World’s Oldest High-End Shoe Found in Armenia

Longevity is definitely something that we look for when we invest in a pair of kicks, but a leather shoe found recently at an archaeological dig in an Armenian cave has even our best-maintained pair of oxfords beat by thousands and thousands of years.

The New York Times reports that a group of archaeologists have found what they say is the world’s oldest leather shoe. Carbon-dating puts the age of the leather at 5,500 years, meaning the shoe predates both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids at Giza.

And while we might not think of it as much to look at — it is simple by comparison to the outlandish shoes we contend with today — the scientists at the site think these are the ancient equivalent of flats from Roger Vivier.

While the shoe more closely resembles an L. L.Bean-type soft-soled walking shoe than anything by Jimmy Choo, “these were probably quite expensive shoes, made of leather, very high quality,” said one of the lead scientists, Gregory Areshian, of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

And while it might look typically masculine, experts think it was a woman’s shoe. The woman who found it, doctoral student Diana Zardaryan, said that to find a shoe “had always been my dream.”

But the shoe isn’t the only major discovery. The entire dig is dedicated to study of the Copper Era, during which humans are supposed to have invented the wheel and domesticated horses. The cave also revealed what looks like a wine-making operation and stores of dried fruit.

Expensive leather shoes, fine wines, and the predecessors of candy? Move over, France. Maybe Armenia is the true birthplace of luxury.

[Image via The New York Times]

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