It feels impossible to put the art collective MSCHF into a singular category, especially when it comes to their sub-brand MSCHF Sneakers. From pirating the Bee Movie to dabbling in the occasional lawsuit, MSCHF are globally recognised for causing mayhem whilst disrupting consumer culture. Claiming to be a “practice and entity that manifests the ambition for creative work to wield real tangible power in culture”, MSCHF have made quite the name for themselves through controversial drops that get the people talking.
Although the label isn’t exclusively tied to footwear, many of their shoe releases have caught the attention of everyone from fashion connoisseurs to media outlets; eager to give their two cents on each drop. In this round-up, we’ll be discussing some of the most popular (and disruptive) MSCHF Sneakers. Money-hungry gimmicks or sheer creative genius? We’ll leave the choice up to you.
Let’s kick off the round-up with the MSCHF x INRI Nike Air Max 97 Jesus Shoes, released in October 2019. We know what you’re thinking. “Cool, a collaboration between MSCHF and Nike” right? Contrary to the title of the sneaker, this iteration actually had no affiliation with the Swoosh powerhouse whatsoever. The Brooklyn-based label took it upon themselves to create the Jesus Shoes without the go-ahead from Nike, but hey, who cares when it’s selling out in less than a minute? Yes, that’s right – the sneaker was greeted to an incredible reception of streetwear connoisseurs wanting to cop. The shoe even ended up with a resale price of over triple its original cost of $1,425.
So, what made the shoes so sought-after, you might ask? The answer is in the details. In true MSCHF style, nothing is done half-heartedly. Air Bubble Unit’s were filled with water sourced from the actual River Jordan – blessed before being loaded into the shoe. Talk about being able to ‘walk on water’. If that wasn’t enough, frankincense-scented insoles and a crucifix dubrae completes the biblical silhouette, good enough for Jesus Christ Himself.
Taking a complete 180 from the Jesus Shoes, then came the infamously viral Satan Shoes. Although MSCHF may have gotten away with their authentically Holy 97’s, Nike weren’t too fond of this devilish iteration. Endorsed by the controversial popstar Lil Nas X, the sneakers feature a bunch of satanic references. And if that isn’t enough to tick Nike off, then the drop of human blood in each pair is likely to do the trick. It’s not surprising that this sneaker resulted in a lawsuit, to which Nike and MSCHF came to a mutual settlement. Now, the ‘Satan Shoes’ promotional website comically censors any inch of Swoosh that once remained.
Much to Nike’s dismay, the Satan Shoes sold out instantaneously, just like its Godly counterpart. Part of the settlement meant that MSCHF must purchase all 666 pairs back, for the original retail price of $1,018. As well as the freakish human blood element (kindly donated by the MSCHF team), the sneaker also arrives adorned with a pentagram lace charm and biblical verse embedded into the front. Relating to the verse “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”, I think we can all agree that MSCHF’s Satan Shoes are far from heavenly.
Treading carefully in terms of anything Swoosh-inspired (you’d think), MSCHF then introduced the TAP3. If you think the sneaker draws resemblance to the Nike Air Force 1, you wouldn’t be wrong. TPU tape surrounding the base of the shoe dons red MSCHF branding, adding a personal touch to the model (that’s definitely not intended to avoid another lawsuit or anything).
In a conversation with MSCHF, the collective communicated that “the approximate shape of the AF1 has become the platonic ideal of a low-top sneaker. The first thing every brand that’s trying to pivot into sneakers does is make a pseudo-AF1 with a star-tipped lighting bolt, a flag, etc., where the swoosh would normally go. That cultural ubiquity makes it an attractive target for MSCHF to play with. And let’s be honest… it is a bit cathartic for us to launch this particular shoe almost exactly a year after the release of Satan Shoes”. MSCHF are risk-takers, and we have to applaud them for their ballsy approach. Sorry Nike!
