NIKE IS suing a Brooklyn art collective over a limited edition of “Satan Shoes” containing biblical references, esoteric symbols – and a drop of human blood in the liquid cushioning soles.
The limited-edition Nike Air Max 97s trainers – 666 of them in the run, natch – carry a $1,018 price tag, and feature a pentagram, an inverted cross, and the words “Luke 10:18” near the toe. The Bible verse reads in full: “So He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”
The shoes sold out within a minute of their online release. In a music video for Lil Nas X’s latest song, Montero (Call Me By Your Name), the rapper wears a pair while sliding down to Hell on an infinite stripper pole.
Nike claims trademark infringement, but doesn’t seem as concerned by the controversial imagery used on the black and red shoes, and in the video. It seems it’s all about the unauthorised use of the iconic Nike logo.
In a mischievous gimmick, contained in the Nike air-bubble sole of each shoe are 60ccs of red ink and a drop of real human blood, donated by members of the MSCHF art collective in New York.
Nike says in a filing with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York that it does not “design, release or endorse” the controversial footwear. In 2019, the collective released another rogue shoe, this time Jesus-themed, in white, and with water from the River Jordan in the cushioning sole. (They were more expensive, too, at $1,425.)
Nike is asking the court to stop MSCHF from selling the Satan Shoes and using its “swoosh” logo. “(The shoes) are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” the firm says in the lawsuit.
“In fact, there is already evidence of significant confusion and dilution occurring in the marketplace, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF’s Satan Shoes, based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorised or approved this product.”
A US “shoe influencer”, @Saint, plugged the sales launch and the product in the days leading up to the YouTube release of the Lil Nas X accompanying song. The rapper got the first of the numbered, limited edition shoes.
Conservatives and religious commentators have (surprise) taken offence.