November 13, 2019
Caleb Heaton | MediaWise Teen Fact-Checker

Editor’s note: YouTube personality Seth Fowler has removed the video on which this claim is based. We have reached out to Fowler for comment.

MediaWise Rating: LEGIT

A YouTube video posted by Seth Fowler on Oct. 8 highlights a newly released pair of Nike Airmax shoes. Fowler says the retail price of these shoes is around $1,500 and allegedly have holy water from the Jordan River in the soles. The shoes are designed with a crucifix and the Bible verse Matthew 14:25. This claim about holy water in the soles of shoes seemed sort of suspicious, so we did some investigating.

Who is behind the information?

Seth Fowler is a YouTube content creator who makes videos about all things to do with shoes. He has approximately half of a million subscribers on YouTube. According to his about page, Fowler is an industrial designer and sneaker enthusiast. For his 526,000 followers, Fowler designs, reviews and unboxes sneakers. His channel is verified and he has been making YouTube videos since January of 2016. Seems like he knows what he’s talking about — but let’s dig a little deeper.

Do a keyword search

I did a keyword search for “Jesus shoes” and figured out the name of the company selling the shoes: MSCHF. MSCHF has created other odd products, including the new font Times Newer Roman — which is slightly bigger than its namesake to help students fill pages in research papers — and a plug-in that makes Wikipedia look less like an unofficial source, according to a CBS News article. MSCHF appears to sell satirical products, so we still have some more investigating to do.

Go to the original source

MSCHF claims the shoes let you walk on water. While they do not let you stand on water as Jesus did in the story from the Bible, the shoes do contain water in the air pocket. The company said that the water is collected from the Jordan River near Israel. MSCHF also says the company ships the water to Brooklyn and it is blessed by a priest then added to the soles of the sneakers. We should check with another legitimate news source to see if that source has confirmed all of this.

See what other sources are saying

Yahoo! Lifestyle, a Huffington Post publication, interviewed the company’s head of commerce, Daniel Greenberg, about the product. He explained that a friend in Israel transported some water from the Jordan River to the United States. and the priest blessed the water at the company’s office. “He didn’t have any issue with it, but sort of laughed at our weird request,” Greenberg said.

The New York Post also interviewed Greenberg, who explained the idea behind the shoes was as satirical as the other products the company has released.

Our rating

As far-fetched as these shoes seem, news outlets have reported that the company MSCHF did indeed release shoes with holy water from Israel in the soles. And the few pairs they made have sold for nearly $4,000. It’s a satirical product, but the facts are that it is LEGIT. Just don’t get your hopes up if you want to get your hands on these blessed shoes.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has…
Alex Mahadevan

More News

Back to News