The world’s largest shoes, recognized by the Guinness Book World of Records, are 5.29 meters long, 2.37 meters wide, and 1.83 meters high, and could hold 30 pairs of normal-sized feet.
The gigantic pair can be found in Marikina City, the shoe capital of the Philippines found northeast of the Manila metropolitan area. It took 77 days in 2002 to build them, using enough material to make 250 regular pairs.
The city also houses the Shoe Museum, which exhibits part of the infamous shoe collection of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, together with shoes of world leaders, past presidents, famous celebrities, and other notable personages. It is said to be the largest gathering of shoes from around the world.
One would expect, with all the attention paid to footwear, that the Philippines, or Marikina City for that matter, would be a formidable center for the shoe industry. Alas, the local industry has long been struggling and has been declared to be in its death throes.
So it is certainly good news to learn that there are still some local shoe houses that are alive and kicking. One such venture is Figura shoes, which has a factory of workers in Tanon, Marikina and uses good-quality local materials.
Ali Figueroa, Figura’s proprietor, has told me that it hasn’t been easy, but based on his stories about his trips to the south where he has gathered inspiration from fabrics and jewelry for footwear, it seems Figura is up to its task to start reconfiguring the local shoe industry.