Nike Sues MSCHF Over Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’

Nike and MSCHF have settled the lawsuit over the controversial “Satan Shoe.”

According to Nike, the sports giant came to a settlement agreement with MSCHF on Thursday where the fashion brand will “initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any ‘Satan Shoe’ and ‘Jesus Shoe’ for their original retail prices in order to remove them from circulation.”

Fashion label MSCHF made headlines last month when it released the shoe made in collaboration with Lil Nas X. The sneaker was a reimagined version of the Nike Air Max 97 style designed to feature biblical imagery like an engraved bronze pentagram, Bible passage Luke 10:18 — which details Satan falling from Heaven — and one drop of human blood in the sneaker’s sole air bubble provided by MSCHF’s design staff. The sneakers were priced at $1,018 and sold out immediately.

This wasn’t the first time that MSCHF had repurposed Nike’s products for sale. MSCHF had previously reimagined the Nike sneakers for its “Jesus Shoe” style last year, which also included biblical imagery.

Nike, which had no involvement in the Lil Nas X-inspired sneaker, filed a lawsuit against MSCHF on March 29 for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, common law trademark infringement and unfair competition over the sneaker.

MSCHF’s “Satan Shoe” garnered mixed reactions on social media when revealed on March 28, including some that liked and wanted to purchase the sneakers and others who took offense by its biblical references. Despite not being involved in the sneaker, Nike received some of the backlash for the style.

MSCHF later responded to Nike’s lawsuit on April 2, stating: “We believe it is better to make art that participates directly in its subject matter. It is stronger to do a thing than to talk about a thing. MSCHF makes artworks that live directly in the systems they critique, instead of hiding inside white-walled galleries.”

The statement went on to explain that Satan is “as much part of the historical canon as Jesus, from Renaissance Hellmouths to Milton,” and that “Satan exists as the challenger to the ultimate authority.”

David H. Bernstein, one of MSCHF’s attorneys, released a statement on the settlement on Thursday.

“With these ‘Satan Shoes’ — which sold out in less than a minute — MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance,” the statement read. “The 666 shoes (665 of which were already sold and shipped to collectors before the temporary restraining order hearing last week) were individually numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion wherever they are displayed.  The artistic messages MSCHF hoped to share with these shoes were also powerfully communicated through Lil Nas X’s music video ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’, and were dramatically amplified by the Nike lawsuit, which brought extraordinary publicity to MSCHF and its works of art.”

The statement went on to read that while MSCHF wanted to present its defense in court, the fashion label feels it “already achieved its artistic purpose” with the shoes and recognized that the settlement “was the best way to allow it to put this lawsuit behind it so that it could dedicate its time to new artistic and expressive projects.”

Read more here:

Repurposing Brands Is Complicated for Designers, Artists and Brands 

The 13 Biggest Fashion Collaborations of 2020

Nike Offers Updates on Diversity, Sustainability and 2025 Goals 

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