Grigore Lup, from the Transylvanian city of Cluj in Romania, has been making leather shoes for 39 years.
When the pandemic hit, the shoemaker, whose shop “relies heavily on custom orders from theatres and opera houses across the country, as well as traditional folk dance ensembles,” according to Reuters, saw his business impacted.
However, according to Lup, as restrictions eased across Europe, he realised that people weren’t taking social distancing seriously - so he came up with the lengthy shoes as a way for them to keep their distance.
“You can see it on the street, people are not respecting social distancing rules,” Lup told the outlet. “I went to the market to buy seedlings for my garden. There weren’t many people there but they kept getting closer and closer.
“If two people wearing these shoes were facing each other, there would be almost one-and-a-half metres between them.”
The shoes in question, adapted from a previous model Lup made for actors, are a European size 75 and require almost one square metre of leather.
Lup has since received five orders for the $115 shoes, which take him two days to make.
On social media, the unique shoes have been met with amusement, with many comparing them to flippers.
“This is brilliant and absurd,” one person tweeted, while another said the shoes “seem like scuba fins.”
In Romania, there have been 19,669 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,288 deaths, according to the latest figures.
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