Nike is suing Brooklyn art collective MSCHF over a controversial pair of “Satan Shoes” that contain a drop of real human blood in the soles.
The $ 1,018 (£ 740) trainers, with a cross, pentagram and the words “Luke 10:18”, were made using the modified Nike Air Max 97s.
MSCHF released 666 pairs of shoes on Monday in partnership with rapper Lil Nas X and said they were sold out in less than a minute.
Nike claims trademark infringement
The black and red shoes were “publicly released” by MSCHF on Monday, at the same time as the launch of Lil Nas X’s latest song Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which first appeared on YouTube last Friday.
The song sees the rapper, who came out in 2019, celebrating his sexuality while rejecting society’s attempts to shame him.
In the music video, the rapper is seen descending a rope from heaven to hell, wearing two trainers.In the heavily stylised video, he slides down a stripper pole from heaven to hell before dancing provocatively with Satan, then snapping his neck and stealing his horns.
The pictures and shoes refer to the Bible verse in Luke 10:18 -“So He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”
Each shoe has a Nike air bubble cushioning sole, consisting of 60 cubic centimeters (2.03 ounces of liquid) of red ink and one drop of human blood, donated by members of the art team.
The athletic giant claims that when it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern York region it did not accept or authorize the customized Satan Shoes.
Nike is asking the court to suspend MSCHF from selling shoes and prevent them from using its famous Swoosh brand mark.
Controversy Over Satan Shoes
“MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” the sports shoe giant 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.”
Some Conservatives, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, as well as other religious supporters, were outraged by the controversial shoe formation and criticized Lil Nas X and MSCHF on Twitter.