Well, that didn't take long.
Over the weekend, "Old Town Road" rapper Lil Nas X unveiled a promotional tie-in to his demonically themed new single—"Satan Shoes," modified Nike Air Max 97s adorned with a pentagram charm and drops of human blood injected into the soles. The limited-edition sneakers were made in collaboration with New York art collective MSCHF, and went on sale to the public today.
The shoes scandalized conservatives, who took to social media to excoriate both the artist and Nike for promoting Satanism. Naturally, Nike was quick to deny having any involvement in the production of the sneakers.
And, perhaps just as expectantly, the Beaverton-based sportswear manufacturer has taken things one step further and filed a trademark infringement claim against MSCHF, alleging that the shoe has done "significant harm to [Nike's] goodwill," according to Rolling Stone.
The lawsuit notes that the shoe is "likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF's products and Nike," as the company's famous swoosh logo is still visible, despite the other alterations. In addition, the injection of blood in the air bubble "may pose a safety risk for consumers."
Nike is demanding MSCHF cease all sales and promotion of the Satan Shoes." (Lil Nas X is not named in the suit.) It's a significantly different tack than the company took against a previous pair of modified Nikes issued by the group: so-called Jesus Shoes, which purportedly had holy water in the soles.
Representatives from MSCHF did not respond to Rolling Stone's request for comment, but based on previous remarks from the designers, being allowed to actually sell the shoes is beside the point.
"If we can make people a fan of the brand and not the product, we can do whatever the fuck we want," co-founder Daniel Greenberg told Business Insider in 2020. "We build what we want. We don't care."