MSCHF, the Brooklyn-based art collective that sold the ‘Satan Shoes’ in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, has agreed to issue a voluntary recall of the trainers as part of a legal settlement with Nike.
According to Nike, MSCHF will offer full refunds to customers who had purchased the trainers, which had a limited release of 666 pairs. Of the collection, all but one pair had been shipped, with the last pair being held by Lil Nas X to select the final recipient, though MSCHF have now said they will retain this pair.
The settlement resolves a trademark infringement lawsuit brought against the art collective by Nike last week. In the lawsuit, Nike claimed that sales of the Satan Shoes would create an ‘erroneous association’ between MSCHF and itself. Though MSCHF rejected this assertion, a federal judge sided with Nike and issued a temporary restraining order on 1 April 2021.
In a statement, the footwear and apparel company said that ‘MSCHF altered these shoes without Nike's authorisation. Nike had nothing to do with the Satan Shoes’.
David Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton, who represented MSCHF in the lawsuit, noted that ‘MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance’. Bernstein also remarked that the art collective was ‘pleased to have resolved the lawsuit’.
MSCHF sold the Satan Shoes as part of a collaboration with Lil Nas X. Their release coincided with the premiere of the rapper’s latest single ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ on Youtube on 26 March 2021. According to MSCHF, the trainers sold out in less than a minute after their release on 29 March.
With a controversial design that included a drop of human blood in the sole of each trainer, the Satan Shoes were subject to criticism on social media as some users declared that they would subsequently boycott Nike. This, along with the use of the ‘Swoosh’ logo, resulted in the trademark infringement lawsuit being brought against MSCHF by Nike.