What is the ‘red shoe club’? Bizarre Hollywood conspiracy explored

Bruno Cooke

A bizarre and far-fetched conspiracy theory claims that certain members of the British royal family and Hollywood elite are part of a “red shoe club” – what is it and when did the theory first gain what little traction it has?

WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature ahead

Other supposed entities that have come up in connection to the supposed conspiracy include the “Ninth Circle” and “Noahide World Order.”

Ninth Circle is the name of a fictional terrorist organization in the Arrowverse, an American superhero media franchise.

Noahidism, meanwhile, is a monotheistic Jewish religious movement. It’s based on the Seven Laws of Noah. Theories of a Noahide World Order, however, also lack evidence.

Red ankle boots
Women’s shoes

What is the meaning behind the ‘red shoe club’ conspiracy theory?

Believers claim that members of the British royal family and Hollywood elite belong to a “red shoe club.”

Members supposedly engage in a whole host of activities including kidnapping and trafficking – and that’s not the worst of it. Again, it’s worth stressing that the so-called “club” is a baseless conspiracy theory. There is no evidence that such a club exists.

However, according to the theory, members identify themselves by wearing red shoes. Hence the name of the club of which they are supposedly a part.

The shoes supposedly consist of human leather. This in turn changes how proponents of the theory contextualize the question, “Who are you wearing?” which reporters often ask celebrities at red carpet events.

"The Sea Of Trees" Premiere - The 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images,,

What are its origins?

Images purporting to relate to the unfounded “red shoe club” conspiracy theory appear to date back to at least 2020.

Reddit user u/KiLlEr10312 opened up a thread on the topic on Friday, July 17, 2020. They wrote that they’d been “seeing this on my feed,” and that they were “not sure what’s going on here.”

They posted a link to an image of what appears to be a screenshot from a social media site containing a photograph of 18 or so suited individuals all wearing red shoes.

“You think Wayfair is bad?” reads the accompanying text. “Wait until people start waking up to what this picture means.” Note: There is no evidence that “what this picture means” is that they are part of a club whose members identify themselves by wearing red, human leather brogues.

What is the ‘Wayfair’ conspiracy?

According to a BBC report from July 15, 2020 (two days before the Reddit forum mentioned above), the so-called “Wayfair conspiracy theory” originated on June 14 that year.

The theory held that there is a connection between the high prices of storage cabinets sold by online retailer Wayfair and the fact that the cabinets are listed with “girls’ names.”

Wayfair Opens First Brick-And-Mortar Store
Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Proponents of the theory apparently believe – or believed, as the theory is no longer popular – that the pieces of furniture “actually had children hidden in them.”

Wayfair defended its prices, saying the cabinets are “industrial size.” It also told the BBC that it uses an algorithm to name its products and that it is not alone in using first names to brand its products.

A spokesperson told the BBC: “We have temporarily removed the products from our site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point.”

Do Hollywood elites really like to wear red shoes more than anyone else?

A Financial Times feature on Fantasy, Fetish and the Red Shoe from June 5, 2015 (nine days before the Wayfair conspiracy originated), unpacks the mythos of red shoes.

“Shoes in fairy tales punish and reward, elevate and entrap, speed and hinder,” writes Hilary Davidson. “They are motifs for childhood innocence and protection — yet certain footwear also has potent erotic connotations. None more so than when the shoes are red.”

There is a podcast on Audible and Apple Podcasts about the popularity of red shoes among “Hollywood elites.”

And Vogue wrote in 2019 about the “enduring power” and “surprisingly dark symbolism” of red shoes. The article notes the popularity of red shoes on AW19 runways – from Prada and Victoria Beckham to Simone Rocha and Hellessy – but it doesn’t provide any basis on which to found a conspiracy theory.

American Horror Stories | Installment 2 Official Trailer | FX

American Horror Stories | Installment 2 Official Trailer | FX

A Google search for a “red shoe club” will also return results relating to the Los Angeles Red Shoe Society, a nonprofit that works with seriously ill children.

It has nothing to do with the baseless conspiracy theory, although members do identify themselves by wearing red T-shirts.

Conspiracy theories often focus on members of royal families and Hollywood elites; the “red shoe club” is not original in this regard. Nor is the allure of red shoes anything new. For more “absolutely bonkers” conspiracy theories involving the UK royal family, read Harpers Bazaar’s list of 32, here.