Nike has sued New York-based art collective MSCHF over a controversial pair of “Satan Shoes” launched in collaboration with rapper and singer Lil Nas X.
The black and red sneakers were made using Nike Air Max 97s and contain a drop of human blood. The shoes also feature a pentagram pendant and a reference to a Bible verse, Luke 10:18 — “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
The release of the “Satan Shoes” coincides with Lil Nas X’s latest single Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
Nike has distanced itself from the shoes. “We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them,” it said in a statement.
Nike sued MSCHF in US district court, alleging that MSCHF’s “unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike.”
Referring to its swoosh logo, the company said in the lawsuit that the “decisions about what products to put the ‘swoosh’ on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF,” according to The New York Times. Nike also asked the court to stop MSCHF from fulfilling orders for its “Satan Shoes”.
The shoes, which were priced at $1,018 per pair, were sold out soon after going on sale Monday. MSCHF said 666 pairs sold out in less than a minute.
Each shoe’s air bubble sole contains 60 cubic centimetres of red ink and “one drop” of human blood, MSCHF told CNN. Gabe Whaley, MSCHF’s CEO, said that about six MSCHF employees supplied a small amount of blood to be mixed with ink and included in the shoes.
MSCHF creative director Kevin Wiesner said they collected individual drops using the same type of needle used in at-home glucose tests.
The shoes drew outrage online, including from governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota. She tweeted: “This is outrageous, disgusting and perverted and on Palm Sunday no less.”
Responding to the uproar, Lil Nas X posted a video on YouTube titled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe”. After a few seconds and before it gets to the apology, the video cuts to a scene from Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
In 2019, MSCHF had released limited edition “Jesus Shoes” which were also made from Nike Air Max 97 and contained “holy water” sourced from the Jordan River.