The Satan Shoes were created to mark the singer’s music video for his new single Montenero (Call Me By Your Name), which features visuals of Lil Nas X sliding down a stripper pole into hell and giving the devil a lapdance.
MSCHF said that the sole of every pair of Satan Shoes contains a drop of human blood, donated by six members of the design team.
The blood was mixed with bright red ink before being injected into the signature air cushions of the Nike Air Max 97 shoes.
The custom Nikes also include diabolic design elements such as an upside-down cross on the tongue loop and a pentagram charm dangling from the laces.
Luke 10:18 is painted in red above the tread, a reference to the verse from the Gospel of Luke in the Bible that says: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.
This line is written in Gothic script on the box that the custom-made shoes come packaged in, which features visuals of a skeleton with bat wings presiding over souls being tormented in hell.
The image is a detail from the 15th-century painting The Last Judgment by Dutch artist Jan Van Eyck and represents death excreting the damned, which includes senior members of the church.
The singer, who came out as gay in 2019, has hinted that his motivation for subverting Christian iconography was prompted by homophobia he experienced growing up.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because I was gay,” he Tweeted. “So I hope you are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
In response to the outcry in the American media over the Satanic themes of the shoe, Lil Nas X released a 45-second long YouTube video.
He pretends to apologise before trolling the audience with a clip from his music video that ends with him snapping the devil’s neck, crowning himself with braided horns and sprouting black wings.
Nike has publicly distanced itself from the Satan Shoes, telling the New York Times: “Nike did not design or release these shoes, and we do not endorse them.”
It isn’t the first time that MSCHF has dabbled in religious-themed mischief. The brand has previously sold Jesus Shoes, which were white Nike’s it claimed were filled with holy water.
More blood-based design that makes a statement includes copies of a magazine printed with ink made from the blood of HIV+ men and posters commemorating the massacre of Armenians during world war one made with blood mixed with red ink.
Images courtesy of MSCHF.
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