Nike and the company behind rapper Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes” reached a settlement onThursday for a voluntary recall, ending the high-profile legal battle over the controversial sneakers.
As part of the settlement, Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF will “initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any Satan Shoes and Jesus Shoes for their original retail prices, in order to remove them from circulation,” Nike said.
Nike sued MSCHF last month for trademark infringement after MCSHF released a limited run of modified Nike Air Max 97s, which sold out in less than a minute and featured a pentagram pendant, a drop of human blood in the sole of the shoe, and “Luke 10:18” written on the midsole, a reference to the Bible verse where Satan falls from Heaven.
Satan Shoes are customized versions of the Nike Air Max 97 sneakers, with midsoles purporting to contain a drop of human blood, and printed with “Luke 10:18,” a reference to a Biblical verse that alludes to Satan’s fall from heaven.
Only 666 pairs were made, with the last held back so Lil Nas X, known for the song “Old Town Road,” could choose the recipient.
David Bernstein, who chairs the intellectual property litigation group at Debevoise & Plimpton and represents MSCHF, said the artistic messages MSCHF hoped the shoes would convey were “dramatically amplified” by Nike’s lawsuit.
“MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance,” he said. “Having achieved its artistic purpose, MSCHF is pleased to have resolved the lawsuit.”
Lil Nas X was not a defendant and never got to choose who received the last pair after a Brooklyn judge temporarily halted further sales on April 1.
Nike had claimed that even “sneakerheads” were confused about who produced Satan Shoes, while MSCHF said the shoes were “individually-numbered works of art” and did not sow confusion.