Watch: Nike Sues over Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday March 30, 2021

Shoemaker Nike has filed a federal suit over the so-called "Satan Shoes" that were released in conjunction with Lil Nas X's gleefully diabolical video "Call Me by Your Name," NBC News reports.

"The 'Old Town Road' artist worked with MSCHF to release 'Satan Shoes' on Monday," March 29, NBC reported. "The sneakers are modified Nike Air Max 97s — decorated with a pentagram pendant and a reference to Luke 10:18, a Bible verse about Satan's fall from heaven."

The price tag - $1,018 per pair - also reflects the Biblical passage, news reports have noted.

The soles of the shoes contain a drop of human blood, NBC said. All 666 pairs of the modified shoes that went up for sale sold out within moments.

"Lil Nas X was not named as a defendant" in the suit, NBC News added.

Nike's suit claims that the company has suffered because of confusion around the unauthorized shoes. Nike had nothing to do with the "Satan Shoes" modifications, and did not approve them.

The suit says there has been "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 authorized or approved this product," NBC News said.

Nike also stated that "we do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF."

The company had previously released modified Nike shoes dubbed "Jesus Shoes," which did not excite as much controversy. NBC explained that the "Jesus Shoes" "contained what it described as holy water in its sole drawn from the River Jordan."

In a video clip, NBC News reported on how the song and its video are, in essence, a letter to the rapper's younger self. The NBC clip reported on Lil Nas X having talked previously about having been made to feel ashamed of his sexuality by religion.

The rapper has made a jest of the entire matter from the start. As EDGE reported previously, the rapper "spun the controversy into a promotional opportunity, releasing a new YouTube video to his 12.1 million subscribers titled 'Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe,' only to show several seconds of the singer posing with the shoe followed by a quick cut to his latest music video" - specifically, a clip in which he is giving a lap dance to the devil."

The timing appeared to be part of the overall motif, with the new video dropping the Friday before - and the shoes going on sale the day after - Palm Sunday (which is celebrated a week before Easter Sunday), a separate NBC News story noted.

Outraged Christians took the bait.

Trolls also went after Lil Nas X online, but, as EDGE reported, the rapper mounted a spirited defense on social media, sending out a flurry of tweets.

The out rapper doubled down on the devilish fun with a tweet in which his message appeared to be, "You guys know I was just kidding, right?"

Watch the NBC News Clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.