Perth nightclub Bar1 enforces controversial ban on 'red shoes' in bid to stop troublemakers

Photo of Bar1 nightclub with the red shoe they used to illustrate their post
According to the post, the ban will come into effect on February 1 and will prohibit patrons from entering the club if they are wearing "red shoes". Photo credit: Bar1 / Facebook

A popular nightclub in Perth has bemused the internet with a controversial ban on red footwear, arguing that red shoes are a 'red flag' for patrons. Yes, you read that correctly. 

The venue, Bar1, confirmed the ban in a post to its Facebook on Sunday evening, writing, "Yes, we are serious" alongside an image of a red high-top sneaker to illustrate. 

According to the post, the ban will come into effect on February 1 and will prohibit patrons from entering the club if they are wearing "red shoes" - in a bid to stamp out bad behaviour. 

Although the ban has prompted widespread hilarity on social media, the move has also ruffled a few feathers. In an interview with local radio station 6PR, Bar1 owner Malcolm Pages said the aim was to keep out a "certain style of person", suggesting punters who donned red footwear were more likely to be troublemakers. 

In the interview, Pages went on to describe the type of person targeted by the ban as a "tough guy" with an "attitude". 

"It's more a certain element of a person which has red Nikes or red ASICs or red New Balance to match with a big, thick chain and a certain shirt," he explained.

"It's a little bit eshay. It's also a little bit Aussie local suburban hero and every pub, nightclub, bar, security person and police officer will tell you... the local hero certainly wears a certain style of clothing.

"Unfortunately, when these people are dealt with or refused entry or they've been asked to leave, a large percentage of the time they have red shoes on."

For the uninitiated, eshays - also referred to as lads - are an Australian youth subculture often affiliated with crime and anti-social behaviour, typically originating from low-income areas in Sydney and Melbourne. Eshays tend to use slang derived from Pig Latin and favour branded sportswear - think polo shirts, sports shorts, trackies, bumbags and speed dealer sunglasses, usually of the Tommy Hilfiger or Nike variety. 

The venue's post, which has amassed more than 1000 comments at the time of writing, has proved controversial. While some have defended Pages' decision, others have taken offence at being stereotyped or profiled for their choice in footwear. The rule has also come under fire for being ineffective, with many noting that eshays or troublemakers will continue to enter the club undeterred - just in different shoes.  

"For those who don’t know why or are in question, I suggest you walk through Rockingham and Kwinana for a day and tell me what shoes the people picking up bumpers and breaking into cars are wearing. DON'T TRY TO TELL ME THEY AREN'T RED," said one man, backing the ban. "I’ve got a pair of all-red Air Maxes up on [Facebook] Marketplace that were worn once and never again. Trust me, this is the right thing to do."

"Red shoes, red flag," a woman agreed, with another adding: "Cut off the head of the snake, ban the rat's tail next."

Others have branded the new rule "stupid" and "ridiculous", with a number of people calling out the club for encouraging discriminatory practices.

"Is this all red shoes… or a particular brand? Complete discrimination and profiling!" one responded, with a second adding: "Yep. Only people wearing red shoes cause problems. Ridiculous."

"That sounds like a typical WA rule," another said, with a fourth weighing in: "There goes half your customers Bar1."

"What did red shoes ever do to them? They are just shoes," another wondered.