NOWNESS sent photographer Toby Glanville to Novara, a province in northwest Italy where papal shoemaker Adriano Stefanelli does business. Glanville reports, “the atmosphere of speculation and rumor” surrounding Pope Francis’s new footwear “was heavy” — though Stefanelli adds he hasn’t been in touch with the Vatican yet, because “the pope has decided to wear resoled old shoes for the moment.” However, the cobbler is “already working on a new pair, with which I would like to pay homage. I have great respect for him and it would be an honor for me to give him a gift.”
He declined to provide more details about the footwear, but Glanville writes, “Pope Francis is quite a long way from Benedict in terms of style. The new papacy is all about humility, so Stefanelli said they are most likely to be black.” An excellent choice! Goes with everything.
Stefanelli, who also created brown slippers for Pope John Paul II and The Red Loafers for Pope Benedict XVI, explains that he typically deals with staffers and not directly with his clients. Asked if he got a sense of the different popes from their orders, Stefanelli replies, “Not [so] much, because the shoes were identical apart from the color, but that was not chosen at random. The ruby-red of Pope Benedict XVI stands as a symbol for the blood of Christ and of the martyrs of the Church paid at the foot of mankind. Considering this detail, we can say that Pope Benedict was more focused on the form, the ritual.” The Italian leather.