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Lil Nas X’s “Satan shoes” are being recalled. Do they really think people will send them back?

Lil Nas X with the Satan shoes
Lil Nas X with the Satan shoesPhoto: Screenshot/YouTube

Lil Nas X’s “Satan shoes” are being voluntarily recalled as part of a settlement between Nike and MSCHF, the streetwear company that modified the shoes. Anyone who purchased a set of the exclusive shoes can return them for the original purchase price of $1,018.

But do they think anyone will actually send the shoes back? They’re worth double or triple that amount online.

Related: Lil Nas X hit #1 on Billboard charts & he’s celebrating on Twitter as only he can

MSCHF says that the company “was pleased with the settlement” and “already achieved its artistic purpose” with the repurposed Nike Air Max 97s.

“The 666 shoes … were individually-numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion wherever they are displayed,” he added. “MSCHF recognized that settlement was the best way to allow it to put this lawsuit behind it so that it could dedicate its time to new artistic and expressive projects.”

Only 666 pairs of limited edition shoes were sold. The price was a reference to Luke 10:18, a verse about Satan’s fall from heaven. Decorated with pentagrams and an inverted cross, the shoes supposedly contain a drop of human blood mixed in with red ink injected into the air bubble.

The shoes sold out within minutes, in part because of outcry from Christian conservatives who accused the out musician of promoting Satanism. Even South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said that Nas was putting children’s “God-given eternal soul” at risk with the shoes.

While the case is about trademark infringement, Nike’s case is really about the outcry from conservative Christians.

Artists buying sneakers, decorating them, and re-selling them is a thing that already happens that companies like Nike are aware of. They usually don’t try to stop artists from doing this because it’s another market for their shoes.

But the Satan shoes led to calls of boycotts against Nike that made them afraid that their brand was being hurt. Their lawyers said they “submitted numerous [pieces of] evidence that some consumers are saying they will never buy Nike shoes ever again” due to the outcry.

Nike’s case rests on the fact that their brand was hurt by the Satan shoes. The mere fact that their swoosh appears on the sneakers that MSCHF is selling doesn’t show that Nike’s brand is being hurt; the statements from the internet of people threatening to boycott Nike do.

That is, there’s a decent chance Nike wouldn’t have even filed the lawsuit if people like Gov. Noem hadn’t made such a big deal about the shoes.

MSCHF previously made a line of “Jesus shoes.” While Nike did not object to them at the time, they are now included in the recall.

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