Surely at this point, MSCHF have learned their lesson about copyright infringement… right? Wrong. The disruptive collective then jumped straight back into their lawsuit era, this time going head to head with the skating-related powerhouse, Vans. When I first glanced at MSCHFs Wavy Baby model, it reminded me of a messy drawing by a pre-school child. But – if you squint your eyes hard enough (or are aware of the fundamentals that make Vans Old Skool, well, Vans Old Skool) then you may start to draw similarities. Vans were not impressed with the parodic iteration of their best selling style, claiming MSCHF had “shamelessly marketed the Wavy Baby shoe in a direct effort to confuse consumers, unlawfully siphon sales from Vans, and intentionally damage Vans’ valuable intellectual property rights”. Pretty heavy stuff.
In a nutshell, the lawsuit ended in a temporary restraining order and the halt of production. So, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any Vans x MSCHF collabs anytime soon.
No shop link for these ones for obvious reasons. Awkward.
Next up, we have MSCHF’s Super Normal Sneaker. Yes – it bears some resemblance to Nike’s holy grail Air Force 1. But, this time not quite enough to pursue legal action (a W for MSCHF!). Although collaborating with brands like Nike and Vans would have been much more efficient than creating abstract parodies, MSCHF made it very clear that it just isn’t their thing. “The sneaker landscape is so incredibly stale, if we were going to collaborate with a sneaker brand, they’d have to break open a new mold: we’re not just doing a MSCHF colourway”, they stated.
Dressed in a predominantly white build with swirls galore, the sneakers boast a distorted persona. Fun fact – it took rejection from several footwear factories before the Super Normal came into fruition. The silhouette heavily contrasts mass-worn models like the AF1, dripping in complex detailing and streamlined execution. This is exactly what MSCHF intended – opening up commentary regarding Nike’s most widely-produced model and the consumer culture surrounding it. Luckily for the Brooklyn-based art collective, Nike did not comment on the Super Normal model (or sue for that matter). Great news for MSCHF, and those who enjoy artistic sneakers.
They’ve had Lil Nas X, they’ve had Tyga, and now they have… Jimmy Fallon? Yes, you did read that correctly, the next sneaker put out by MSCHF was indeed a collaboration with the late-night TV personality. As per the name, the silhouette takes artistic cues from Gobstopper sweets, revealing a plethora of playful colours as the exterior wears away. After all, sneakers are made to be worn.
The low top silhouette arrives in an off-white suede midsole and upper, with subtle hints of colour seeping through the lining and toe box. After significant amounts of skating, or any physical activity that requires your feet, you’ll notice multi-coloured hues unapologetically revealing themselves. The insole and outsole follow suit, also boasting a deliciously sweet spectrum of colours, almost good enough to eat. The thermal palette is a perfect example of MSCHF’s whimsical nature, reluctant to take themselves too seriously. As per the art collectives influence, the limited quantity of Gopstomper’s sold out immediately. Standard MSCHF procedure.
Perhaps MSCHF’s silliest model to date – we present the AC.1. Maybe you like this shoe. Or maybe you hate it. You might even recognise it from a trip to the hospital. Whatever your opinion on the AC.1, MSCHF fans seemed to love it, even with its steep £405 price point. Adorned with what the collective describes as ‘WowComfy!®’ technology, the shoe might not fix your broken ankle, but it’ll definitely support it. Are we even surprised that MSCHF released this? Absolutely not.
Using Harlem-based fashion innovator Blood Osiris for the AC.1’s campaign, the shoe took the internet by storm with a flurry of both good, and bad responses. Besides the obvious medical aesthetic they’ve got going on, the silhouette arrives adorned with MSCHF branding across elements like the toebox, collar and heel. It’s safe to say that the shoe isn’t for everyone, but that’s exactly what makes it authentically MSCHF. Only the boldest style connoisseurs dare to rock the boot, proving the point that fashion really isn’t as serious as it’s portrayed to be.
