Footwear and its place in the Catholic church

The devil wears Prada as the famous movie states. Rumors say that popes wear Prada, too. But is it true?

The old rumor stated that pope Benedict XVI wore Prada shoes. Rumors fueled gossip. People talked and discussed that at great lengths. However, it turned out that the rumor was fake. No matter how great the pope bright red leather slippers looked, they were not Prada’s. In fact, the pope’s cobbler made them.

The different popes have different twists on the color of their slippers/shoes. Let’s see the recent history of papal shoes.

Pope John Paul II

He wasn’t much concerned about his shoes up until he fell ill in 2002. His cobbler Adriano Stefaneli undertook the task to make the pope at least a bit more comfortable. And then made a business out of the task. He designed the famous red papal shoes we are so much addicted to seeing adorning the pope’s feet. The bright red slippers are made of the finest nappa leather. They are made for walking and are quite comfortable. After all the elderly Holy Father has to walk a lot. The think pope John Paul II changed was the color – he opted for the simple brown instead of the ruby red.

Pope Benedict XVI

The pope who fueled the rumors actually was the one to turn back to the old tradition of wearing red slippers. Stefanelly jumped on the opportunity and presented the pope with a fine shoe creation – ruby red slippers for his public audience in Sept 2005. Those were the unfortunate slippers that fueled the prada/devil rumors.

It looks like Stefanelly’s slippers were extremely comfortable. The holy fathers are men of age, usually with many ailments and conditions, but have to walk on hard surfaces most of the time. That reason prompted the businessman to make proper slippers for hardwood floors and hard tiles that will alleviate the pain in the feet and prevent slipping.

Pope Francis I

The current leader of the Catholic Church is a strong advocate for the poor. He wore plain black shoes on his very first papal mess. His passion to simple life might have cut the strong connections the shoemaker had with the popes. Who makes the papal footwear remains a mystery. His shoes are not stunning or breathtaking. No longer anyone speculates about fashion brands and ultra-expensive footwear. The holy father has eyes for the simplest of things and prefers more ordinary soles.