The Oldest Shoe!

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, look what the archeologist dragged in

Oldest Leather Shoes Ever Found.  From Armenia!

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!

We continue…

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.


8 Responses to “The Oldest Shoe!”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Manolo, your war against the Birkinstock has colored your otherwise astute judgment. This is a heinous-looking shoe, in no way better-looking even than the Iceman’s sad slip ons. This looks like tripe. It would keep your feets from freezing off and thorn-free, but as to turning the heads of the local Flintstones, I say it’s still a thumbs down. I am glad I did not spend my time on earth then; where would I have gotten sequins?

  2. Dani Says:

    Wow! These are even older than the ones in the back of my husband’s closet!

  3. larkspur Says:

    I think this shoe is so cool!! it really looks like a shoe! And I bet it was comfortable if made for the owner’s foot. the amazing thing is that anyone could tell it was a shoe. When i see those stone axes, and someone says “see, clearly this is an axe and not a knife!” all I see is a rock that got dropped on the ground and is missing a chip or too. This is clearly a shoe, made out of the same thing that we make shoes out of now – cowhide!

    I’m very curious to see whether a reference to this shows up in the Maestro’s next collection – laced up the front and back – I think it could be delightful (with a 4 inch heel, of course).

  4. primigi Says:

    A healthy body needs a good shoe, meaning you have to wear shoes for you. I think a good pair of shoes as my faithful friend, so I always find the most suitable and favorite shoes, if you agree with my view…

  5. The Left Shoe Says:

    Some people and civilizations remain alive on the basis of their creative art or efforts they put to live better , who were they we don’t know but this shoe shows their desire that their feet should be protected in a fashionable way.

  6. Phyllis Says:

    Given the post above this one I wonder if the grass inside was a prehistoric Odor-Eater

  7. jerry chen Says:

    The oldest shoe!i can’t belive that is a shoe when i see the picture .it is around 5500 years old,and still can discern that is a shoe, it mean that the qualith is high!i know it is made by aminal leather.Our ancestors are really smart!!

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Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO®, BlAHNIK® or MANOlO BlAHNIK®, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.

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