NPR logo

Why Does the Pope Wear Red Shoes?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89732516/89732485" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Why Does the Pope Wear Red Shoes?

Why Does the Pope Wear Red Shoes?

Why Does the Pope Wear Red Shoes?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89732516/89732485" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Pope Benedict XVI, sporting his handmade red loafers, steps onto U.S. soil at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Md. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI, sporting his handmade red loafers, steps onto U.S. soil at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Md.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI's ruby red shoes are drawing plenty of attention as he visits Washington, D.C. The handmade loafers, crafted for Benedict by an Italian shoemaker, are seen as a statement of his desire to demonstrate continuity with the symbols and history of the church.

Although Pope John Paul II often wore brown shoes, other pontiffs have also worn red shoes. Benedict's shoes, which stand out against his spotless white robes, also serve as a reminder of the many years he wore the red cloth of a cardinal.

Lawrence Cunningham, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, offers more insights on why the pontiff favors the color in a conversation with Michele Norris.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.