Nike has denied involvement in an announcement by the singer Lil Nas X that he will release custom-made “Satan shoes”, sneakers which contain a drop of human blood.
The singer collaborated with streetwear label MSCHF to create the shoes, which are modified Nike Air Max 97s and feature a pentagram pendant and a reference to a Bible verse, Luke 10:18 – “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.
The shoes are a tie-in with a song and video, Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which shows Lil Nas X gyrating in the devil’s lap.
They follow MSCHF’s Jesus Shoes – which contained a drop of holy water.
The shoes, available from Monday, will be limited to 666 pairs, retail at $1,018 and contain: “60cc ink and one drop of human blood.”
In a statement to the New York Times, Nike said it was not involved in the project.
“We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” the company said. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
The shoes caused an uproar on social media, reigniting debate about satanic imagery in music.
The basketball player Nick Young referred to Lil Nas X’s big hit when he wrote: “My kids will never play Old Town Road again.”
Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota and a rising star on the Trumpist Republican right, wrote on Twitter: “This is outrageous, disgusting and perverted and on #PalmSunday no less.
“Somehow [Lil Nas X] thinks that Satanic worship should be mainstream and normal. I don’t think there have been better candidates to cancel than Lil Nas X and these shoes.”
She added: “Our kids are being told that this kind of product is not only OK, it’s ‘exclusive’. But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”
In response, the singer tweeted: “You are a whole governor and you [are] on here tweeting about some damn shoes. Do your job!”
Lil Nas X later posted a satirical “apology”, which contained footage from the Montero (Call Me By Your Name) video of him dancing on the devil’s lap. In the comments, he wrote “I’m so sorry, real apology”, before posting a link to the full music video.
He later tweeted: “There is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop. Me sliding down a CGI pole isn’t what’s destroying society.”
He added: “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because I was gay. So I hope u are mad, stay mad [and] feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”