On Friday, March 26, a pair of sneakers set the internet ablaze. It all happened when the multi-media account @Saint broke the news of an alleged collaboration between rapper Lil Nas X and MSCHF dubbed “Satan Shoes,” which is said to feature a custom pair of Nike Air Max 97s with 60cc ink, one drop of human blood, and a $1,018 price tag. And because they are being called Satan Shoes, after all, the sneaker is said to be limited to 666 pairs when it’s expected to drop on March 29. The shoes, naturally, have quickly caused controversy — and Nike wants nothing to do with them, the company tells Input.
“We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” a Nike spokesperson said in a statement sent to Input. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.” The company did not say whether it plans to send a cease and desist to Lil Nas X and MSCFH, though if that were to happen, the rapper and the brand could make the argument that the shoes are simply an art project — which could offer some legal shielding. Of course, this isn’t the first time MSCHF, a creative label based out of Brooklyn, has worked on a religion-themed sneaker, following the drop of its “Jesus Shoes” back in 2019 — which came with holy water inside the Nike Air bubble.
(Update: Nike has sued MSCHF over its Lil Nas X Satan Shoes.)
Bible script — Aside from the human blood and 666 ties, Lil Nas X and MSCHF’s Satan Shoes come with a graphic, religious detail on the upper that says “Luke 10:18,” an excerpt from The Bible that reads, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” There’s also a charm on each shoe of a Pentagram, AKA The Devil’s Star, and a packaging full of artwork that includes a drawing of Satan walking up to Jesus, according to product photos acquired by Saint.
MSCHF’s “Jesus Shoes” from 2019.
So, why would this shoe be coming out right now? Well, Lil Nas X, of “Old Town Road” fame, has just launched a music video called “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).” In it, he can be seen giving Satan a lap dance before snapping his neck, killing him, and taking over his evil powers. That falls right along with the aesthetic of the Satan Shoes done in partnership with MSCFH, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nike would condemn the use of one if its most iconic silhouettes to get Lil Nas X’s religious message across.
A drop (of blood)? — The question now is whether the sneakers will actually release on March 29, or if Nike has a last-minute plan to stop them from ever seeing the light of day. Given the controversy the Satan Shoes have already caused all over Instagram and Twitter — where conservative people who aren’t aware that Nike did not actually design or make the shoe are calling for the brand to be boycotted — someone at the sportswear giant’s headquarters right now is likely going over what its next steps should be.
Whatever Nike decides to do, the story of Lil Nas X and MSCHF’s devil sneakers hasn’t even officially begun and it didn’t take long for a hype around them to be created — good or bad. That means that, if MSCHF does launch them as it supposedly plans to, the 666 pairs priced at over $1K retail are only going to skyrocket in the secondary market, where collectors will see them as more of a piece of art now that Nike has come out against them. But will anyone trying to buy a pair, um, pray to god they can get one?
Update: MSCHF gave Input the following statement about its demonic Lil Nas X collab: “We confirm that we did not work with Nike. They had zero involvement with the shoe.”