To go along with the release of his new video for Montero — in which he gives Satan a lap dance — Lil Nas X also teamed up with a customs company for the release of a range of Hell-themed Nike Air Max sneakers. Only problem being that now Nike is suing.
The company responsible for the shoes, MSCHF, have a history with this. In 2019 they released a “Holy” version of the same shoe (below), complete with a crucifix on the laces and “holy water” injected into the Air Max 97’s bubble. That one went down just fine, and even made the mainstream news.
This time, though, with the shoe’s theme reversed — this one supposedly has a drop of human blood in the sole, and its heavenly motifs have been swapped for hellish ones, like a big pentagram on the laces — they’re in trouble. See, Nike has nothing to do with these shoes; MSCHF is simply buying a ton of them, customising them in-house then reselling them.
So Nike has filed suit in a New York district court, claiming MSCHF’s sale of the shoes violates their trademark, and has led to brand confusion at a time when the wider reaction to both the video (which rules) and the sneakers (which are a bit much) has been…mixed, and led to sentences I never thought I’d ever by typing, like Lil Nas X having to own a Republican Governor on Twitter.
“Nike has not and does not approve or authorise MSCHF’s customised Satan Shoes”, their case states. “Moreover, MSCHF and its unauthorised 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 authorised or approved this product.”
While previously OK with limited sales of customised sneakers, Nike has been cracking down on the practice lately, with the most high profile example being legal action taken against customiser Warren Lotas, whose horror-themed Dunk release in 2020 was blocked by the sportswear giant.
Interestingly, just ahead of the Lil Nas X collab, MSCHF cofounder Daniel Greenberg told Complex “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.”
Note that while the suit involves a show made as a collaboration with the artist, Lil Nas X — despite his tweets — hasn’t been named as a defendant, only MSCHF.
me after the nike lawsuit pic.twitter.com/XVLjHlSrru
— nope ???? (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
MORE SNEAKER STUFF:
Last week I had some negative sneaker news to share here on noted footwear blog Kotaku, so this week let’s flip that to something more positive.Read more
So one of the best things about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and really about Miles Morales in general, is that he’s an extremely relatable kid. That was true of his personality and exploits, sure, but it even went as far as his shoes.Read more
Normally sneaker collabs like to pay homage to things that have already established themselves as cultural forces, but when it comes to directly helping advertise an upcoming blockbuster video game, Adidas figures it can bring that timeline forward a little.Read more