From pool noodle hats to hula hoop belts, people are coming up with unique contraptions to ensure social distancing in public. Now, a cobbler from Romania is using his skills into making ‘social distancing shoes’, and people are loving it.
Soon after a two-month lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus was eased in Romania in mid-May, Grigore Lup, a Romanian shoemaker from the Transylvanian city of Cluj, noticed people were not respecting the rules of social distancing.
So Lup came up with the idea of long-nosed leather shoes to help keep people apart. They come in a European size 75.
“You can see it on the street, people are not respecting social distancing rules,” said Lup, who has been making leather shoes for 39 years.
“I went to the market to buy seedlings for my garden. There weren’t many people there but they kept getting closer and closer,” he added.
“If two people wearing these shoes were facing each other, there would be almost one-and-a-half metres between them,” the 55-year-old was quoted as saying.
Lup’s shop is especially good at custom designing shoes as it mostly survives on orders from theatres and opera houses across the country. The shop also sells traditional folk dance ensembles and ready-made footwear.
Lup, has reportedly adapted the shoe design from a model he made for actors and has received five orders for the social distancing footwear so far.
Pictures of the unique pair of shoes circulated online.
An Instagram user, @_p4ralelepip3da_, commented on a post and compared the pair to Mexican trivial boots: "Those look like the Mexican pointy boots. Hideous but funny."
Another Instagrammer, @itzzmejithu, reacted at the picture and wrote: "Now I've seen it all."
Twitter user @Ted33210718 appreciated Lup's creativity: "#SocialDistancing #SHOES Innovative and amusing."
It takes Lup two days to make a pair, which requires almost one square metre of leather. They cost 500 lei (Dh420) a pair.
According to news reports, Lup first started making shoes when he was 16, learning from a cobbler who at 93 today still makes traditional ethnic Hungarian footwear.
The coronavirus pandemic badly impacted Lup’s business as live events were cancelled or postponed. But it was reported that he remains optimistic and hopes that sales will recover soon.
Romania, which has reported over 19,000 cases of the coronavirus and over 1,260 deaths, began gradually easing its lockdown on May 15.