It’s an old cliché: Someone is so poor or hungry that they resort to eating their own shoe. Whether anyone has ever done this to fend off hunger is open to debate, but the concept definitely took off thanks to 1925’s silent comedy The Gold Rush, in which Charlie Chaplin daintily boils, plates, filets, serves, and eats a shoe, even twirling up the laces on his fork like spaghetti (seriously, you should watch the scene if you haven’t, it’s hilarious). But the odds that Chaplin and co-star Mack Swain are actually eating a real shoe are slim to none; it looks a lot more like licorice than leather. Has anyone actually eaten a real shoe? Yes, in fact: These people did.
In 1980, German filmmaker Werner Herzog lost a bet to his friend Errol Morris and ate his own shoe, after cooking it with a little help from none other than chef Alice Waters, at her restaurant Chez Panisse. The whole event was turned into a short film, appropriately titled “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.”
This guy, who’s known for eating some dumb things and uploading them to YouTube, bought a fancy shoe, braised it with some vegetables, then proceeded to eat some of it. He doesn’t seem to enjoy the experience.
This YouTube guy boils his shoes and actually manages to choke most of them down. We'd probably advise choosing to eat a leather shoe over a cloth one, though.
A Portland Trailblazers fan named Josh Thatcher made a bet that if guard Damian Lillard didn’t make it to the Western Conference All-Star roster earlier this year, he would eat a shoe. Lillard didn’t make it, so Thatcher bought a child-size shoe at a Goodwill store, boiled it, put it in a blender, and drank it down as part of a smoothie. Alright, then.
Sammy here only manages to eat hot sauce off of a shoe and gnaw on the shoelace, but A for effort, we guess. That shoe looks gross.