MANILA, Philippines--Benedict XVI's red loafers have drawn attention since he became Pope in 2005.
Dubbed the "Prada Pope" after the supposed maker of the shoes, Benedict has been seen wearing the ruby red shoes during his trips and other important events.
The loafers are seen as a statement of his desire to demonstrate continuity with the symbols and history of the Church.
His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, wore brown shoes, which stood out. Though wearing red shoes is a papal tradition, the practice is optional.
Theology Professor Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame, in a podcast for NPR.org, said the Pope's red shoes symbolize the blood of martyrdom.
"Traditionally, in the Catholic Church, the color red commemorates the blood of martyrdom ... Fire and red are identified with the Holy Spirit," Cunnigham said.
The shoes cost around $640 a pair, but the Pope gets them for free.