Best in Shoe
June 10 2010 5:52 AM EST
July 19 2017 5:47 AM EST
Photo courtesy of BBC
If the fashion world has a Holy Grail, this must surely be it: the discovery by archaeologists in Armenia of the world's oldest leather show. Now, by old we don't mean those Balenciaga boots you paid a fortune for three years ago and are determined to wear to death. We mean seriously old -- like, way back when Sex and the City was still funny. We're talking 5,500 years, which in fashion years is at least a million B.C.
The shoe was made from a single piece of cowhide leather, and shaped to fit the intended wearer's foot (even back in the day, custom was the way to go). They survived not by being in a nice box in a primitive closet, but by being submerged in a protective layer of sheep dung in a cave and stuffed with grass.
Whether this was to keep the wearer's foot dry and warm or to preserve the shape of the shoe, isn't clear. It measures around US women's size 7, but given people were smaller then from their diet (possibly spending money on shoes that they should have spent on food) it's quite possibly a man's.
And yes, we know that sandals pre-dating this nice shoe by 2,500 years were found in Missouri (and no, not still being worn by a local), but those were made from plant fibres, and a huge developmental and fashion leap behind the shoe.