UPDATED 3/29, 8:50 p.m. ET: Nike has issued a statement regarding its lawsuit over the MSCHF Air Max 97 Satan sneakers.
“Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes,” the brand said. “We don’t have any further details to share on pending legal matters. However, we can tell you we do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. The Satan Shoes were produced without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”
See original story below.
Earlier this morning, Lil Nas X and Brooklyn-based collective MSCHF launched a custom Air Max 97 equipped with a drop of human blood in its Air bubble, “666” branding, a pentagram hangtag, and more. The sneakers leaked over the weekend and, to no one’s surprise, sent the internet into a frenzy, with a number of people erroneously condemning Nike for putting out a Satan-themed sneaker. Almost immediately, Nike responded, saying, “We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes, and we do not endorse them.”
Now, less than six hours after the shoe’s release—and prompt sellout—Nike is suing MSCHF over the sneaker. One of the key claims in Nike’s filed lawsuit reads, “Nike has not and does not approve or authorize MSCHF’s customized Satan Shoes. Moreover, MSCHF and its unauthorized Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike. 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 authorized or approved this product.”
Furthermore, Nike claims that the manipulation of the sneaker’s midsole “may pose safety risks for consumers.” Each of the 666 “Satan” sneakers is said to contain a mixture of red dye and human blood.
Nike has not yet responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
In an exclusive interview with Complex prior to the shoe’s launch, MSCHF cofounder Daniel Greenberg said, “I feel like, no matter what drop it is, it’s hilarious that we always get the same question about legality. Every outlet always asks, ‘How have you guys not been sued into oblivion yet?’ We haven’t, obviously. We’re still here. … I’d say specifically, in terms of Jesus shoes and Satan shoes, it is totally legal in the sense that, because we’re not doing knockoffs, because we are buying their shoes and doing our art to it and selling it for more, it’s, like, 1,000 percent legal.”
MSCHF previously released a Jesus-themed Air Max 97 in 2019, which featured holy water from the River Jordan in its Air unit. While it was met with criticism—albeit to a lesser degree—no legal action was taken by Nike.
Following the news of the lawsuit, Complex reached out to Greenberg, who has not yet responded to the request for comment.