Redeeming their soles: ‘Satan Shoes’ to be recalled after Nike settles lawsuit with design firm
A Brooklyn-based company that sold modified sneakers containing human blood has agreed to recall the shoes as part of a settlement with Nike. The Satan-themed footgear had triggered outrage and confusion on social media.
Nike announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with MSCHF Product Studio, which collaborated with rapper Lil Nas X to create the limited-edition Satan Shoes – customized black Nike Air Max 97s. Decorated with pentagrams and inscribed with a Bible verse, the shoe’s midsole is filled with a mix of red ink and human blood. With a price tag of $1,018, only 666 pairs of the sneakers were made.
The gimmick went viral, but also caught the attention of Nike’s lawyers. MSCHF had kept Nike’s iconic ‘swoosh’ logo on the shoes, prompting the company to file a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Nike argued in its lawsuit that the provocatively themed sneakers were likely to “cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association” between MSCHF’s products and the footwear company.
Under the newly reached settlement, MSCHF will conduct a voluntary recall and offer full refunds to customers.
In a statement, Nike reiterated that the shoes had been altered without its authorization, and that the refund was being offered “in order to remove [the sneakers] from circulation.” However, Nike did not disclose further details about the contents of the settlement. In its lawsuit, the company had demanded that MSCHF destroy any remaining Satan Shoes in its possession, as well as any other modified products bearing its logo.
Last week, a federal judge ordered MSCHF to stop shipping the sneakers until the suit was resolved. Unfortunately for Nike, all but one pair of the shoes had already been snatched up by eager buyers, with many already in the mail. The final pair was due to be given to a randomly chosen customer, until the court issued its restraining order.
The shoes had triggered a barrage of news reports and sparked pandemonium on social media. Adding to the controversy was the fact that the sneakers were released to coincide with a new music video by Lil Nas X, in which the openly gay rapper “rides a stripper pole into hell and gives the Devil a lap dance.”
The music artist condemned Nike for its lawsuit last week, accusing the company of attacking freedom of expression and “canceling” his Satan Shoes.