OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Satanism is a topic that baffles me. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, while atheistic Satanists see Satan as a symbol of certain human traits. Neither one of these belief systems sound like a promising roadmap for life, so I can’t for the life of me figure out the growing Western obsession with all things Satanic.
So picture my WTF face when Brooklyn-based streetwear company MSCHF and rapper Lil Nas X announce they will release Satan Shoes. I didn’t know who Lil Nas X was; I had to look him up. Then I realized I’d seen him come across my screen recently because he released a music video in which he gave a lap dance to the devil. I refused to watch it, so I can’t give you all of the details. I can tell you he collaborated with MSCHF (the people who created the Hermes-Birkenstock mashup, without consulting either brand, to produce their own outrageously expensive “Birkinstock” that will likely spur lawsuits), and together they created a shoe that falls in line with the newly released music video.
The Nike Air Max ’97 is a custom design, with only 666 pairs created. It contains a drop of human blood, inverted crosses and pentagrams, and religious symbolism. Pictures of people and serpents line the box of the $1,018 pair of shoes. The sneakers were released today.
Nike says they do not endorse the Satan shoes and they didn’t have anything to do with them, which is awkward because IT’S A NIKE SHOE, but whatever. Teen Vogue says what’s most surprising about the shoe is that the signature air bubble sole contains ink and blood. I’m not sure I’d pick that as the most surprising detail. The “Luke 10:18” on the side certainly made me raise an eyebrow. I raised the other one when I remembered Nike canceling the shoe with the Betsy Ross flag in 2019. “Potentially offensive”, they said. “White supremacy,” Colin Kaepernick said. The shoes, which had already been shipped to stores, were returned and removed from the website.
What’s astonishing to me (but shouldn’t be at this point) is why the mainstream media isn’t asking how Satanism and Satanic adoration became a cool fashion trend, like high-waisted jeans. Vogue states that high-profile political and religious leaders disapprove of the shoes, but what about average moms like me who also think this is nonsense?
I don’t expect Teen Vogue to ask any hard-hitting questions; all they did was tell their readers to watch the music video and then they predicted the shoes would sell out fast. But I want SOMEONE, someone whose company caters to young people, to ask what is being pushed on them and why. At the very least, make their readers or customers THINK. Why would you buy a shoe about Satanism? Is that something you practice? Do you even know what it means? Are you seriously going to spend your stimulus money on SHOES while people around you are losing jobs, businesses, and homes? But that’s a topic for another day.
I stopped buying Nike products years ago, so I’ll simply add these shoes to my list of products I don’t think should exist: Crop tops for toddlers; padded training bras; and padded bikini tops for kids; LOL Surprise dolls that show lingerie when dipped in water (to be clear before I get sued, not ALL of the dolls do this, I just think one is too many); Cosmopolitan magazine (throw the whole company in the trash); nearly every modern television series that features teenagers drinking, having sex, and dealing with life and adult problems (and I like some of these shows! But seriously, at least make them college kids).
I understand entertainment, and I understand there’s an art to pushing the envelope and sparking conversation, but it’s not ground-breaking to push the limits of morality when nearly everything around you is doing the same thing. What gives me a smidgen of hope in dealing with the trash that exists these days is knowing that this pendulum swings both ways. Alongside the kids who think it’s fun to wear Satan shoes and sing W.A.P. in viral TikTok videos, we’re creating a generation of kids who want to shun this status quo, question the narrative, and think for themselves. This current generation is being set up to battle for their way of life, and I hope for my kids’ sake that the right side wins.
“It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.” – Diane Grant, playwright.