Nike tried to sue the controversial Satan shoes out of existence. Instead, it's fueling hype as pairs sell for thousands of dollars on the resale market.

  • Nike won a trademark infringement lawsuit against Mschf regarding its recently launched Satan shoes.
  • This controversial element is making the sneakers even more popular on the resale market.
  • StockX and GOAT are not listing the shoes, but pairs are selling for thousands on Grailed and eBay.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nike just won a copyright infringement lawsuit against the company that made the controversial “Satan Shoes.” But the sportswear giant may have forgotten a fundamental aspect of resale culture: The more controversy a sneaker drums up, the more coveted, valuable, and popular it becomes. 

After a federal judge ruled on Thursday that Mschf, the Brooklyn, New York-based art collective, must stop selling its “Satan Shoes,” pairs of the controversial sneakers have been listed and sold for thousands of dollars on resale sites like Grailed and eBay.

Mschf launched the sneakers on Monday in collaboration with the rapper Lil Nas X. Shortly after, Nike filed a complaint that accused Mschf of trademark infringement and dilution. The Satan shoes appear to be modeled after the Nike Air Max 97 and feature Nike’s trademarked “Swoosh” symbol, which led consumers to believe Nike had created the product, the complaint alleged.

Despite the motion to halt the fulfillment of future orders, a lawyer for Mschf said in a court hearing on Thursday that over 600 pairs have already been shipped to buyers, CBS News reported. All 666 pairs of the sneakers, which each included a drop of human blood in the midsole, sold out in under one minute on Monday. 

According to veteran sneaker collector and reseller Davon Ford, the controversy surrounding these sneakers has helped fuel their desirability on the resale market.

“Every collector, reseller, sneakerhead’s dream is to get a shoe — for lack of a better term — that is banned,” explained Ford, who managed to nab a pair of Satan shoes for himself at retail price for $1,018 and is currently listing his pair for $6,660 on his own website. 

As Ford explained, when Nike canceled the release of its “Betsy Ross flag” sneaker in 2019 after pushback from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, the few pairs that made it retail become coveted items that were selling on resale platforms for upwards of $2,000.

Similarly, when the Nike Vaporfly was on its way to getting banned last year by World Athletics, which oversees international running events, the sneaker saw unprecedented popularity on the resale market.

In the case of the Satan shoes, the original sneaker design and subject matter made the sneakers controversial from the start. The Nike lawsuit only intensified this.

It also made it more difficult for resellers to sell the product. While both Grailed and eBay have pairs listed for up to $10,000, other resale platforms like StockX and GOAT do not appear to be facilitating sales of the Satan shoe. As such, resellers are turning to social media and personal websites to unload their pairs to high-paying buyers. 

In a statement to Insider, StockX confirmed that the Satan Shoes are not listed on its site and said it does not often include custom sneakers in its catalog, given the challenges that come with authentication.

“While we have a wide-ranging catalog, we do not include every sneaker release on our platform,” a StockX spokesperson told Insider. “All products traded on StockX are subject to rigorous verification by our industry-leading authentication team.”

While eBay appears to be listing the sneakers for sale, none of them appear to be eligible for eBay’s authentication service, which is the norm for high-heat sneaker listings on the platform. eBay did not return Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Mschf banks on getting reactions from brands

In a statement responding to lawsuit, Mschf said that it “strongly believes in the freedom of expression, and nothing is more important than our ability, and the ability of other artists like us, to continue with our work over the coming years.”

Still controversy is a basic part Mschf’s DNA.

Mschf founder and CEO Gabe Whaley told Insider previously that getting hit with legal action would help its product grow in value and popularity. In the summer of 2020, Mschf launched a T-shirt with fabric from 10 popular brands, including Nike, Supreme, and Adidas, that poked fun at the absurdity of “collab culture” over the summer.

When this shirt was released, Whaley said the likelihood of receiving a cease-and-desist letter from at least one of the brands included in the T-shirt was high. But if Mschf was told to pull the products, their resale value would immediately skyrocket among hypebeasts, or people obsessed with getting their hands on limited merchandise, said Whaley.

Pushback from brands “just creates more symbolism for the symbol that we’re creating,” Whaley said at the time, adding: “It adds another dimension of meaning behind it.”

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