What is believed to be the oldest leather shoe in the world is the Areni-1, some 5,500 years old, recovered by an archaeologist at an Armenian cave. It’s technically impressive for being made over five millennia ago, and it looks like what you’d expect:
Image: Pinhasi R, Gasparian B, Areshian G, Zardaryan D, Smith A, et al. (authors of source article) – Part of figure 1 from: 2010 First Direct Evidence of Chalcolithic Footwear from the Near Eastern Highlands. PLoS ONE 5(6): e10984. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010984, CC BY 2.5
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
However, this shoe below, recovered from a well at the Saalburg Roman Fort in modern-day Germany, is about 2,000 years old—and looks shockingly modern:
Image: Saalburg Museum, Photographer P. Knieriem
That’s 3,500 years of advancement in craft for you.
For those interested, the Saalburg Museum has (unembeddable) video here showing how this shoe was made.
Lastly, historical reproduction artisan Martin Moser produces and sells duplicate pairs of the shoe here.
Image: Martin Moser