How MSCHF’s Big Red Boot Broke The Internet

February 17, 2023 by Joey Birch

How MSCHF’s Big Red Boot Broke The Internet

MSCHF’s profound ability to remain front and centre on our timelines is admirable. While their latest project isn't causing mass controversy or garnering lawsuits from the biggest brands in the industry, it has been able to act as another flash in the pan within the fast-paced, eclectic, world that is now social media and the internet.

After breaking onto the scene in 2019 with the ‘Jesus Shoe’, an intriguing rendition of the Nike Air Max 97 which featured holy water within in the midsole, the art collective went on to create a highly controversial ‘Satan Shoe’ in 2021, again modelled after the Air Max 97, which was said to feature real blood from creators at MSCHF and featured various satanic iconography which garnered a lawsuit from Nike. 

A slue of additional products made by MSCHF can be found on their website ranging from a blurred stack of money and a video game named ‘Chair Simulator’ as well as a collaboration with Birkenstock. 

Despite creating a myriad of weird and wonderful inventions and projects, the Brooklyn-based art collective is best known for the controversial footwear they create. In addition to the aforementioned ‘Satan Shoe’, the collective was in the headlines once again in 2022 with a lawsuit courtesy of Vans after the release of their ‘Wavy Baby’ sneakers which took clear inspiration from the Vans Old Skool. 

Shortly after the case was resolved in Vans’ favour, with MSCHF having a cease and desist placed upon them, they returned with the ‘Totally Normal’ sneaker, a shoe that looked eerily similar to the Nike Air Force 1

Luckily, a second lawsuit from the Swoosh wasn’t launched. But questions were being asked about the ethics behind MSCHF and at what point does the line get drawn between art and copying a patented product? A conversation that has been especially relevant during the recent Nike lawsuit against BAPE.

Following the questionable Air Force 1-inspired sneaker, the art collective under their ‘MSCHF Sneakers' sub-brand, released their next mind-bending project, the 'Gobstomper'. Working alongside Jimmy Fallon, the multilayered sneaker was, as the name suggests, inspired by the gobstopper sweet allowing the wearer to wear the sneakers down over time displaying different colours. Making products with practicality in mind isn’t MSCHF’s motive. Instead, it’s breaking the internet. When the Jimmy Fallon Gobstomper was released it felt that it was the only sneaker we saw on our timelines, perhaps a response to the sense of sluggishness within sneaker culture as a result of the sudden surge of popularity and brands continuing to push the same silhouettes in different colourways. 

Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see the brand move towards creating a product that didn’t take inspiration from an already-released one. 

Back in 2019, it felt as if MSCHF had already reached its peak before it had even begun with the release of the Jesus and Satan sneakers. However, this time they have not only been able to push the envelope of avant-garde artistic projects, but they have completely redefined what was once known to be possible. Of course, we’re alluding to *those red boots*. 

First seen being donned by model and social media influencer Sarah Snyder, the Big Red Boots are exactly as the name suggests - a big pair of red rubber boots similar to that of the 90s cartoon character Astro Boy. Boldbuss, questionable and eye-catching; the Big Red Boot speaks for itself. Circulated to several high-calibre celebrities, including Lil Wayne, Diplo and Coi Leray all of whom showed it off during big performances. As the days pass, more and more iconic moments are being created featuring the Boots from fashion week appearances to WWE wrestler Seth Rollins bringing them to the Royal Rumble. 

MSCHF’s marketing tactics are quintessential's Gen Z, internet culture blended with clever PR. Harnessing the power of social media with a range of memes and pop-cultural moments, they’ve been able to break the internet with the sneaker permeating into mainstream news. 

The Big Red Boot is at its core an answer to the overly serious, and highly competitive, sneaker industry. “The aesthetic overton window continues to stretch open towards the unreal” the product description on the brand's website reads, “the continued blending of virtual and IRL aesthetics has us chasing supernormal stimuli.”

MSCHF’s second foray in creating a boot, following their AC.1 shoe which was effectively a hospital shoe, has caught some flack for the $350 RRP price. However, this is with good reason, in an interview with Highsnobiety, MSCHF’s co-founder Daniel Greenberg said: "From a technical perspective, the BRB pushes the envelope of its single-mould-shell design, simply because it is really large…it’s shot in a much higher quality material and process than, say, a rain boot, or other thin-walled low-cost boots."

Previous MSCHF projects have acted as a flash in the pan within the fast-paced, social media fueled zeitgeist they find themselves in. However, it feels like there’s something different about Big Red Boots. They’re undoubtedly divisive, but at the same time, they’ve caused such an intriguing trend which in turn has sparked the conversation around what is considered conventional footwear. Could they have a lasting effect? Time will tell. 

However, it’s almost guaranteed that MSCHF will be back with another abstract project within the coming weeks. 

For the latest on MSCHF, keep it Kick Game.