Manolo says, look what the archeologist dragged in…
It is the oldest leather shoe ever discovered! Recently found in the Armenian cave, it is around 5500 years old, and is approximately be the ladies size seven.
And now, the National Geographic magazine shows why it is still the best periodical in the world, by presenting the wisdom of the worlds greatest scientific experts.
A Manolo Blahnik it isn’t.
Still, the world’s oldest known leather shoe, revealed Wednesday, struck one of the world’s best known shoe designers as shockingly au courant. “It is astonishing,” Blahnik said via email, “how much this shoe resembles a modern shoe!”
Take that Scientific American! You may keep your radio-carbon dating gizmos and jargon-spouting archeology professors, for the National Geographic has lead their story with the quotation from the Maestro di Tutti Maestri, Manolo Blahnik!
Stuffed with grass, perhaps as an insulator or an early shoe tree, the 5,500-year-old moccasin-like shoe was found exceptionally well preserved—thanks to a surfeit of sheep dung—during a recent dig in an Armenian cave.
About as big as a current women’s size seven (U.S.), the shoe was likely tailor-made for the right foot of its owner, who could have been a man or a woman—not enough is known about Armenian feet of the era to say for sure.
Made from a single piece of cowhide—a technique that draws premium prices for modern shoes under the designation “whole cut”—the shoe is laced along seams at the front and back, with a leather cord.
The end result looks surprisingly familiar for something so ancient—and not just to Blahnik.
“It immediately struck me as very similar to a traditional form of Balkan footwear known as the opanke, which is still worn as a part of regional dress at festivals today,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, a curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada.
And, the Manolo must note, it is substantially better looking than the last oldest shoe, Otzi the Iceman’s prehistoric Birkenstocks.
P.S. Many thanks to all of the Manolo’s internet friends who alerted him to this story.