Pope’s new shoemaker: ‘Pope wearing our shoes means he remembers us’

Shoe detail of Pope Benedict XVI (2nd R) as he arrives at Westminster Abbey on September 17, 2010. Credit: Getty Images
Shoe detail of Pope Benedict XVI (2nd R) as he arrives at Westminster Abbey on September 17, 2010.
Credit: Getty Images

Outgoing pontiff Pope Benedict XVI will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, the famous papal footwear the color of which symbolizes the blood of the martyrs. Instead, the emeritus pope will flaunt a pair of handcrafted leather wine-red-colored loafers handmade by artisans in Mexico, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, has announced. “Mexicans will be happy to know that the pope very much appreciated the shoes” he received as a gift during his 2012 visit in León, Mexico, said Lombardi. “He finds them very comfortable.”

In an exclusive interview with Metro, Armando Martin Dueñas, chairman of Ackerman, the company in León that designed the shoe, says the Pope’s gesture is the perfect validation that his workers are doing a exemplary job.

Q: How did it come about that the Pope will now wear your shoes?

A: The industry in León is run on leather goods and footwear, a tradition that dates back over 400 years. It is the economic sustenance of a region of 1.8 million inhabitants. When we made the pair of shoes for His Holiness, it was a token of appreciation, affection, love and kindness for being here [in León, Mexico], especially given his age and fragile condition.

For us, that he will wear the shoes is a way to confirm that he remembers us. It encourages and strengthens us that Benedict finds them comfortable and gives us the assurance that what we do we do well.

Q: What are the shoes’ characteristics?

A: They are made in the color – wine red – and with the kind of leather that we saw fit to offer the Pope. The outside and lining of the shoe for His Holiness is made from the skin of an stillborn or prematurely born calf. This type of leather is very soft.

Q: Will you make this Pope shoe for general sale?

A: We already have had some requests for more shoes and we have given seven similar pairs to different priests and bishops. We have not marketed them, but it would give it us great pleasure if someone needs them – we are ready to provide them.

Q: Do you have more shoes of this type to send to the Vatican?

A: We have three pair of shoes ready to send which His Holiness now requires. We also have made others in black color for him.

Q: And how much would a pair of this kind cost?

A: It has never been given a price. It is a gift.

Q: How many shoes does your company make in one year? How many people work with you?

A: Our 65 staff make 83,000 pairs of shoes in one year.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.