The Australian Drinking Tradition That Involves A Shoe

There is no shortage of drinking traditions around the world, from saying cheers (or its equivalent in different languages) and clinking glasses to drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day (in the U.S. at least). But one of the more unusual drinking traditions called a shoey comes from Australia and involves a shoe.

A shoey involves drinking a beverage, typically alcoholic and typically quickly in one go, out of a shoe. The shoe could be yours or it could be someone else's. And the beverage could be anything alcoholic, though it's usually beer or, in some circles, champagne. It's not settled when or how this drinking tradition became so popular in Australia, though there are a few theories.

Some credit twin brothers and surfers Dean and Shaun Harrington (and founders of the surf brand The Mad Hueys), who were doing shoeys with beer in 2002, popularizing the trend. Others say it was Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, who started his own tradition of celebratory shoeys with champagne on the podium.

A growing trend

Shoeys have become so popular in racing circles that Formula One trademarked the term "shoey" in 2017 for items like flasks, glasses, bottles, and mugs. Because there was already a trademark owned by a relative of the Harringtons for clothing, Formula One was not able to include clothes in their request. During the Formula One Grand Prix in Las Vegas in November 2023, MGM Resorts even offered a Shoey Bar, which served cocktails from MGM-branded driving shoes. But shoeys are not limited to just Formula One and racing. They've made appearances in other sports as well, including cricket, golf, running, and MMA. 

They're also big in music circles. What was once a staple of the Australian punk music scene has now gone mainstream, with a growing list of famous musicians that have done a shoey (usually in response to crowd requests at a show in Australia) that now includes Post Malone (who does one regularly during his Australian shows), Machine Gun Kelly, Luke Bryan, Maisie Peters, Kasey Musgraves (who drank tequila out of a glass slipper), and Stormzy. Harry Styles, who did a shoey during a show in Perth after refusing one at earlier shows, called it "one of the most disgusting traditions I've ever heard of." A shoey may not be for everybody, but it sure makes for some interesting footage (pun intended).