Sales and production for Lil Nas X’s controversial Satan sneakers have come to a halt. On Thursday (April 1), a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the Nike knockoffs.
The custom Air Max 97s — which is designed with human blood and a reference to a Bible verse about the devil — dropped over the weekend, coinciding with the release of Lil Nas X’s visual for “Montero.” Though the 666 shoes sold out within a minute, they drew an onslaught of negative reactions, prompting Nike to speak out and disassociate themselves with the rap star and MSCHF — the company responsible for making the footwear.
“We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” Nike said in a statement at the time. “Nike did not design or release these shoes, and we do not endorse them.” The brand followed up with a lawsuit that accused the retail company of producing and selling shoes that dilute their famous marks without their authorization, and filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, MSCHF’s attorneys responded to the suit with a letter to the judge, explaining that the Satan shoes are “not typical sneakers, but rather individually-numbered works of art that were sold to collectors” and will be displayed in artistic collections like the previously-released Jesus Shoes.
Nike lawyers argued that “sophisticated sneakerheads were confused” about the purpose of the shoes, and alleged that MSCHF is attempting to build a brand. They said that the sneaker release negatively affected Nike as the company’s presumed association with the footwear resulted in boycotts against them.
“We have submitted numerous evidence that some consumers are saying they will never buy Nike shoes ever again,” said Nike’s attorney Kyle Schneider. “There’s no bright line but the more famous the mark — and we think Nike’s swoosh is one of most famous mark of all time — the more protection it is afforded.”
Judge Eric Komitee eventually ruled that Nike showed “sufficient evidence for a temporary restraining order.” The order was to prevent shipment of the sold out shoes, but MSCHF said that all but one pair have already gone out.
“There’s no basis for a recall,” MSCHF told the judge. “They are not doing this for money. It’s about the message.”
A later hearing will determine a longer-lasting preliminary injunctive.