The ash-coloured kicks feature a bronze pentagram charm, an inverted cross on the tongue, a reference to Luke 10:18 from the Bible and a single drop of human blood, according to the official “Satan Shoes” website. The shoes are numbered one through 666 and were listed at $1,018, in another nod to the verse from Luke.
“I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning,” part of the verse says.
The shoes might sound like the work of the devil but they’re actually a collaboration between Lil Nas X and MSCHF, a New York-based art collective that helped revamp some Nike Air Max 97s for the project. MSCHF says each pair contains two fluid ounces of red ink and one drop of human blood from a member of its team.
“We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF,” Nike told CBS News in a statement Monday. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
On Monday afternoon, Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF for copyright infringement.
Lil Nas X revealed the shoes over the weekend to promote his new song Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
The music video for the song uses Christian imagery to show Lil Nas X’s journey toward accepting his queer identity. Lil Nas X makes out with a serpent in the Garden of Eden, faces a trial in heaven and slides down to hell on a brass pole. The video shows Lil Nas X giving Satan a lap dance, then killing him and taking his crown.
The music video and the shoes have ignited Christian fury on social media, where many have attacked the Old Town Road rapper for what they see as blasphemy.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, ripped Lil Nas X for the shoe design on Twitter, where she said the only thing more “exclusive” than the shoes is a “God-given eternal soul.”
“We are in a fight for the soul of our nation,” Noem tweeted. “We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”
Lil Nas X fired back at the governor for taking the time to get outraged about his project.
“Ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes,” he tweeted. “Do ur job!”
He also spent much of the weekend fighting with other right-wing critics on Twitter, including commentator Candace Owens and pastor Greg Locke. “Who’s next?” he tweeted late Sunday. He also issued a fake apology on YouTube, which has been watched more than 2.9 million times to date.
While some railed against Lil Nas X’s Satanic imagery, many others applauded the video and the shoes.
“Hook us up with a pair,” The Church of Satan tweeted.
The 21-year-old explained that his Satan imagery is a deliberate response to Christianity and the way it made him feel as a gay teenager growing up around the faith.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the s— y’all preached would happen to me because I was gay,” he wrote. “So I hope (you) are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
The rapper, whose real name is Montero Hill, also dedicated the song to his 14-year-old self in a recent Instagram post.
“I know we promised never to come out public,” he wrote. “But this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.” He added that he wants to “make people stay the f— out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”
The Montero (Call Me By Your Name) music video has been watched more than 33 million times to date.
The shoes reportedly sold out within minutes on Monday morning.
The 666th pair in the series is still up for grabs, and it won’t cost you $1,018 or your immortal soul. All you have to do is tweet “I love Satan” along with a link to the shoes to enter the draw.
It’s just one forbidden tweet. What harm could it do?