A Sole-Destroying Mistake Italian Policewomen Get High Heels -- In the Wrong Size

Italy's 14,750 female police officers felt delighted when their new high-heeled shoes arrived. But the elegant shoes, which had been made inexpensively in Romania, didn't fit.

In Italy, the land of fashion and elegance, it's only natural that public officials want to look good too. And so the Italian police ordered high heeled-shoes for its 14,750 female police officers, who wanted to give their uniform a younger and sexier look.

However, the Interior Ministry made a fatal mistake when it tried to save money on the shoes. After studying various bids, it awarded the €600,000 ($850,000) contract to a factory in Romania instead of to Italy's famous but expensive shoemakers. The clinching factor was the Romanian company's elegant design -- and the low cost of €20 a pair.

But the authorities failed to realize that Romanian sizes did not conform to Italian norms -- with the result that the shoes were too small for Italian feet.

One female inspector told the Italian daily La Stampa that she found the shoes very attractive at first. But when she wore them for the first time to a police party, she "cried with pain," she said. She checked the size on the box, but it was correct -- at least in theory.

She said that her colleagues had either given their shoes back or forced to try on many different sizes before they found ones that fit. The costs for the unusable shoes will now have to be born by the ministry.

A police union representative said it was not the first time the Interior Ministry had made a sartorial slipup. "We often receive uniforms made out of ill-fitting, ugly material which quickly wears out," she told the newspaper.



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