Their deployment as a makeshift missile robbed US President George Bush of his dignity and landed their owner in jail. But the world's most notorious pair of shoes has yielded an unexpected bonanza for a Turkish shoemaker.
Ramazan Baydan, owner of the Istanbul-based Baydan Shoe Co, has been swamped with orders from across the world, after insisting that his company produced the black leather shoes, which the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on December 14.
Baydan has recruited an extra 100 staff to meet orders for 300,000 pairs of Model 271 - more than four times the shoe's normal annual sales - following an outpouring of support for Zaidi's act, which was intended as a protest, but led to his arrest by Iraqi security forces.
Orders have come mainly from the US and Britain, and from neighboring Muslim countries, he said.
Around 120,000 pairs have been ordered from Iraq, while a US company has placed a request for 18,000. A British firm is understood to have offered to serve as European distributor for the shoes, which have been on the market since 1999 and sell at around $41 in Turkey. A sharp rise in orders has been recorded in Syria, Egypt and Iran, where the main shoemakers' federation has offered to provide Zaidi and his family with a lifetime's supply of shoes.
To meet the mood of the marketplace, Baydan is planning to rename the model "the Bush Shoe" or "Bye-Bye Bush".
"We've been selling these shoes for years but, thanks to Bush, orders are flying in like crazy. We've even hired an agency to look at television advertising," he said.
Zaidi has been in custody since the shoe-throwing incident, amid claims that he has been badly beaten. He faces a possible jail sentence for insulting a foreign leader.
1. Where is the Baydan Shoe Co based?
2. Why have orders for the shoe quadrupled recently?
3. The owner is planning to give the shoe what name?
1. In Istanbul, Turkey.
2. After the shoe company owner insisted they produced the black leather shoes that an Iraqi journalist threw at US President George Bush on December 14 at a press conference in Baghdad.
3. Either “the Bush Shoe” or “Bye-Bye Bush”.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.