The Vatican announced today, however, that Benedict would give up the shoes when he becomes “Pope Emeritus.”
The shoes made Benedict a reluctant and controversial fashion icon in 2005, when rumors spread that the shoes were Prada — an expensive and, many said, decadent brand for a religious leader. At the time, AP theorized that he was "compensating" for his lack of "natural charisma," so beloved in his predecessor, John Paul II.
Faithful need not worry that Benedict will go barefoot now. The Vatican said today that he planned to switch to a pair of less flashy brown leather loafers — the better to match his less flashy new life.