 

Sole Unit 

The sole unit is basically identical with the one from the AJ4 ,at least in terms of looks. When it comes to materials this edition features a soft EVA foam that seems to be Phylon, a move from the harder Polyurethane the shoe originally featured. Also the Air Unit in the heel compresses easily which adds some comfort and bounce back. The outsole rubber extends on the sides all the way to the upper leather , which makes these to be very stable. The outsole is quite sticky and still delivers in terms of traction so they can still perform on the court to some extent. 

Nike Air Flight 89 white blue 4

Nike Air Flight 89 white blue 3

Are Nike Air Flight 89 basketball shoes?

The Nike Air Flight 89 were designed back in the day as basketball shoes so yes, they can still be used on the court. However, they are a bit heavy and the technology is outdated when compared to more contemporary models but they compensate with durability and versatility. They are more of a fashion sneaker these days, a pair that you can wear every day but always ready to play ball. They are great back to school shoes, especially for the colder season. 

Bottom Line 

To wrap up my Nike Air Flight 89 review, these are some nostalgia sneakers that still hold a special place among the retros from that era. They are very stylish and durable, even if some versions feature synthetic leather. They are great as a shoe to wear casually every day if you want to sport a retro look. Even if they are a bit heavy they are still pretty versatile, in case you want to take them on the court, do some weightlifting or even skateboard in them.