These are some of the freakiest shoes I’ve ever set eyes on. Made by German designer Iris Shieferstein, the footwear is actually created from body parts of dead animals. She uses horse hooves and skin, snake skin and even whole dead birds as decorations.
I really doubt there are a lot of people out there willing to walk around with a pair of stuffed birds on their feet, but that isn’t stopping 45-year-old Iris Shieferstein from using all sorts of dead animal parts to make unique shoes. She agrees her creations aren’t exactly as comfortable as trainers, but she still wears them around the house. The designer says that her footwear is mainly meant for ‘aesthetic pleasure’. The animal shoes have been displayed at exhibitions around the world and Dolce & Gabanna have even created a range based on her designs. But so far, no company has had the courage to produce them for the general public.
To create her unique style of footwear, Iris begins by collecting dead animal parts from her butcher. This isn’t very tough, she says, since her butcher actually uses horse meat in sausages, which is not uncommon in Germany. I have no idea where she gets the doves and snakes, but I’m not hoping it’s not from the same butcher. Once she has the carcasses, it takes her a week to strip off meat and bones from the animal’s feet. The skin needs to be preserved, so it’s sent to the tanner. The next step for Iris is to set the fur skin around the model of a shoe. If she’s using horse parts, the hoof is used as a sole. After several months of rearranging and sewing, the finished product is ready for display.
Some of Iris’s notable collections include a pair made from a chestnut steed with no heels so the person wearing them needs to balance on their toes, another pair made from cream horse fur with bone used for the heel and a zip up front, and also the stuffed dove shoes – in which the wearer needs to slide their toes between the bird’s legs. While some might find this really weird, Iris is pretty excited about her footwear creations. “When I’ve got the dove shoes on that are made from real birds, I feel like I’m flying,” she says.