girls timberlands his former cobbler reveals
The Pope famously eschewed the soft red leather loafers favoured by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, in favour of sturdy, no nonsense black leather shoes.
The decision has been put down to his modesty and dislike of pomp and ceremony, but his cobbler of 40 years has revealed that another reason is that the 76 year old Argentinian pontiff has flat feet.
“He came to me and asked if I could correct a slight walking defect . it’s supposed to be confidential, but he has slightly flat feet,” said Carlos Samaria, 80, who has handmade the Pope’s size 42 shoes for the last four decades from his workshop in Buenos Aires.
“He has quite flat feet, so he needs comfortable shoes,” he told Gente, an Italian news magazine.
The cobbler recounted how the former Jose Mario Bergoglio, who was archbishop of Buenos Aires before being elected Pope in March, called him a few days after his appointment.
The Pope instructed him not to whip up the kind of soft red moccasins favoured by Benedict but to keep making the sturdy black leather shoes that he had worn for years.
Benedict had his red shoes handmade for him by a cobbler in the Borgo, the tightly packed grid of medieval streets that lies a few hundred yards from the Vatican.
The new Pope’s black shoes “are the most simple model, with laces. By now I could make them with my eyes closed, he always wants the same style. I suggested adding a little decoration, just for a change, but he wouldn’t hear of it,” said Mr Samaria.
He said he got to know the future Pope when he was working as a priest and later when he was appointed archbishop of Buenos Aires.
“The Holy Father is very intelligent. And he’s as humble as a bird. He’s very kind, always ready with a joke. He used to have dinner with me and he never wanted to be head of the table.” Even when he was archbishop of the Argentine capital he lived “like any other priest” in a modest apartment, the shoemaker said.
Since his election six months ago, the Pope has said he wants to create “a poor Church for the poor”.
He has caused a stir in recent weeks by making impromptu telephone calls to ordinary Catholics who have written letters to him, expressing sympathy for their various personal challenges and discussing matters of faith.