Some time ago I wrote:
Imagine being 76 with a flare up of sciatica and, on your election as Pope, being told, “Here, Your Holiness, change into these new shoes and then stand a long time while we greet you and then walk around and show yourself in public for the first time.” I’d say that’s an argument for the sedia. Francis, however, probably thought, “I’ll stick with my old shoes, thanks very much.”
Now I read this on CNA:
Pope phones Argentine shoemaker for shoe repairs
Vatican City, Apr 18, 2013 / 01:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis, who has quickly become known for his austere style, will continue using his simple black shoes and has called his shoemaker from his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina to repair them.
For 40 years, 81 year-old Carlos Samaria has provided shoes from his store on the outskirts of the Argentine capital for Pope Francis, who was known before his election to the papacy as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
“Hello Samaria, it’s Bergoglio,” the phone conversation began.
“But who is this?” the shoemaker responded with surprise.
“Samaria, it’s Francis, the Pope!” the Holy Father replied.
According to Vatican Radio’s Brazilian program, [And who know what that means for the actual wording in English here...] the Holy Father told Samaria, “No red shoes, make them black like usual.”
Samaria said the shoes Pope Francis wears “are simple and made of black leather, with a smooth toe and no decorations.
“If you were to grab one of the Pope’s shoes it would feel like a clog, without any adornment but with laces,” the shoemaker explained.
“He doesn’t want new shows, only that I fix his old ones,” Samaria said.
However, he added that he is planning to “make a new but simple pair to be ready for him when he says I can visit, in May.”
Again, it doesn’t strike me as strange that a 76 year old with pain walking would stick with shoes that he knows.
On the other hand, he is now Bishop of Rome, not Buenos Aires. Italians… well… they know nothing about shoes, do they. I could walk you to several cobblers, as a matter of fact.