Nike will carry out a lawsuit against Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF over the sales of a controversial pair of trainers dubbed the ‘Satan Shoes’, which contain a drop of human blood in the soles. The modified trainers, which were released as a collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, were made using Nike Air Max 97s, and feature a pentagram and inverted cross on the tongue of the shoe and the inscription ‘Luke 10:18’ near the toe cap.
666 pairs of the trainers were released on 29 March 2021 by MSCHF, with each pair also being individually numbered with an inscription above the sole. The trainers retain the signature Nike air bubble sole, and each shoe sole contains a drop of human blood which was donated by members of MSCHF. Priced at $1,018 (£740), the ‘Satan Shoes’ sold out within a minute according to the art collective. The launch came after the music video premiere of Lil Nas X’s song ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)' on Youtube on 26 March 2021.
Nike have claimed trademark infringement and are asking the courts to prevent MSCHF from using their Swoosh logo or continuing to sell the Satan Shoes. In the lawsuit, Nike state that ‘MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF's products and Nike’.
After the trainers launched, there were many calls globally to boycott Nike with the assumption being that they had released the trainers in collaboration with MSCHF and Lil Nas X. UFC fighter Jon Jones tweeted that he would burn his Nike shoes in response to the launch of the Satan Shoes, though he appeared to reverse his stance after it became apparent that the launch was not approved by Nike.
In response to news of the lawsuit and criticism of the trainers, Lil Nas X tweeted various memes on his profile.