Suicide Sneaker: The Heaven’s Gate Nikes

don’t just do it

An interesting little article in Newsweek about Nike’s Decade sneaker—made infamous by being the footwear of choice for the suicidal Heaven’s Gate cult members:

What’s the proper dress code for a mass suicide? Obviously, the occasion calls for some level of formality, but one doesn’t want to overdress. It’s a death ritual, not a fashion show.

Twenty years ago, the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult chose health goth. Considering the current athleisure trend, it was a remarkably fashion-forward choice. When the bodies of 39 members were found in a suburban mansion in San Diego, they were wearing matching outfits: heads shaved, bodies covered in purple shrouds, black shirts and sweatpants, patches reading “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” and black-and-white Nike Decade sneakers.

Not surprisingly, the connection was absolutely a shit PR situation for the Decade, and Nike has never put out an official “retro” version of it since its Nineties release. But they’ve apparently become quite the collector’s item on eBay.

As for why the HG cult picked the rather nondescript black sneaker design, it was probably like everything else they did (outside the occasional castrations)—because it was damn practical. Black sneakers…they match with everything.