A few days ago, the crackly hosts of The View (Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and Barbara Walters) all wore red shoes in tribute to Pope Benedict XVI who was visiting New York. Apparently they thought the Pope was being fashion forward by daring to wear red shoes which just really stand out against his white cassock.
Far from being fashion savvy (although he wore red Prada loafers a few times before), the Pope is actually just carrying on the tradition from his predecessors who all wore red shoes (except for Pope John Paul II who started wearing a red pair then later switched to brown shoes to symbolize his coming from humble beginnings).
Pope Benedict XVI just wants to show continuity in religious symbols, most especially in the manner of dress and speech for his papacy. (As Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, he often defended traditional Christian doctrine and values. Under his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has allowed the return of the Tridentine Mass where the priest's back faces worshippers and the entire ceremony is cconducted in Latin. And just two days ago, he spoke French at the beginning of his address at the United Nations assembly. French used to be the "official" language spoken at the UN.)
There are many opinions on how the tradition of wearing red shoes started, with some saying it may be traced to Roman emperors having worn red leather sandals. Or that Pope Benedict XVI wears the color because he was a Cardinal before, and the color stands for a Cardinal's red cassocks.
In a children's book entitled, "Why does the Pope wear red shoes?", the Pope's private secretary said red is the color of martyrdom and "the color of burning love, the color of the fire of the spirit." Of course, that still doesn't thoroughly explain when the tradition started and why it was adopted in the first place.
Whatever the source of this tradition, I think the Pope does look awfully cute in those red leather shoes. And if the girls from The View thought that was being edgy, just wait 'til he pulls out his uber-cool Serengeti shades again.