The origin of the shoey: How it started & why

Tai Tuivasa made the shoey popular to UFC fans, but what's the history behind the disgusting tradition?

Tai Tuivasa does a shoey
Tai Tuivasa does a shoey / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Fans of the UFC will know immediately what a Shoey is. Tai Tuivasa popularized it for modern MMA fans but we all know he wasn't the one who created the iconic post-win celebration.

A shoey is pretty basic. It's when someone drinks a beverage (usually beer) from a shoe. Yes, it's incredibly disgusting and messy but that's kind of the point. Typically a shoey is done in celebration of something. Tuivasa typically does a shoey after a win.

He does it so often that the UFC made a three minute compilation of him doing the shoey in the cage.

One of the more memorable shoey moments came when he knocked out Greg Hardy at UFC 264 in 2021. The MMA world was behind Tuivasa having been bonded over the general hatred for Hardy.

Sometimes he will even do the shoey with fans or his opponent.

One time that tradition backfired when he accepted a shoey from a fan in the crowd who'd mixed hot sauce with the beer. That's taking nasty to a whole new level.

Need some last minute inspiration for your New Year's Eve plans? Tai Tuivasa has you covered! 🍻👟

Posted by UFC on Thursday, December 30, 2021

How did the shoey start?

It's difficult to trace the showy back to the first time it was ever done but it was thought to have derived from a practice in the early 20th century. Drinking champagne from a lady's slipper became a symbol of "decadence" during that time after someone in the Prince of Prussia's entourage picked up the slipper of a dancer at the Everleigh Club (a high-class brothel) and drank from it.

Some think the practice stemmed from a hazing ritual in the German army. Soldiers would drink from the boot of their general when they won a battle or drink from a boot before war as a sign of good luck. This is also why its tradion to drink beer in Germany from boot shaped glasses, called Bierstiefel.

Some trace the shoey back even to ancient times due to ancient Islamic hadiths depicting people offering water to animals in their shoes.

One thing we do know is that the tradition is very popular in Australia, where Tuivasa resides.

Lots of celebrities have done shoeys

Many Australian celebrities have done the shoey. It's a common practice with motorsports, though they tend to drink Champagne and not beer, like Tuivasa. In 2020 Lewis Hamilton drank champagne out of Daniel Ricciardo's shoes.

But even some mainstream celebrities have taken to doing a shoey. In 2023, Harry Styles did one during his concert in Perth, Western Australia. Post Malone set a record for doing the most shoey's in 2023 during a concert in Brisbane, Australia and Lizzo drank tequila from her shoe during a 2023 concert in Sydney.

Unfortunately, it didn't seem like Styles enjoyed himself. He was quoted as saying, "This is one of the most disgusting traditions I’ve ever heard of," after the act was over.

We'll see if Tuivasa does another shoey on Saturday when he takes on Marcin Tybura in the main event at UFC Vegas 88. We talked to Tybura about the tradition and asked if he'd do a shoey with Tuivasa after the fight and he didn't seem keen on the idea, unless it was from a brand new shoe. We'll have to wait and see.