Lil Nas X holding unofficial 'Satan' Nike shoe in front of red background

These Shoes Feature a Pentagram, Inverted Cross and a Drop of Real Human Blood

Controversy is good for business. Just ask Lil Nas X, a rapper turned fashion mogul whose breakout shoe design, in collaboration with the New York-based art collective MSCHF (read "mischief"), is causing people to lose their minds, either in anger or in a rush to spend.

The "Satan Shoes," as they are called, sold out in under a minute, despite their asking price of over a thousand dollars. But it’s the design elements that have people apoplectic: each shoe features a bronze pentagram (the sign of the devil), an inverted cross (long associated with satanism) and – ahem – a single drop of real human blood. Only 666 pairs were made (666 being the "number of the beast" in Christian lore), and each retailed for a whopping $1,018. And even that price is a reference, for in the Bible, Luke 10:18 reads, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

The base model for the shoe design was provided by the Nike Air Max 97s, but Nike was very quick to distance themselves from the project, in a statement to CNN: "We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them."

When news of the shoes leaked online, the "drop of human blood" part was thought to be lie used for a marketing scheme, but a MSCHF spokesperson subsequently confirmed the reporting, saying that members of the art collective provided the blood using needles from at-home glucose tests. "We love to sacrifice for our art," the spokesperson quipped.

High-profile Christian and conservative figures, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and evangelical pastor Mark Burns took to Twitter to denounce the design as evil and heretical.

These #SatanShoes by #Nike & #LilNasX with 666 and a drop of human blood in the sole is a reason why we Christians must be prayed up ready to battle in the spirit with the Voice of the Holy Spirit. This is evil & heresy and I pray that Christians rise up against this. pic.twitter.com/u7CK3NCIy7

— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) March 27, 2021

Lil Nas X’s been surrounded by controversy (and Satanic imagery) over the last week. His most recent video, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" features an Eden-like garden, a fall into a hellish landscape, and a (lap) dance with the devil.

All that talk across social media propelled the video to over 34 million views in under three days.

And Lil Nas X? He isn’t phased by the drama:

y’all gotta admit… the shoes hard! u cannot sit here and lie

— nope ? (@LilNasX) March 28, 2021

Considering he just made over half a million dollars in "under a minute" of sales, we can’t blame him. And as for "Montero," hate it all you want, it’s still a catchy, certified bop.

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