Jesus famously walked on water, now the general public can in these new shoes! Brooklyn-based internet studio MSCHF have manufactured “Jesus Shoes”, limited edition footwear which feature soles filled with Holy Water and a golden Jesus on a crucifix serves as a shoelace arm. The water has been sourced from the River Jordan and colored blue for aesthetic reasons.
And if that doesn’t sound respectful enough, then don’t worry… the sneakers have actually been blessed by a priest.
Bible verse Matthew 14:25 – chronicling Jesus’s walk on water – is visible on the design. Fox News also writes about “frankincense-scented insoles, a crucifix threaded through the laces, and a red sole, which references the red shoes traditionally worn by past Popes.”
The overarching religious theme even extends to the box. Depicted on it are an angel and mock Papal seal.
Described as a “collab” between Christ and MSCHF by Head of Commerce David Greenberg to the New York Post, the original run of these shoes started at $1,425 but quickly sold out within minutes. Any available Jesus shoes on the market currently are going for $3,000-4,000 on resale sites! In spite of the hefty price tag they have reportedly all sold out and demand is incredibly high. Less than 2 dozen were produced initially.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 12, 2019
As customized Nike Air Max 97s, the items look familiar. But distance has been put between the global sports brand and this publicity-fuelled move. The Jesus Shoe “is in no way affiliated with Nike” states Fox News.
So what inspired this holiest of heel huggers? MSCHF is based in Brooklyn and was founded by the (surprisingly named) Gabriel Whaley. The shoes are intended to be satirical, poking fun at collaboration culture and making enough to buy a few loaves and fishes in the process.
— Gabriel Whaley (@Gabriel_Whaley) October 8, 2019
Greenberg told the Times, “we wanted to make a statement about how absurd collab culture has gotten”. According to him the project initially started out as a way to raise awareness about how easily swayed consumers are by “collab culture.” A key inspiration was the Arizona Iced Tea/Adidas partnership, that led to a range of colorful sneakers. The team began thinking about “one of the most influential figures in history” and arrived at the Son of God as a perfect candidate.
In order to generate excitement in the run up to release, the studio dispatched some samples to YouTube influencers. The Times reports that rapper A$AP Rocky also received the blessing of holy soles. MSCHF’s strategy paid off and their wares were snapped up. Currently there are no plans to make any more, though for extra fun Whaley has referred to a “second coming”.
This is not the first foray into cultural satire by the organization. Previous MSCHF projects included “Times Newer Roman,” which simply enlarged the letters of the classic font by 5 to 10 percent. It was geared towards students trying to reach their page count on term papers by way of enlarged lettering.
The Bible contains no references to “hypebeasts”, yet these are the target market for such exclusive products. In essence the term describes a fashion-obsessed individual who puts a little too much effort into following trends.
While sneaker designs haven’t gone quite as far as this in terms of making a statement, there are plenty of others that have pushed the boundaries of bad or at least questionable taste. Mental Floss did a rundown of the worst offenders in 2015. The site highlighted the Dada Code Ms, “engineered with a built-in speaker system and MP3 player”. There were also Nike’s Papa Bears, “each sporting distinctive colors and a furry exterior.”
Aside from such oddities as the Converse CT Clear – which treats passers by to the sight of the owner’s feet through a transparent exterior – the most eye-catching was arguably the “Burger Shoe”, a product of Saucony Shadow 5000.
“The sneaker itself is designed to resemble a hamburger,” Mental Floss writes, “with red (ketchup), tan (bun), yellow (mustard), and green (lettuce) colors, and the laces come in condiment packaging.” The irony of making an item geared towards fitness resemble a cholesterol-packed meal was surely not lost on purchasers.
Speaking of diets, MSCHF are showcasing multiples videos of a man consuming various types of food. Guess he’ll need the Jesus Shoes to jog his way back to health afterwards!
The studio’s antics are no doubt unpalatable to some. For others it’s refreshing to see a company that refuses to toe the line.