The oldest known leather shoe was dated to 3500 BC. The 5.5k year old relic was discovered by Diana Zardaryan, then a postgraduate student at Armenia’s Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography , during excavations from Areni-1 cave complex in 2010.
The perfectly preserved cow-hide shoe and shoe laces predates the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt by a millennium, and is 400 years older than Stonehenge in the UK.
The shoe was made of a single piece of leather shaped to fit the wearer's foot. It contained grass, but archaeologists remain uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or less likely to maintain the shape of the shoe. It is unknown whether the shoe belonged to a man or woman. The stable, cool and dry conditions within the cave resulted in exceptional preservation of the various objects found. The preservation was also helped by a floor covering with a thick layer of sheep dung which acted as a solid seal over the objects. Scientists were able to determine the absolute age of the shoe confirmed by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and the University of California-Irvine Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility.
The oldest known footwear in the world, to the present time, were sandals made of plant material, that were found in a cave in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri in the US. Other contemporaneous sandals were found in the Cave of the Warrior, Judean Desert, Israel, but these were not directly dated, and their age is based on various other associated artefacts found in the cave.
Otzi the iceman was discovered in 1991 wearing a pair of leather shoes that dated back roughly 5,300 years.