Can You Actually Open A Wine Bottle With A Shoe?

We have all been there: You are looking forward to relaxing alone or with friends and opening a bottle of wine when you have the gut-wrenching realization that there is no corkscrew to be found. You frantically dig through every drawer, hoping for a miracle but knowing deep inside that you are just chasing a ghost. Desperation turns into anger, which then becomes self-loathing apathy, knowing that your evening will no longer involve that special pinot noir taste. But wait — before you turn to a pint of ice cream to fill the void, know there is an alternative way to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew and salvage your evening!

Believe it or not, our shoes can be used as a helpful tool to open a bottle of wine. And the beauty of it is that our shoes are always either on us or nearby. This trick requires equal parts muscle and brains to pull off; like most things, it will improve with practice.

Be sure to use a solid, sturdy shoe

Before opening wine with a shoe, you must remove the bottle's foil, allowing the cork to be exposed. Southern Living explains to place the bottle upright in the shoe, so the bottom sits on the heel. Now find a sturdy wall (preferably outside in case the bottle breaks), and while holding the neck of the bottle with one hand and the toe of the shoe with the other, hit the heel of the shoe against the wall until the cork begins to pop out. Reports vary, with some claiming success with only 10 bangs against the wall, while others swearing it turns into quite the workout. When the cork juts out enough to grab it with your hand, twist it out of the bottle. You can always use pliers if necessary.

You should use a sturdy shoe like a men's dress shoe or boot, and according to NPR, avoid using a running shoe because it has too much cushion and will absorb the impact needed to pop the cork up. High heels are unlikely to work, as the striking angle will not be direct, and the bottle needs to be perpendicular to the wall for this to work.

The physics behind this method makes sense: James Wallace, an engineer who studies fluid dynamics, tells us that since the liquid is not free-flowing in the bottle, it acts more like a solid and thus allows the force to transmit to the cork.

A word to the wise

While this technique has set off an internet frenzy, the method is by no means a guarantee for success or your safety (via YouTube). You run the risk of the bottle breaking into glass shards as you firmly hold it and hit it against the wall. NPR tells us that after testing the method by banging their wine bottle against a wall for some time, the trick worked — but at a sore cost. Even the comments on their post have said, "They've tried this technique in the past and suffered injuries as a result." Furthermore, they noted if your wine's cork is made of plastic, there's no chance of it being removed.

While it can be useful, there are alternative hacks to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew that might be safer and more effective: pushing the cork inward or even using a lighter to heat the glass below the cork so the hot air forces it out.

If you are truly desperate and choose the shoe method to open your bottle, make sure to err on the side of caution. If you are still banging on the wall after 10 minutes with no success, drop the darn shoe and buy a corkscrew at a nearby liquor store.