This week, Nike filed suit against MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based streetwear company, in the Eastern District of New York for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. In collaboration with popular rapper Lil Nas X, who is widely known for his chart-topping hit “Old Town Road,” MSCHF launched their “Satan Shoes” on March 29, 2021. The Satan Shoes, which are unauthorized by Nike, consist of a genuine pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers modified by MSCHF with a host of hell-themed features. The additions include red liquid in the air bladder of each sole, a bronze charm with a pentagram attached to each shoelace, red embroidery of the number “6/666” on the body, an inverted cross depicted on each tongue, the words “MSCHF” and “LIL NAS X” embroidered on the back of either shoe, an outward-facing illustration of a pentagram on both insoles, and red embroidery of “LUKE 10:18” as a reference to a Bible verse about Satan falling from heaven. Further, MSCHF claims that the Satan Shoes have one drop of real human blood in each sole. Only 666 pairs were made available at $1,018 per pair, and the line is now completely sold out. The Satan Shoes launch also occurred in the wake of Lil Nas X’s newest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” which received backlash itself due to the music video’s imagery of hell and depiction of the rapper as the devil.
Despite MSCHF’s dramatic modifications to the Air Max 97s, Nike’s swoosh logo remains prominently displayed on the Satan Shoes. The stunt product is not the first of its kind for MSCHF, which also offered a line of limited-edition “Jesus Shoes” in 2019. Those shoes consisted of a white pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers modified by MSCHF with custom stitching and water allegedly from the River of Jordan. Interestingly, however, Nike did not object to the Jesus Shoes.
This case is Nike, Inc. v. MSCHF Product Studio, Inc., Case No. 21-cv-1679, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The image above is provided by Nike in the official complaint.