MSCHF fears nothing, not even the courts. At this point, the Brooklyn-based art collective is more familiar than most with the U.S. legal system. It’s been sued by Nike and Vans for cutting its sneakers a little close to other popular models on the market. Not to be deterred, MSCHF is gearing up to release a Nike Air Force 1 dupe called the Super Normal Sneaker.
Normal is overrated — The shoe isn’t as outlandish as the controversial Wavy Baby, MSCHF’s warped version of the Vans Old Skool that drew a lawsuit, but it does implement some wavy details into the design. A curved tongue and swirled leather overlays give it that kaleidoscopic effect, and the laces are designed at an angle to make the sneaker appear off-center.
Nike’s ever-popular Air Force 1 can be recognized by almost anyone at this point, sneakerhead or otherwise, so it’s easy to draw a distinction between the two. The most obvious Air Force 1 element comes from the identical outsole, but up top, it’s still clear which silhouette MSCHF is borrowing from.
MSCHF burst into the spotlight with a custom Nike Air Max 97 “Satan Shoe” with Lil Nas X that resulted in a settlement, and, later, a TAP-3 sneaker also borrowed heavily from the Air Force 1. Aside from the TAP-3, MSCHF has put its own branding on the back burner — confusing people on the market to think the dupes actually came from Nike and Vans — and gotten itself into legal trouble.
MSCHF was a little more careful with its branding this time, however, as the Super Normal’s tongue and curved silver dubrae have a clear nod to the collective’s name. At the heel, you’ll find its signature “!!!” logo, and the midsole features more MSCHF branding.
Legal matters — A lawsuit is almost sure to follow, with Nike being hawkish in court in recent years. The company is currently involved in multiple lawsuits, including one with John Geiger and StockX. MSCHF’s co-founder Daniel Greenberg is no dummy, though — he has admitted with previous releases that he’s aware of how strikingly similar MSCHF sneakers can be to other brands’ pairs. “Standard shoe industry practice is: steal a sole, steal an upper, change a symbol,” he said in a statement about the Wavy Baby.
As of now, MSCHF’s Super Normal sneaker is set to release on June 23 for $145. It’ll drop exclusively from the collective’s sneaker app — if the courts don’t step in first. Then again, you can’t have a name like MSCHF and not stir up a little trouble.