Moving swiftly on to the Big Red Boot. Ranked as possibly one of the most internet-breaking fashion moments of 2023 so far, MSCHF broke every fundamental footwear rule with these cartoon inspired boots. After dropping back in February, the shoe was the talk of the town. Even Vogue covered the Astro Boy inspired silhouette. From rappers like Coi Leray and Lil Wayne to the global DJ Diplo, anyone who’s anyone rocked the BRB, only boosting the demand for these marmite shoes. StockX stats even showed a price increase of four times the original retail price in its debut month; with no signs of slowing down until April.
Contemporary fashion culture is driven by trends, consumerism and gimmicks, so it’s no wonder that the Big Red Boot went as crazy as it did. Composed of one bulbous piece of red TPU rubber shell, the shoe speaks for itself, loud and clear. Feeling just as comfortable as it appears, the BRB adopts EVA foam midsoles for extra comfort whilst strolling around the city. Straight out of a manga tv show.
Released back in April of this year, MSCHF decided to push boundaries in a way that’s far more complex than the appearance of the Super Normal. In a model called ‘BWD Shoe’, the art collective subverts the fundamentals of a sneaker to present a shoe that you can wear backwards. It sounds impossible, we know. But we can assure you that MSCHF did, in fact, manage to pull this off, even worn by household names like Donald Glover. With the option of either a sandal-sneaker like silhouette or chunky mule, how you rock these unusual kicks is completely down to you.
The hectic design perfectly encapsulates the persona of the BWD, inspired by conventional skate sneaker silhouettes. Striped patterning sits alongside electric pull tabs and white leather sidewalls. It’s safe to say that these shoes are A LOT… exactly as MSCHF intended. Their models are never going to be straightforward or conventional, and the internet will eat it up every single time. After the indisputable global impact of the Big Red Boot, the need for MSCHF to take things to the next level was apparent. One thing about MSCHF Sneakers, they always deliver.
Ah, Paris Fashion Week ‘23. Fashion brands and designers all over the world work tirelessly to get a spot at event, the perfect opportunity for discovery and discussion. Potentially due to their roguish reputation (or lawsuit skeletons), MSCHF were not invited to Fashion Week. But did that stop them? Nope. Estonian musician TOMM¥ €A$H debuted MSCHF’s latest endeavour at the time, the Big Yellow Boot Crocs collab, at none other than Rick Owens SS24 show. What better way to promote a yellow monstrosity of a shoe than at the hub of contemporary fashion and culture.
It’s no wonder that MSCHF decided to continue the legacy of the Big Red Boot, and even less of a shock that they chose Crocs to make the model just that bit more whacky. A very on-brand choice, to say the least. Following an iconic campaign with everyone’s favourite nepo baby, Paris Hilton, the internet went crazy for these Spongebob-looking shoes. Made up of a singular piece of rubber, enlarged perforations and an unmissable heel strap, the Big Yellow Boot is ridiculously genius. At this point, is there anything that MSCHF can’t market?
MSCHF’s latest footwear venture lies within the second iteration of the broken-limb-inspired AC1. “The MSCHF AC1 limped so the MSCHF AC2 could run”… and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Unlike the AC1, you probably wouldn’t opt for these shoes with a broken ankle, boasting a Mule silhouette that just screams NHS Chic. Seemingly more practical than its Boot predecessor (?), the AC2 can easily slip on for on-the-go shenanigans. A mid-foot strap system, EVA foam and WowComfy!® technology allows for maximum comfort, support and most importantly confidence – which you’ll definitely need if you choose to step out in them. Donned in a humble palette of grey hues with a dash of blue, you can rest assured that you’ll be the coolest person in the hospital – erm – I mean room.
It’s safe to say that MSCHF are in their own lane when it comes to pushing boundaries, and creating entirely new ones. Personally, we can’t get enough. Stay locked on our socials @thedropdate for the latest sneaker updates and drops as and when we have ‘em.
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