Do You Have It in a Six and a Half?

5,500 year-old shoe found in Armenian cave


“The right-footed shoe–which looks a bit like a baked potato–has some features that might entice even modern buyers: for one, its maker fashioned it from a single piece of cow leather (like a pricey pair of today’s “whole cut” footwear), and it has leather laces. It’s about a women’s size seven, but, researchers say, it might have graced a small-footed man.             

The shoe was discovered by Armenian PhD student, Ms Diana Zardaryan, of the Institute of Archaeology, Armenia, in a pit that also included a broken pot and sheep’s horns. “I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved,” she recalled.

Scientists determined the shoe’s age by cutting two small samples of the leather and sending it to radioactive dating centers at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and the University of California–Irvine Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility. Others have discovered older sandals–the oldest are about 7,000 to 7,500 years old and were found in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri–but this is the oldest full shoe ever discovered.

Fashion shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik, was impressed by how much the shoe looked like today’s models. He suspects that even 5,500 years ago, wearers wanted to look chic:

“The shoe’s function was obviously to protect the foot, but I am in no doubt that a certain appearance of a shoe meant belonging to a particular tribe,” Blahnik said. “I am sure it was part of the outfit which a specific tribe wore to distinguish their identity from another.”

Compare this shoe to the torturous footwear being promoted in the fashion world today.  I think I like the 5,500 year-old style the best.  The grass lining might be kind of comfy.  Like an early Dr. Scholl’s gel insole. 

What say you?

9 thoughts on “Do You Have It in a Six and a Half?

  1. So glad you wrote this! I saw a mother and her young teen daughter in the shoe dept. today and the girl was trying on shoes with heels at least that high.


    (I left and went to The Walking Store and bought some sandals that would have made the mother & daughter divas toss their carrot sticks.)


  2. I saw a so-called expert on running (actually, she was a doctor) stating that the best way to build leg muscles is to run in high heels. Whaaat? That’s just nutso! Most women that I know who tried that would twist their ankle or break a bone!


  3. the grass shoe would definitely be better for the feet, but wouldn’t look very good with some of my “costumes”. i like the stilettos, but they are NOT for walking!


  4. Thanks to all of you for your comments! I recently read a book that gave a graphic description of how Chinese women’s feet were bound to keep them tiny. Compared to that, stilettos look like orthopedic clodhoppers! The standards for beauty sure do vary from culture to culture…


  5. I threw my bra and girdle away in 1970 (the bra came back pretty quick but the girdle, never) and tossed my then-fashionable chunky heels for Earth Shoes. A couple of years later, we were gathering in Women’s Lib Consciousness Raising Groups, lining up three times around the block for a tank of gas, and swearing never again to liberate a foreign country from its own people. I hope to be forgiven for having those things all glommed together in my head. Would somebody please explain to me how we could have forgotten ALL of that so quickly? Now, even the shoes have to be relearned the hard way.

    Wow, I didn’t start out to write such a heavy comment! Ask me how I really feel about it.


  6. I don’t know. You probably couldn’t run away from a sabre-toothed tiger in some of those Stuart Weitzmans but if you were cornered you could probably hold your own by kicking it to death with the spikes.


  7. The young dears wearing those shoes may feel bulletproof today, but they will pay. Oh, will they pay! I ran all over NYC in hells for 20 years. I wore a girdle over the best body I ever had in my life.

    We are, as evidenced by our stupidity, doomed – to hammertoes at least!


    • I hear ya, Moe. I wore a girdle in high school because you needed one to hold up the nylon stockings worn with the mandatory skirts and dresses. A GIRDLE! Like you say, over the best body I ever had too. It was hot and uncomfortable and totally unnecessary, but everyone wore one.

      I swear I will never wear anything painful again just for the sake of fashion. They say “beauty knows no pain”, but I’ll take ugly and comfortable any day.


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