Posted June. 26, 2009 07:31,
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has worn sneakers instead of shoes with lifts since reportedly suffering a stroke last year.
Kim is believed to have opted for sneakers to allow more comfort while walking.
Due to his relatively short height of 5-feet-2 (158 centimeters), Kim had worn shoes with lifts from a young age. Whenever he met visitors from the outside world, including at the 2007 inter-Korean summit, Kim would wear dark and black high-heeled shoes alternatively.
Since his alleged stroke last year, however, his high-heeled shoes have now all but disappeared and he even avoided wearing hard-heeled shoes. Kim in a photo released Nov. 2 last year, the first time since his illness, showed him wearing sneakers with rounded front ends and virtually no heels.
Since then, Kim has worn sneakers with rubber soles in changing to more functional and comfortable footwear. In a photo released by Pyongyang May 24 this year, just a day ahead of the Norths second nuclear test, Kim was seen wearing shoe-shaped sneakers that looked sharper.
He was also recently seen wearing another type of shoe. In a photo released June 14, Kim is seen visiting a military unit and was wearing sneakers with soles covering up to the front end. These shoes had no luster compared with those worn by his aides, and were close to sneakers in style.
Kim has kept changing his footwear, but continues to wear a thick jacket despite the early hot weather in summer.
Chinese media also reported that Kims health seems to have recently deteriorated significantly.