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Romanian cobbler keeps people apart with social distancing shoes

We’re all used to the words social distancing now but if you still aren’t sure how far two metres actually is, a shoemaker in Romania has come up with an idea to keep people apart.

Grigore Lup, from the Transylvanian city of Cluj, created long-nosed leather shoes to help keep people apart and respect the rules of social distancing.

They’re labelled as a European size 75, which is difficult to translate into UK sizes but to put it into context – a UK size 14 is only a European size 49.5.

Grigore, who has been making shoes for 39 years, said: ‘I saw people crowding and not respecting the social distancing rules and I said to myself let’s make a shoe either to punish them or that they could actually wear (them) and maybe that way they will keep the distance.’

If two people wearing his size 75 shoes faced each other, there would be almost one-and-a-half metre distance between them (so you still need to leave a step between you to follow the two metre rule).

He adapted the idea from long footwear he made for actors.

He’s already received five orders for the shoes, which costs 500 lei (£92) and take two days to make.

The 55-year-old started making shoes when he was 16, learning from a cobbler who is 93 and still making traditional footwear today.

Grigore opened his own shop in 2001 and he sells ready-made shoes but relies heavily on custom orders from theatres and opera houses across the country, as well as traditional folk dance ensembles.

His business ground to a virtual standstill as live events were cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.