Ancient Armenian Jimmy Choo’s? Act while supplies last.

This terrific article from the National Post reports on a recent find in an Armenian cave: size 7 leather women’s shoes (unpaired) half off. Unfortunately, the sale ended about 5500 years ago. Enjoy…

Boris Gasparian/Reuters

Boris Gasparian/Reuters

What is thought to be the world’s oldest leather shoe, a preserved 5,500 year old cowhide piece of footwear that was discovered in a cave in Armenia.

By Shereen Dindar June 9, 2010 – 5:10 pm

A team of international archeologists have discovered the world’s oldest leather shoe in an Armenian cave.

The perfectly preserved 5,000 year old shoe has blown away researchers due to its excellent condition relative to its age.

“We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600 to 700 years old because they were in such good condition,” Ron Pinhasi, lead researcher and archeologist from University College Cork in Ireland, said in a statement.

“It was only when the material was dated by two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford, U.K., and in California, U.S. that we realized the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Ötzi, the Iceman.”

The researcher have received funding from a handful of organizations, including theNational Geographic Society and UCLA.

Discovered by Armenian PhD student, Ms. Diana Zardaryan, the shoe’s cow hide dates back to ~ 3,500 (the Chalcolithic period) and is made of a single piece of leather shaped to fit the wearer’s foot.

“I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved,” said Ms. Zardaryan in a media statement.

Alexi Smith/Reuters

University College Cork archaeologist Ron Pinhasi photographs an area of a dig in the Armenian cave where what is believed to be the world’s oldest leather shoe.

The researchers suspect cool and dry temperatures inside the cave resulted in exceptional preservation. Other items were found as well, including large containers, many of which held well-preserved wheat, barley and apricots.

UCLA archeologist Gregory Areshian, who was there at the time the shoe was found, described the items as “fresh dried, like they were put in a can.”

It is unclear whether the shoe was made for a man or woman. While it is a U.S. size 7 women, it could have easily fitted a man’s foot during that era.

The shoe contained grass, although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe.

Interestingly, the shoe is very similar to the ‘pampooties’ worn on the Aran Islands (in the West of Ireland) up to the 1950s.

“In fact, enormous similarities exist between the manufacturing technique and style of this shoe and those found across Europe at later periods, suggesting that this type of shoe was worn for thousands of years across a large and environmentally diverse region,” said Mr. Pinhasi.

To date, the oldest known footwear in the world are sandals made of plant material found in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri.

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